An assessment should test the skills that students have already learned and are expected to know. Sometimes multiple choice options can through a student off and make them forget to use strong reading skills. This lessons reminds students to read well first and then answer the questions.
In this lesson, I explain to students that they are now ready to focus on answering questions using text-based evidence. I ask students to give me some suggestions of what I would do if I read a text and then were asked a questions without answer choices. They share that I would probably think about what I read and maybe even look through the text again or look for specific examples that help me answer the question. I might even reread. I affirm their suggestions and tell that those strategies are the same ones they use on an assessment.
To demonstrate how to use strong reading skills, I go to a recent set of questions that student used in the previous lesson. I've already determined which question needed a specific text based detail and which required me to think of the text as a whole.
I remind students that determining what type of question they are answering is a very helpful first step. Then I read the text out loud to them. When I return to the question, I look at key words in the question and return to the location in text that has similar or the same words. I then try to formulate my answer before looking at the choices and write it down next to the question. I sugget that when students are answering questions such as these that they also write their answers down near the text or question. Once I think of an answer, I check the choices and inevitably one is the same or comes very close to the answer I already though of. That would be the multiple choice answer I would select on the assessment.
Next, I ask the students to do it. I show them another question and ask them to guide me. If its a short text, I might reread, otherwise, students direct me to the location in the text that might give me the answer or details to support my response to the question. After they have the information they need, I ask them to formulate an answer and tell their partner what they might have written down before looking at the multple choice options. I then reveal the multiple choice options and as a class, we confirm the correct answer.
Before I send them off to practice the strategy using their own text and set of questions, I address what happens then the choices don't match what my answer. Whent that happens, I choose the option that seems closest and return to the text one more time to confirm the answer.
Finally, after students have practiced the skills of answering a question before lookin at the multple choice options, we review them as a class.
I go through each question one at a time and ask students for the correct answer. I also ask them to explain the strategy they used, i.e. return to the text, look for specific clues, formulate their own answer, and match it to the options.
Students need to remember that the reading skills that they use when reading other texts are the same one they use in an assessment. They can feel confident that they are already successful readers, even in the task seems different.