Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Always, Sometimes, or Never True

K20 Center | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


Cover Image

Always, Sometimes, or Never True

Students evaluate statements based on how often they think they are true. This strategy is especially useful in revealing whether students overgeneralize or undergeneralize a given concept.

Always, Sometimes, or Never True


Students examine a set of statements, reflect on their individual interpretations of each, and decide if they are always, sometimes, or never true. This strategy can be used in a variety of ways—for example, at the beginning of a learning cycle to elicit prior knowledge, or at the end of a unit to check for understanding after students have had opportunities to learn about a topic. 


  1. Have students read a set of statements that focus on the given concept or topic. For each one, ask students to choose the answer that describes how often they think the statement is true: always, sometimes, or never.

  2. After each statement, have students write a short justification of their response.

  3. Optionally, you may have students share out their responses or participate in a whole-class discussion. If used at the end of a lesson, students can instead complete the activity by turning in their responses as an assessment.

Keeley, P., & Tobey, C. R. (2011). Get the facts. In Mathematics formative assessment: 75 Practical strategies for linking assessment, instruction, and learning (pp. 57–59). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, SAGE.