Utilization of Higher-Order Questioning to Improve Student Reading Comprehension in Sixth Grade

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Ximena Suarez-Sousa


Higher-order questions, lower-order questions, metacognition, COVID-19



The purpose of this study was to discover how the use of higher-level questioning and discussion techniques impact students reading comprehension. There are various levels of questions that can be used to assess students’ achievement and engagement. Low-level questions require students to recall, restate, or locate information within a text. Whereas, higher-level questions encourage the students to produce responses based on their understanding of the text. However, it is easier for teachers to ask lower-level questions since they require a correct or incorrect answer. Students can use their responses from lower-level questions to generate or support answers to higher-level questions. The use of higher-level questions requires the students to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize a text resulting in an increase of reading comprehension, critical thinking skills, and standardized test scores.

The study took place with 15 students in two different classes both in sixth grade. Data collected during the study included a pre and post-reading comprehension and engagement survey and weekly comprehension questions scored using a rubric. Week by week student engagement increased and at the completion of the intervention students did not have an increase in overall comprehension. The intervention of introducing higher-order questioning and higher-order responding into both whole group and small group instruction did not prove to have a significant improvement in students’ comprehension. The study was missing two end data points from students’ MCA and Fastbridge scores.

Keywords: higher-order questions, lower-order questions, metacognition, COVID-19

Abstract only: No full text available.