#43 Ask the easiest question first
Use this simple strategy to improve homeworks, Do Nows and tests
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💡 A tip to try in class this week 💡
This week’s tip might seem the most obvious thing in the world, but I see enough examples of it not being enacted that I thought it was worth writing about. The tip is: whenever setting students off on a task, ask the easiest question first.
There is interesting research into this. In their 2022 paper, Understanding performance in test taking: The role of question difficulty order, Lina Anaya and colleagues used an online platform to randomly assign 19,000 participants different orders of difficulty of the same question set. They found that starting with the easiest question led to two benefits:
More students completed the test
Students scored more
The Inner Drive team have a nice graphic to illustrate this:
Why should this be the case? Probably because an easy first question helps students overcome any initial reluctance to start, and then that initial taste of success generates the momentum needed to keep them putting in effort for longer.
Putting the easiest question first could apply to:
The Do Now
It may even be worth creating an additional, super simple question, and putting it first so that students have the best chance of accessing the rest of the questions.
What do you think of this idea?
What would you need to change to make this tip work for you?
When could you try it for the first time?
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