How To Determine A Student’s Prior Knowledge

When you first step into a classroom, poised and ready to launch into a new discussion or lesson, you probably feel a sense of excitement. You’re about to embark on a journey with your class and every student is along for the ride.

The problem, however, is that many students are not on the same page. Some are more prepared than others. Some are light years ahead, in fact. Then there are many students who have no prior knowledge and it’ll take a little extra time to get up to speed.

This chart from the always wonderful Mia MacMeekin lays out the 27 ways to test the prior knowledge of students. This is a useful chart for any classroom teacher or student who wants to quickly test and think about a particular topic that is about to be discussed. Follow these couple dozen tips and you’ll get the entire classroom on the same page. Good luck!

testing prior knowledge

1 Comment

  1. Joe Beckmann

    December 30, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Keep in mind that it’s the kids who judge, not the teacher. You’ll never know what each of them knows since there are a lot more of them than of you. You can only help them build on their knowledge, and thereby scaffold their knowledge of that knowledge (perhaps, their wisdom!?). The more successfully they demonstrate that knowledge, the more they’ll demonstrate their interest in increasing it. And the less you ask, the less you’ll get.