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(1) Why was the question asked in ASSET test?

It is important for children to learn the skill of reading and making sense of authentic material that they might encounter in daily life situations. Ability to comprehend text in “textbook” situations does not guarantee that the skill of comprehending other kinds of authentic material has developed. This question expects children to not only understand the comic in the poster, but also place the matter in context in terms of who has put out this notice, what it is about, who this notice is meant for and what is the suggested action in it etc.

(2) What did students answer?

45% of 6,763 children chose the correct Option C, “send your story to Khushi”. 31% of the children chose option B, “write a story about Khushi” which was the most common wrong answer. Possible reason for choosing A: Only a few children have chosen this option. They could have looked at the comics and thought that they too would need to produce similar drawings.

Possible reason for choosing B: Children don’t seem to have figured out the meaning of the option “write a story about Khushi”. They seem to have blindly chosen this option because it matches the title line “Can you write stories for Khushi?”- displayed prominently in this notice. Children seem to have missed the implication of the word ‘about’ in the option, and are possibly confused about who or what “Khushi” is as well. They have also ignored the line, just above the address, which says: “Send your stories to Khushi”.

Possible reason for choosing D: Only a few children chose this options (6-7%), probably indicating that they have ticked an answer because they had to select an option and not leave it blank.

(3) Learnings

This question expects children to understand important points like: who has put up this notice, what is the notice about, what is to be done as per the notice. All the options are conditions to win a prize. Children need to read the text and understand which of the conditions given in the options would help in acquiring a prize. The most direct clue is the sentence that says “Send your stories to Khushi”, apart from statements like “Can you write stories for Khushi?” and “We will turn your stories into comics” which also ought to provide adequate clues.

Student responses seem to indicate that children may be unfamiliar with reading authentic material such as this notice, and thus lack the skill to grasp the key messages. They do not seem to pay attention to small words in a sentence like “about/for” and hence may miss out on the implications of the same.

4) How do we handle this?

  • Bring short notices put on the school notice board and discuss these briefly. Put up the questions ‘Who, For whom, What, When, Where, Why, How’ and fill in details of the notice under each of these questions.For example if this notice itself is taken, you can do the following exercise:

16A

  • Do this exercise with 2-3 notices and children will pick up the key points to keep in mind while reading a notice or an advertisement.

Useful Links

Website: Tips to Strengthen Reading Comprehension (K-3), Article provided by Sylvan Learning Centre – http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/departments/elementary/?article=strengthenreadingcomp

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Educational Initiatives

Educational Initiatives

Founded by a group of IIMA alumni, with ample personal experience of educational institutions, Educational Initiatives (EI) is an effort to ensure every child learns with understanding.

Established in 2001, Educational Initiatives believes in making a difference in education through personalized learning and ensuring that students learn with understanding.

EI has over 15 years of expertise in education, with a deep understanding of child psychology and efficient methods of teaching, based on detailed research and a formidable database of student learning through ASSET.

Our detailed research has proven that children today respond to rote-based questions relatively well, however, they fail to answer unfamiliar or application based questions due to unclear core concepts.
Educational Initiatives