Kit Harris, ASCD Research

ED Pulse Poll Results: What Is the Most Important Task That Could Be Accomplished by Teaching Using Essential Questions?

ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. Recently, the ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll asked readers about tasks that can be achieved by employing essential questions.

In their recent ASCD book, Essential Questions: Opening Doors to Student Understanding, authors Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins explain the usefulness of essential questions in K–12 content areas as well as identify how to create questions. ASCD SmartBrief readers recently voiced their opinion and their primary response was that essential questions can engage more students in thoughtful inquiry to promote deeper understandings of content and a culture of inquiry (69 percent). Following this, three of the responses were selected by about a tenth of the respondents. These responses were:

  • To "unpack" standards and organize your curriculum around big ideas and core processes (11 percent)
  • To develop independent learners and foster 21st century skills (9 percent)
  • To signal to students that deep thinking about content is required, not optional (6 percent)

This survey question was included in ASCD SmartBrief, a free daily e-mail news service that provides summaries and links to major education stories and issues, which has more than 200,000 subscribers. Using ED Pulse, the weekly online poll, data was collected from 481 readers, starting on December 12, 2013. Online surveys do not provide a random sample, as participants are self-selected, meaning that a margin of sampling error cannot be calculated or quoted. In addition, the population and sample are limited to those with access to computers and an online network. However, online surveys have been shown to produce results that have proven to be reliable predictors of outcomes, including election results. If you have a question on education that you would like to see addressed in a future ED Pulse poll, feel free to submit it in the comment section below, along with any other comments.

Kit Harris is the marketing research lead at ASCD. The quantitative and qualitative research work done is in support of strategic initiatives in marketing, membership, product/program/service development, and conferences/meetings. Harris started her career in Chicago at a marketing research firm, then moved to D.C. to serve as the research director at advertising agency Earle Palmer Brown & Associates. Prior to coming to ASCD, she ran her own research firm.


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