What makes a good HPQ?

This advice has been prepared by Dylan Wiliam, Christine Harrison and Andrea Mapplebeck. Please bear it in mind when you submit your HPQ or comment on the HPQs submitted by others.

Hinge-point questions are designed to help the teacher to decide what to do next in the middle of a lesson. For this reason, good hinge-point questions:

  1. are difficult for a student to get the correct answer(s) with the wrong reasoning or knowledge;


  2. have wrong answers that match the most common student misconceptions or alternative conceptions;


  3. are quick to answer (in less than two minutes, and ideally in less than one minute);


  4. allow the teacher to realistically view and interpret all students’ responses in 30 seconds and, ideally, half that time, and so will often be in multiple choice format.



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I like your clarification here.  nice and clear.  I want to share HPQ as a way to assess within my school during a staff meeting I am leading.  This concept is new tour school.I will use the above points to help clarify.


Great. Love to hear the results and reactions. Michael, NZ


Hi NWsciencegirl,

I'm glad you've found this guidance on hinge point questions useful to share in your staff meeting.  It was taken from the recent free AfL online course.  If members of your staff would like to join the course and look in more detail at assessment, it will be running again in February.

They can register an interest now:




I guess one size does not fit all. I use HPQ to test my teaching. If even one student hasn't 'got it' I haven't achieved my goal, and the lesson cannot continue until ALL have 'got it'.
I ask students for 0 to 10 as an assessment. When all give me 10 on the HPQ the lesson can continue.
How I get all on to 10 is my challenge, as their teacher.
Michael NZ