Identify the Best Answers
It's not uncommon for students to rush through multiple-choice assessments without selecting the very best responses. For this reason, teachers need to provide explicit instruction on how to choose the best answer, rather than the first answer that sounds correct.
Introduce Bullís-Eye Answers
Before students can choose the correct answer, they need to know that there are different types of answers presented. Using a bullís-eye board, explain the different possibilities.
BLACK RING: Some answers are completely wrong and may include false information. They are far from correct, so they fall farthest from the center.
BLUE RING: The answers that fall within the blue ring are often true; they state a fact or detail mentioned in the text. And because students recognize the information, they assume itís the answer. However, they donít realize that the information is not an appropriate answer to the particular question asked.
RED RING: These are more difficult to discern because they are mostly correct. Many times, the little words within these answers disqualify them. Words like and, or, always, or most of the time create differences that significantly alter the meaning. These answers require careful attention since they are true, but they might not be complete. Students need to consider whether or not there is another answer that is more correct.
YELLOW RING: Bull's-eye answers address the particular question asked and provide the most complete and most accurate information.
Implement the strategy
Model the application of Bullís-Eye Answers several times. Read aloud a question and every possible answer. Pause and let the students hear you think out loud. Let them hear you consider the options as you rationalize which is the best choice. The Bullís-eye Answer strategy is about more than just finding the right answer. Students are learning how to be problem-solvers and how to think critically.
Eventually break the class into groups and provide each group with a bullís-eye board with four sticky notes labeled A, B, C, D. Project a question and† four multiple-choice answers. Allow time for groups to read through and discuss the options. Their job is to work as a team to decide where each one of the answers should fall on the board.
Then, announce, 1, 2, 3, Show Me. Groups simultaneously lift up their bullís-eye boards to reveal their answer placement. Look for their bullís-eye choice but also note where groups placed the other three options.
When groups have placed the answers in the same rings on their boards, pause and discuss their mutual decisions. What were the key words or details that helped you make your choices? Also plan time for groups to rationalize any discrepancies. Point out the subtle, yet significant differences between those close, red-ring answers and the yellow bullís-eye answers.
The power of the bullís-eye answer strategy is that it slows students down. It requires them to read every possible answer before determining where to place it on the bullís-eye board.