Students always ask, “Is this the right answer?” of “Did I do this right?” If I respond, “Yes,” their thinking is over. They have found the answer, their work is over and now they can forget about it.
My response to their question, “Is this the right answer?” is usually “Are you sure that’s correct?” When they answer my question, I am able to hear them walk me through how they got their answer and at what point they feel they may or may not have understood. From there, I can either affirm what they know or help them to modify any misconceptions.
Trust me, my students complain that they asked me the question. I should not answer them with a question. They accuse me of making everything a riddle. They insist that I should just tell them if they are correct. But I don’t!
I want my students to be confident in their answers because they can defend them with reasoned explanations. When they can do this task, there will be no reason to ask me, “Is this the right answer?” They will already know the answer is correct.