Using Newsela Quiz Reflections to Promote Metacognition

Students use Newsela quiz feedback to analyze their learning and brainstorm strategies they can use to improve their results
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Modeling How to Reflect on a Quiz

About This Strategy

Students often struggle to find success in answering assessment questions. This quiz reflection strategy allows students to take ownership of their learning. It requires them to look closely at incorrect answers to figure out what went wrong. Then, students brainstorm actionable steps they can take to find greater success on future assessments. Throughout the unit, teachers should model for students how to brainstorm actionable steps and conference with students to help guide and support growth. When used over time, this activity can help students significantly improve their overall reading comprehension and success on reading activities across the content areas.

Before Reading Implementation Steps

Teacher Preparation and Planning:

  1. Select or create a Newsela Text Set that has at least three articles with an appropriate Lexile range for the student population.

  2. Photocopy the Quiz Reflection Student Packet (included in resource section below).

Student Preparation:

  1. Have students read the first article in the Newsela Text Set and then use their strategies to answer the quiz questions.

  2. Ask students to explain the reading strategies they used that helped them to be successful, such as adding notes in the margin, stopping to summarize the text, or highlighting key points. Students should share their answers with the class.

  3. Explain to students that while they already have some strategies that are working to successfully answer questions, there are still some areas where additional strategies would be helpful. Then explain to students that this unit will allow students to be detectives and figure out why they got certain questions wrong and determine what actionable steps they can take next time to find greater success.

  4. Introduce the quiz reflection sheet (included in the Quiz Reflection Student Packet in the resources section below) to students. Encourage students to determine actionable steps to take as they read (like paraphrasing the question or going back into the text and highlighting details that help answer the question) and explain that generic responses ("I went too fast, I'll slow down") will need further clarification. See slides 5-7 in the Quiz Reflection Presentation in the resources section below.

  5. Have students complete the quiz reflection while the teacher circulates around the classroom conferencing with students about their responses.

    • If students received a 100 on the quiz, they should go up a Lexile level. If they are already at the max level, they can go into their binder and find a quiz where they did not get a 100 and fill out the quiz reflection for that quiz.

During Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Have students read article #2 and use the new strategies from quiz reflection #1 as they read article #2 in the Text Set.

  2. Go over an example of a student quiz and have students brainstorm what could have gone wrong and what actionable strategies a student could use to improve next time. (See slides 12-13 in the Newsela Quiz Reflection Presentation in the resources section below and the hero video at the top of the page for an example.)

  3. Have students analyze their Newsela quiz responses to fill out the quiz reflection.

  4. Conference with students individually to ensure they are writing actionable steps for improvement.

    • It is likely that some students will still write, "I went too fast, and I'll slow down" as responses. Look at the quiz question and response with students to help them more specifically determine what went wrong and how they can fix it. Refer back to the examples as needed. See the Quiz Reflection Student Conference Video in the resources section below as a reference.

    • During the conference, have students fill out the bottom of the quiz reflection analyzing their growth.

  5. Have students read a third article and repeat steps 3 and 4.

After Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Introduce the Newsela Quiz Reflection Analysis questions located on the last page of the quiz reflection student packet (see resources section below). Take time to explain each question and go over possible responses (see slides 20-21 in the Newsela Quiz Reflection Presentation in the resources section below).

  2. Have students complete the Newsela Quiz Reflection Analysis.

  3. Students meet in pairs (changing partners for each question) to discuss the following:

    • What reading strategies have I already been using that are helping my success?

    • What new reading comprehension strategies have I added that will increase my success if I use them consistently?

    • What will I do THIS WEEK to help form a habit of using these strategies regularly?

  4. Students share their new strategies and ways they will apply these strategies to their content areas with the class.

Recommended Newsela Texts or Text Sets

Quiz Reflections: Habits of Mind (all grade levels)

  • Essential Question: How do individuals in the articles demonstrate the Habits of Mind?
  • Grade Level: 3-12
  • Content Area: ELA

Quiz Reflections: What can I do to help the planet? (Elementary)

  • Essential Question: What can I do to help the planet?
  • Grade Level: 3-5 *These articles have a max level of 6th grade. This will benefit classrooms where students are reading between a second and sixth grade reading level. If you have students reading above a sixth grade level, you'll want to find some more challenging articles for them to use.
  • Content Area: Science/ELA

Quiz Reflections: What makes people happy? (Secondary)

  • Essential Question: What makes people happy?
  • Grade Level: 7-12
  • Content Area: ELA/Science


EL Modification

EL students may not be familiar with text-feature vocabulary and/or may struggle with the vocabulary/reading level of the article. These modifications will make the text more accessible.


  • When introducing an article to students, discuss the text features. Define words like section, subtopic, and heading, and explain how these are used to help readers understand the material.

  • Read the article out loud first. Then, have students read at their Lexile levels. If a student is still struggling with the lowest Lexile level, consider allowing a student to use an extension like Google Read and Write (located in the Chrome Web Store) to read the article out loud as they read along.

  • Newsela PRO users can highlight challenging vocabulary throughout the articles and add definitions in the margin. For those who are not PRO users, print out the article and highlight/write vocabulary definitions on the side of the paper copy as needed.

Special Education Modification

All students benefit from carefully analyzing and reflecting on their work. Because all students are selecting an appropriate Lexile level, conferencing one-on-one with the teacher, and identifying strategies they can use to improve, this process is naturally differentiated to meet the needs of all learners. Even so, some students with learning disabilities will need support with analyzing their thinking and connecting this work to their content areas. The modifications below provide additional scaffolding in these areas.


  • Providing a list of possible reasons why a student may have gotten a question wrong and strategies he/she could use to improve next time would be helpful for students who are struggling with analyzing their own learning behaviors. This Quiz Reflection Possible Errors and Strategies sheet (see resource section below) helps students to identify what went wrong and then select a strategy they'd like to use from a variety of options.

  • Have students set a reading goal based on what they've learned through the quiz reflections. Use a goal tracking sheet to help students brainstorm how they will apply this goal to their content areas and track progress. See the Student Goal Tracking Sheet in the resources section below.

Questions to Consider

  • How will you ensure that every student is appropriately challenged? If the max level is too easy for some of your students or the lowest level is too hard for others, these particular students won't be able to effectively reflect. When selecting articles, be sure they have an appropriate range of reading levels for your student population.

  • What will the other students be doing while you are conferencing with students individually about their reflections? Having an independent learning activity lined up for students to work on while you are conferencing will help this process run smoothly.

Teacher Tips

Christine Scoppa
Newsela Master Teacher
  • This strategy works great with a large variety of students. I've taught this activity in general education classrooms (some with inclusion and EL support) and in my tier-two intervention literacy lab. I have colleagues who have used this activity in their resource rooms as well. I have received really positive feedback from teachers across all of these settings.

  • I photocopied this packet in a bright color and hole-punched it so that students would be able to easily find it in their binders. Because looking back at prior reflections is so important in this process, you'll want to make sure students can reference it quickly.

  • While you can decrease the number of articles assigned, don't rush this process. One quiz reflection is not likely to make a significant impact. The metacognitive responses my students shared with me in their reflections proved that this activity was well worth the time it took!

  • The more you can directly connect this work to the tasks students need to accomplish in their content area classrooms, the more effective this work will be. I suggest taking time each class to discuss how students are using what they are learning throughout their school day.

Consulted Resources

In developing this strategy, the resources linked below were consulted.


  • Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind: 16 Essential Characteristics for Success by Bena Kallick PH.D and Arthur L Costa
  • Integrating the 16 Habits of Mind by Terri Heick (see link in resource section below)