Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Multiple Choice Question Answering Strategy

Getting students to defend their answer choices is key to success.  I have found that it takes a different type of comprehension savvy to answer multiple choice questions than it does to answer written response questions.

I often teach students the seesaw method (this will be posted later) and the graph method to get them to defend their ideas and narrow down correct answers when they answer multiple choice questions.

I begin by drawing a graph on the board or on paper.  The numbers along the side represent the number of text details that a student finds in the text to defend his or her answer.  The letters at the bottom represent answer choices a, b, c, etc.

As students answer a question, they locate details from the text to defend each answer choice.  A chip is placed down on the graph above each graph answer choice letter.
Example-There are two text details to defend answer choice "D".  One detail is found in paragraph four.  The other supporting detail is found in paragraph three.  Choice "D" must be the correct answer.

Students will quickly be able to determine which answer choices are supported by details from the text and which ones are not.  This is especially helpful with narrowing down the correct answer when two answer choices seem to be correct.  I use cut pieces of foam board as the graph squares. (These can be purchased from any craft store.  Or, use cut pieces of construction paper for use.) To help students be even more specific about defending their answers, students can write the paragraph where they found their text support on each square.

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