Let’s all be honest: No one loves state testing. No one even likes it. It’s like paying taxes; it’s a necessary evil that the government requires of you.
If we can make state testing just a little easier for our kiddos, why not do so?
Two years ago, I came up with a way for my students to analyze the answer choices. If the students know what to expect when eliminating the answer choices, it will help them to choose the most correct answer easier.
For most questions, there are typically 4 answer choices. If your student can categorize each answer choice, they have a better chance of eliminating the wrong answers and choosing the right one.
I tell my students to recognize two things when narrowing down their correct answer: the test creators want to trick you, but you can outsmart them if you know what to look for in the answer choices.
I tell my students each of the answer choices fall into one of the following categories:
- the “YESSS SIRR!” answer choice (the correct answer we want),
- the “DISTRACTOR” answer choice (the answer choice that is kinda like the right answer, but there is just something not completely correct about it),
- and the “UMMMM….NO!” answer choice (the obvious answer choice that makes zero sense and we can automatically eliminate it).
Check out the following example using my Test Prep Passage: #1000BlackGirlBooks. The students had to not only eliminate the “UMMMM….NO!” and the “DISTRACTOR”, but they had to tell why using evidence from the text.
Since there are typically 4 answer choices and 3 categories, there may be TWO “Distractors” or TWO “UMMM…NO!” answer choices. If the students can identify why the answer choice falls into one of these two categories using text based evidence, then they are on the straighter path to finding the most correct answer.
In the next example from the passage Slime Time, the “DISTRACTOR” was a bit trickier since the text mentioned the social media platforms YouTube and Instagram mulitple times. However, that’s not what the text was mainly about. This strategy checks for comprehension constantly.
Once you teach this simple process of identifying the answer choices, your students can properly eliminate answer choices that could potentially lead them astray in answering their questions.
Be sure to practice using questions that have more than one correct answer. Their text based evidence and inference skills need to be even stronger! This example is from the fiction Test Prep Passage: The Stone Cutter.
Want to introduce this strategy to your students? Here are some free posters featuring the possible answer choices you can introduce to your students. Just after one time of hearing these terms, your kiddos will completely own this and use it often!