Predicting the answer to a multiple choice question rather than simply choosing from given answers allows readers to practice checking their comprehension and confirming understanding. Show your students how to approach certain questions as opportunities to read a text more carefully. Predicting the answer before evaluating choices allows students to eliminate some of the choices immediately, so test-takers can focus on distractor analysis. In the classroom, provide many opportunities for students to predict before they find the right answer: for instance, a prediction strategy would work when students have the text in front of them and can find the answer in the text before they look at the multiple choice answer options.
Why Predict Answers
Prediction strategies help students approach questions as opportunities to read a text more carefully.
- Requires students go back to the text to find an answer before tackling the multiple choice options presented.
- Encourages students to check their work as a consistent strategy.
- Allows students to eliminate wrong answers immediately.
- Is not only for multiple choice questions but can be used with any topic students are learning, in any instructional environment.
Instructions for Students
1. Read the question carefully.
2. Cover the answer choices.
3. Predict the answer.
4. Jot down the answer in your own words.
5. Find text to support your answer.
6. Select the multiple choice answer that matches your answer or use an error analysis for remaining distractors.
Strategies for Scaffolding Annotation
If students are unsure of an answer, suggest that they eliminate answers before they make a prediction. Another strategy is to gradually release the strategy of prediction:
- “I Do It” → Project a reading and model, out loud, how you might predict the answer. Provide students with a variety of responses and questioning as you predict.
- “We Do It” → Have students predict the answer to a multiple choice question in a small group or whole class. Discuss their thought process as a whole group.
- “You Do It Together” → Have students predict in pairs. Encourage students to take a write down the reason they selected an answer.
- “You Do It Alone” → Have students predict individually. Make sure to give them feedback promptly.
Provide students with guidance on how to make predictions. In this example, students can try to write out an expression on their own and then check the options to see if they match. This is a great way to check and double-check their work, as well.