Laura Todd

Business Education

Greenfaulds High

  • Assessment For Learning

What happens when wait-time is used during questioning in the classroom?


Black et al (2004) state that “expecting an answer from a student in a short amount of wait time can only encourage short memorised facts and answers”. An article by Stahl (1994) discusses Mary Budd Rowes’ research and the various wait time periods she experimented with. The research suggested “periods of silence that followed teacher questions and students’ completed responses rarely lasted more than 1.5 seconds in typical classrooms” (Rowe 1972). Rowe then discovered that when the periods of silence following a question lasted at least three seconds, positive things happened to both pupil and teacher behaviours and attitudes. The aim of this enquiry was to observe the effect on pupil answers when using increasing wait times during questioning in class.


To determine if an increase in wait time during questioning has an effect on:

  • The number of pupils volunteering an answer
  • Correct responses given
  • The detail given in written and oral answers, focusing on a differentiated group of pupils
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