Formulating Questions and Instructions: A Challenging Issue





Dufour, Jean-Didier
Tessier, Hélène

There can be a considerable gap between the response expected by educators and that provided by students, owing simply to how instructions are framed. This observation has led the authors to propose a method of designing and analyzing questions accompanied by an analysis guide for students. By means of this approach, which draws on cognitive psychology, pragmatics, and text grammar, question wording can be validated and answer keys fine-tuned accordingly—ultimately facilitating correction and feedback to students. The article introduces question components, and goes on to discuss a method aimed at validating the quality of question formulation. The authors then suggest paying special attention to verbs and their definition, and illustrate how to parse essay questions using a five-point framework. The article concludes by discussing answer-key development and student training.


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