Marc Williams has written the following article on his work within the Maths department PDC:

Since February half term I have been implementing the use of a website called Diagnostic Questions (https://diagnosticquestions.com/) as a means of using low stakes testing to develop the long term retention of information in KS3. The website has been developed by maths teaching guru Craig Barton and uses well-planned multiple choice questions to check for (or diagnose!) misconceptions across the mathematics curriculum. At the start of each lesson, I have students complete a four question quiz which includes a question each from last lesson, last week, last month and last term designed specifically to test and re-test. Once these have been completed we discuss the responses as a class, taking the opportunity to address the misconceptions. I then use the results of these to inform my planning for future lessons – this may simply involve including more questions of that type, embedding the techniques into teaching of other topics or even completely revisiting the topic in a later session. 

There are currently over 41000 maths questions on the website, though other subjects are growing their question base and it is possible to design your own questions. They key is to ensure that the possible answers test the depth of understanding but also give students options which will highlight common misconceptions, misunderstandings or mistakes. I believe that this will become a valuable tool in my ability to ensure misconceptions and misunderstandings are addressed quickly and efficiently and that knowledge is retained for longer periods of time.

I will continue to use this resource moving forward and am keen to explore ways to utilise the website even more effectively and in other scenarios (such as a plenaries and end of topic summative assessment).


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