Comprehension | 6 Steps to tackle “support with evidence” 2-part questions
Hi everyone! Welcome back! While in the midst of all the examination preparation, I came to realise that evidence-based questions in the comprehension paper is a question type that may prove to be a stumbling block for some students.
How does an evidence-based question look like? An example of this question type is:
Common errors that pupils may make include failing to answer the first part of the question as well as giving more than what is necessary to justify their answers. To help pupils tackle this question type well, I will be sharing a 6-step process to help them arrive at the answer! I do hope that this step-by-step approach will help to unpack the demands of this question and make it a less daunting question for them!
Step 1: Break down the question requirement
Questions in this format may be overwhelming for the children because there are two requirements to fulfil.
Pupils must be able to see that the first part of the question requires inference. An inferential question is one where the answer can only be derived from using clues from the passage. The second part of the question then requires justification. Simply put, “what shows” that what you have said is true? Support your answer with exact details that can be found from the passage. This is similar to True/False table-form questions where pupils have to provide the appropriate evidence to prove why a statement is true or false. Find out more about the question types here.
Step 2: Highlight the keywords in the statement
Step 3: Highlight answers from the passage
What are the clues in the passage that will provide you with the information to make an accurate inference?
Consider the text below:
Step 4: Respond to the first part of the question
Pupils have to take note that the first part of the question must be answered. Failure to do so will result in a zero mark awarded even if the evidence is accurate.
There are different types of evidence-based questions and in today’s example, a yes/no response is required. It is also encouraged that the answer be in a complete sentence. Do take note too that in such yes/no questions, if only the first part is answered, a zero will be given too!
Step 5: Craft your evidence based on the highlighted clue from the passage.
When crafting the evidence, pupils are advised to avoid blind lifting as not all information will answer the question. Look at whether one or two pieces of information are required. The examiner will penalise pupils for failing to meet the question requirement.
If a pupil gives less than the stated number of pieces of evidence, he/she will definitely not get the full marks. If a pupil gives more than what is required and the evidence is inaccurate, he or she may be penalised too.
Alternatively, craft the second part of the question by starting with “The two pieces of evidence are that…” Some pupils may find this structure helpful in helping them to start the answer.
Step 6: Check for TAPS.
As a checking step, do check for TAPS: tense, accuracy of answer, punctuation and spelling.
I hope this step-by-step guide to tackling open-ended comprehension questions that require justification will be helpful. When the question seems complex, pupils are encouraged to break it down into manageable chunks first. Ultimately with more practise, the steps should become part of a thinking routine which will help the pupil process information and provide answers more accurately. Thank you for reading!
Ms Cynthia is an English Teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. In her 5 years of English Language teaching experience, she has enjoyed guiding her students to explore the literary world and provide them with the tools to unpack and decipher texts. As a teacher who is passionate about the language, she hopes to inspire the children to become creative and critical thinkers who will be ready to face the challenges of the world.