Video: The QFT and “Summative Assessment”

We are excited to present a great video demonstrating innovative use of the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) for summative assessment purposes. Joshua Beer’s students in his 8th grade class in a rural New Hampshire community do brilliant work working with this Question Focus as they come to the end of a unit of study: Questions that should be asked about American imperialism at the turn of the 20th century.

Their priority questions reflected a deep understanding of what they had learned and actually became 9 of the 10 questions Joshua used for their final exam. His class’ work is featured in our article“Making Questions Flow” that appears in the September 2015 issue of ASCD’s Educational Leadership that focuses on the theme of “Questioning for Learning.” In addition, the article describes how Rob Evans creatively uses the Question Formulation Technique to increase student engagement in his Chadwick School (Paolos Verdes, CA) history classes and how Megan Gretzinger thoughtfully utilizes the QFT for formative assessment purposes in her Appleton City, MO high school math class. There are also very compelling examples from Frederick County, MD teachers Jay Corrigan and Jennifer Shaffer that show how the QFT can be used to accelerate learning and knowledge acquisition. Click here to download the article.

And, if you want to see an in-depth example of a “soup to nuts” project-based learning use of the QFT in an elementary school (from initial inquiry to full project), read about Julie Grimm’s second grade classroom in Hagerstown, MD in the October 2014 issue of Educational Leadership.


  1. Fine way of telling, and good piece of writing to take information regarding my presentation subject matter, which i am going
    to deliver in university.

  2. I found this to be very interesting. Before children start school they have spent the better part of their day asking questions, it is how they have learned what they know when they begin their formal education, this makes perfect sense that we reignite that in our students.

  3. Brian Healey says:

    Maybe I missed something, but where did the students get the background information in the beginning to know what questions to ask? In other words I saw one student wrote a question about Alfred T. Mahan. How did they learn about him or know enough to ask a question about him? How much front loading is done about the topic before they engage in this activity?

    • Katy Connolly says:

      Hi Brian,
      In this particular video, the teacher Joshua Beer is using the QFT as a summative assessment at the end of a unit on American Imperialism, so the students already have a wealth of knowledge on the topic, and are simply testing that knowledge. However, the QFT is often used at the beginning of a new topic before any formal teaching is done on the subject matter, so that students get to activate their background knowledge and name what they’re curious about.

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