Conduct a Student Interview Using Number Lines as the Primary Representational Tool

Educator understands and implements an effective student interview to inform fraction instruction that includes number lines.
Made by Friday Institute @ NC State

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Educator conducts a student interview to gather information about student understanding and misunderstanding related to fractions when using number lines as the primary representational tool.

Method Components

What is a student interview?

A student interview is a modified form of clinical interview. In a student interview, the educator engages in a discussion with one student or a small group of students around a specific concept. The educator offers prompts, asks questions, and listens carefully to student responses in order to better understand the students’ reasoning.

How do I conduct a student interview designed to inform instruction?

Create or adapt a task or series of tasks that you expect will elicit student thinking around the identified concept. The tasks should be presented in a way that allows students to begin exploration without additional support, but also be rich enough to push a student’s thinking deeper. The prompt should be open enough to allow multiple strategies and entry points. You will also need to have a variety of manipulatives, office supplies (such as scissors, tape), and writing utensils available for students to opt to use. Interview the student(s), encouraging them to think aloud as they work through the prompt. Take notes as the student(s) works through the interview. After the interview, reflect on both the process and what you have learned about student understanding of the concept.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Carpenter, Thomas., Fennell, Francis., Geary, David., Lewis, James., Okamoto, Yukari., Siegler, Robert., Thompson, Laurie., Wray, Jonathan. “Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for Kindergarten through 8th Grade. IES Practice Guide. NCEE 2010-4039”. What Works Clearinghouse, Institute of Education Sciences, September 2010,

  • Opper, S. (1977). Piaget's clinical method. Journal of Children's Mathematical Behavior, 1(4), 90-107.

  • Piaget, J. (1967). The child’s conception of the world. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1967.


  • Using Clinical Interviews to Uncover Student’s Thinking
  • A brief summary of what a clinical interview is, why you might want to conduct one and how you go about the interview process.

  • The task option below can be used for student interviews:
  • The task includes a student prompt and a recommended teacher practice guide that includes some suggested probing questions to elicit student thinking.

    Task: This task prompts students to locate a fraction on a number line that is pre-labeled with fractions that do not share a common denominator with the number they are asked to locate.

    “Ms. Anita asked her students to locate the fraction 5/6 on a number line shown below:”

    (See downloadable PDF for Images)

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a “Yes” for parts 1, 2, and 3. Through any of a variety of methods (written, scanned, audio, video, and/or multimedia) you must demonstrate an understanding of student interviews and how they are used, effective implementation of a student interview, and reflect on how the interview will influence your instruction using fair sharing.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • What is a student interview, and what are some characteristics that make it effective?
  • Who did you select to interview and why?

Part 2. Evidence/Artifacts

Please provide the prompt(s) using number lines as the primary representational tool and probing questions used in your student interview and explain how they will provide insight into student understanding.

(Your artifact submission will be assessed based on the following rubric. You must earn a “Yes” score on this portion of the total submission in order to earn the micro-credential.)

Part 3. Reflection

Based on the student conceptions and strategies that emerged during the student interviews, what information will inform your lesson, and how will this shape your approach to instructional planning?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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