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When identifying the outcomes of a lesson / activity, educators need to reflect on different levels of understanding.  One way to do this is to focus on the questions that are used to guide learning.  Angelo Ciardello, in an article called, "Did You Ask a Good Question Today?" (Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, vol. 42, no. 3, November, 1998) identified strategies to help students develop good questions.

They represent levels of critical thinking, starting with lower levels of understanding and advancing to higher levels.  Ciardello's question types are:

Memory Questions.  

Focus on:  identifying, naming, defining, identifying, designating, yes or no responses

Keywords:  who, what, where, when 

Convergent Thinking

Focus on:  explaining, stating relationships, comparing and contrasting

Keywords:  why, how, in what way


bulletExplaining:  What were some reasons for the US Civil War?
bulletStating relationships:  How does the enforcement of intellectual property rights encourage technological development?
bulletComparing and contrasting:  In what ways are spreadsheets and databases alike?  In what ways do they differ?

Divergent Thinking 

Focus on:  predicting, hypothesizing, inferring, reconstruction

Keywords:  imagine, suppose, predict, if... then..., how might... can you create..., what are some possible consequences...


bulletPredicting:  What predictions can you make if the population continues to grow and less land is devoted to agriculture?
bulletHypothesizing:  If the Axis forces had won World War II, how might the world be different?
bulletInferring:  What would you expect to happen if intellectual property rights were all repealed?
bulletReconstruction:  What would you suggest to increase recreational opportunities in Wisconsin's traditional resort and vacation industries?

Evaluative Thinking

Focus on:  valuing, judging, defending, justifying choices

Keywords:  defend, judge,  justify, what do you think..., what is your opinion... 


bulletValuing:  How do you feel about the role of competition in the US marketplace?
bulletJudging:  What do you think of relaxing of immigration laws and amnesty for illegal immigrants?
bulletDefending:  Why do you oppose the construction of a nuclear power plant in our community?
bulletJustifying choices:  Why would you prefer to attend a private college?

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