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Levels of Questions

Adapted by RHS ELA teacher Bill Drewnowski from Teacher’s Manuel, The Language of Composition, and Laying the Foundation

The information in the first column can be used by students working in partners or small groups to analyze the types of questions published in a textbook, on a test, or in a teacher’s lesson plan. After analyzing the questions posed by others, students read a passage or listen to a presentation and practice composing their own questions in the second column.



“On the Line” questions (also called comprehension questions) are text-based: the answers to these questions can be verified in the text. These questions often ask who, what, when, where, how? They are not debatable and everyone should have the same answer.





“Between the Line” questions (also called interpretation questions) require us to read between the lines and to draw conclusions about the author, people, events, and ideas in the text. They require analysis and inference. These questions stay within the text and often ask why, how, and so what? The answers require reasoning and textual evidence; answers may vary.









“Beyond the Line” questions (also called extension questions) use the text as a stimulus, but require us to extend and connect the text to ideas, events, and texts other than the one under discussion.  The answers to these questions are often debatable, and reasonable people may disagree on the answers.