What are the differences between a "guiding question," an "assessment question," and a "discussion question"?

CommonLit lessons may feature a variety of question types to support student comprehension as they read, assess their understanding of key themes or ideas, and spark further reflection and discussion.

Guiding questions are optional, multiple-choice questions used to check for student understanding while reading a text. Teachers can enable guiding questions, or Guided Reading Mode, for specific students or an entire class when they assign a text on the digital platform. Students continue answering until they select the correct answer, and teachers can view the number of tries it took a student to get the correct answer on the Assignment Report. These questions do not impact a student's total score on an assignment.

Assessment questions are text-dependent multiple-choice or short-answer questions that are evidence-based. This means that the student must refer back to the text to answer the question correctly. They are standardized, have a correct answer, and count towards the student's total grade. Students only get one try to answer these questions correctly (unless the teacher unsubmits their assignment). 

Discussion questions are open-ended questions intended to be used in class to spark a discussion or debate. They are not currently digitally assignable, but they can be copied and shared with students. Students love to share their opinions with their peers, and studies show that students learn more in discussion-based classrooms. To learn more about the research that supports CommonLit's instructional practices, visit the CommonLit Impact page.