Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tips for Answering Short-Response Questions

Short-response questions can be tricky.  This type of question asks students to answer a question and explain their thinking.  

Common Core writing will involve short-response tasks for most of the assessments.  The final test of the year will contain multiple-choice questions.  Although there are not any requirements that state how many details a student must give in a response, more is always best.

When my students are faced with a short-response question, I encourage them to do the following things:
  • Answer the question.  Next, give several details to support your thinking.  I often make the analogy that if they want to convince their parents to do something, they usually give multiple reasons why in order to be more persuasive.
  • Be very specific.  Instead of stating "she went somewhere", state "Heather went to the store".  Specific information is always valued much higher than vague answers.
  • Explain the connection between the details that have been provided and your answer.  Instead of listing details , explain the connection between ideas.  For example," The text states the fact that Heather looked down and frowned.  This detail supports my idea that Heather was upset.  I know this because this is the way that people usually act when they feel this way."
Although these are tips that are extremely helpful when it comes to answering questions in class and on current assessments, these strategies will help students provide stronger answers on the Common Core assessments.

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