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“The average high school student asks one question of substance per month in a classroom” — I’m Not Sure About This Data


This week, The Big Think published a short video of Hal Gregersen, a co-author of Clayton Christensen, where he says that he has data showing that “the average high school student asks one question of substance per month in a classroom.”

He didn’t give any indication about where he found that data, though. And, though I could find some other places where he alluded to this topic, I couldn’t find him giving any source for his information.

Does anyone out there know his source?

I’m a bit skeptical, though, of course, it also depends on your definition of “average” and of “substance.”

Does it reflect your experience in the classroom?

You might also be interested in The Best Posts & Articles About Asking Good Questions and The Best Videos Showing The Importance Of Asking Good Questions.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. I think that students-asking-substantive-questions is probably a function of how engaging and interactive the teacher’s style is.

    If students are encouraged to sit passively, they are more likely to do exactly that.

  2. The enthusiasm of the students can be driven by the teacher’s teaching interests; interesting teaching methods and teacher can stimulate the enthusiasm of the students, two-way.

  3. I appreciate your commitment to better learning and teaching! I agree with Nathan’s comment that student questions are dependent on teaching approach.
    As for the data, I just moved back to the US from overseas and my research files are still on a boat from the Middle East to the US. I read the research paper several years ago referring to one question per month. Education researchers did the study and I don’t recall the sample size or control variables (but suspect it was small as there was very little solid research out there on questions in classrooms at the time). Hopefully the shipping container will arrive and I can surface the study from the moving boxes in the future. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear of more recent data that suggests a better questioning trend in the average classroom! Best, Hal

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