Home » Testing and Assessment » How To Write Good Questions To Test Reading Skills

How To Write Good Questions To Test Reading Skills

Below are some patterns of questions to test reading skills. Each pattern includes what students are asked to do to answer the question and some guidelines to help the teachers write this kind of question in a good way.

1. Read the following sentences and number them in the correct order:

  • There should be only one correct order for the sentences to form a text.
  • Write a complete text in the right order first, and then place the sentences at random.
  • Sentences should be logically sequenced.
  • Sufficient clues should be given.
  • Use clear events, actions, time, definite/indefinite articles, logical connectors,  and adverbs as clues.
  • The marking scheme needs to be clear.

2. Read and answer multiple-choice questions:

  • There should be only one correct answer.
  • The distractors (wrong answers) should be wrong but seem like possible answers, the options are not too obviously right or wrong.
  • The responses should be of equal length and mutually exclusive i.e., if the answer is ‘dog’, then, ‘animal’ can not be an option.
  • All the information in the questions (stem) should be necessary.
  • Include only one idea in each statement.
  • Avoid the double negatives as they increase confusion.
  • In MCQ format, texts need to be dense (packed with information) to provide sufficient distractors.

3. Quick reading for main ideas: Skimming:

  • Establish a list of main ideas first and then find materials to write a paragraph about each of them. The main ideas will form the core ideas in the passage. Some paragraphs may not contain main ideas and these would act as distractors.
  • The main idea should stand out clearly. Topic sentences should help. Discourse markers might be used to indicate importance. Keywords might be repeated.
  • The passage should not be too dense and no inference should not be required.
  • The passage should have a clear, logical structure.
  • Most likely the text should have an argument-based structure, i.e., for and against, contrast/comparison, problem/solution, cause/effect.  

4. Quick reading for specifics: Scanning:

The text you select should include:

  • Figures/percentages.
  • Dates of particular events.
  • Names of places, people, objects…etc (i.e. descriptive text).

3. Careful reading for details:

  • Decide first on the topic area of the passage.
  • You can use outside resources to create the text but make sure it is suitable in terms of conditions for testing reading in the test specifications.
  • Write the text and then develop a framework for questions.
  • Provide the model answers for the questions you set.
  • Get trustworthy, professional colleagues to check the text, the questions you set, and the model answers you provided.

Thanks For Reading

Liked This Article?

Share It With Your Networks.

You can also join my email list not only to be notified of the latest updates on elttguide.com but also to get TWO of my products: Quick-Start Guide To Teaching Listening In The Classroom & Quick-Start Guide To Teaching Grammar In The Classroom For FREE!

Join My Email List Now (It’s FREE)!

Want to Continue Your ELT Professional Development?

I offer various ELT publications on teaching English as a foreign language. 

In these publications, I put the gist of my experience in TEFL for +20 years with various learners and in various environments and cultures.

The techniques and tips in these publications are sure-fire teaching methods that worked for me well and they can work for you, as well, FOR SURE.

Go ahead and get a look at these publications to know more about each one of them and the problem & challenge each one focuses on to overcome.

Then, you can get what you have an interest in. It is very easy and cheap. You can afford it and you’ll never regret it if you decide to get one of them, FOR SURE.

Now, click to get a look at my Publications

2 thoughts on “How To Write Good Questions To Test Reading Skills

  1. Mahmood says:

    Iwant to learn english

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*
*