Dimensions of Learning 
and the Questioning Process


The Prince George's County Public Schools has adopted the Dimensions of Learning program as a framework for promoting student thinking. Teachers' use of questions can support the implementation of all dimensions, but particularly Dimensions Three, Four, and Five.

Dimension Three (Extending and Refining Knowledge) reinforces students' deep understanding of essential declarative (facts, concepts, generalizations, principles) and procedural (skills, processes, procedures) knowledge.

  1. Comparison

  • How are these things alike?

  • How are they different?

  1. Classification

  • Into what groups could you organize these things?

  • What are the rules for membership in each group?

  • What are the defining characteristics of each group?

  1. Induction

  • Based on the following facts (or observations), what can you conclude?

  • Based on this information, what is a likely conclusion?

  1. Deduction

  • Based on the following generalizations (or rules or principles), what predictions can you make or what conclusions can you draw that must be true?

  • If you know that has happened, then what do you know will have to occur?

  • What are the conditions that make this conclusion inevitable?

  1. Error Analysis

  • What are the errors in reasoning in the following information?

  • How is this information misleading?

  1. Constructing Support

  • What is an argument that would support this claim?

  • What are the limitations of or assumptions underlying this argument?

  • How is this information trying to persuade you?

  1. Abstraction

  • What is the general pattern underlying this information?

  • To what other situations can this general pattern be applied?

  1. Analyzing Perspectives

  • Why would someone consider this to be good (or bad or neutral)?

  • What is the reasoning behind this perspective?

  • What is an alternative perspective and what is the reasoning behind it?

Dimension Four (Using Knowledge Meaningfully) asks students to apply their knowledge to real-world , decisions, investigations, experiments, problems, and inventions.

Decision Making Investigation Experimental Inquiry Problem Solving Invention
What are your choices? How well will each of your choices help you get what you want? Which choice will do the best job? What do you want to find out? What disagreements or confusions do people have about it? How can you support your conclusions? What do you see or notice? How can you explain it? What if...? How can you test your "What if..?" What happened? What are some ways you can overcome what you can't do? How do you make sure you do what you have to? What solutions will you try? What do you want to make or make better? What is a model, sketch, or outline of your invention? How can you make it or improve on it?

Dimension Five (Productive Habits of Mind) asks students to become self-reflective about their use of life-long thinking "habits," including the ability to be self-regulated, critical, and creative.

  1. Are you aware of your own thinking about what you are trying to accomplish?

  2. Have you made a plan for what you want to accomplish?

  3. Have you collected all the resources for what you want to accomplish?

  4. Are you aware of how well you are doing and if you need to change any of your actions or attitudes?

  5. Are you evaluating how well this is going and what you would do differently next time?

  6. Are you actively seeking accuracy in the information you are receiving?

  7. Are you actively seeking clarity in the information you are receiving?

  8. Are you being open-minded about the information you are receiving?

  9. Are you stopping to think before you speak or act? Are you resisting impulsively?

  10. Are you actively taking and defending positions when such action is warranted?

  11. Are you being sensitive to the feelings and level of knowledge of others?

  12. Are you still engaging intensely even when it becomes difficult, or are you withdrawing when the task is hard?

  13. Are you pushing yourself to your limits, or are you coasting?

  14. Are you continually identifying standards you want to meet?

  15. Are you continually trying to see the situation in new and unique ways?

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Go to Dimensions of Learning
(Graphic Organizers for Dimensions Two - Four)

This site was developed by the Department of Staff Development, in collaboration with the Division of Instruction. Questions, comments, and other inquiries may be addressed to Allene Chriest (achriest@pgcps.org) or Jeff Maher  (jmaher@pgcps.org).