HGov: Costas Level of Questioning

After the notes have been taken in the right-hand column, students formulate questions based on the notes on the left side of the page. These should be higher level thinking questions based on Costa’s Levels of Questioning. Writing questions helps to clarify meanings, reveal relationships, establish continuity, and strengthen memory. Also, the writing of questions sets up a perfect stage for quiz, test, or exam studying later.

Level 1 (the lowest level) requires one to gather information.

  • The answer can be found in the text (either directly or indirectly).
  • Very concrete and pertains only to the text.
  • Asks for facts about what has been heard or read.
  • Information is recalled in the exact manner/form it was heard.

Level 2 (the middle level) requires one to process the information.

  • The answer can be inferred from the text.
  • Although more abstract than a Level One question, deals only with the text
  • Information can be broken down into parts.
  • Involves examining in detail, analyzing motives or causes, making inferences, finding information to support generalizations or decision making.
  • Questions combine information in a new way.

Level 3 (the highest level) requires one to apply the information.

  • The answer goes beyond the text.
  • Is abstract and does not pertain to the text.
  • Ask that judgments be made from information.
  • Gives opinions about issues, judges the validity of ideas or other products and justifies opinions and ideas.

The image below is a reminder/introduction to Costa’s Three Levels of Questioning. An explanation of each level is found below the image.


Below is an image containing sentence stems for Costa’s house three levels of questioning. Use this information to help you write connection questions for your Cornell notes.





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