Not all the questions that we ask in the classroom are equally. The kinds of questions, that we ask, depend on what we are testing, and they can make a big difference in the assessment. There are both similarities and differences one may find when comparing convergent and divergent questions. Both types of questions are necessary in order for a person to become a critical thinker.
The two types of questions are: convergent and divergent questions.
This type of questioning involves recall and limits answers to questions to a single or small number of responses. It is referred to as closed questioning. There is no specified requirement for the learner to be involved in thought processes involving analysis, making a generalization, synthesis, prediction, or reflection. These questions have only one correct answer, and they test rote knowledge of concrete facts. Examples of these questions include multiple choice, definitions, true/false, fill in the blank and calculations where there is only one correct answer.
This type of question encourages a general or open response of the learner. This relates to indirect teaching strategies. There is no single best answer. Nonetheless, there is the potential for incorrect answers to divergent questions. Subsequently, it is often appropriate and necessary to follow up divergent questions with more detail, new information, or encouragement regarding deeper thinking/reflection.
These types of questions are always open-ended, allowing the students to express themselves as they demonstrate their ability to reason in the subject. They have no single correct answer, and are more analytical, testing the students’ ability to synthesize information, offer educated opinions or create hypotheses based on their knowledge.