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Text Dependent Analysis

► Page Take-Aways
  • Preparing students for TDA questions takes work but is not an impossible task
  • You can follow a six step process towards TDA success
  • TDA questions force students to create answers based only on the information provided

What is Text Dependent Analysis

Text Dependent Analysis and Text Dependent Questions ask questions that force students to synthesize answers based on specific evidence within a reading passage and demonstrate their ability to interpret the meaning behind that evidence. 

Answers are based on evidence from within the passage, but often ask students to interpret that evidence and justify it as an answer.

Why the Emphasis on Text Dependent Analysis

With the advent of national Core Standards in Reading/ELA and Mathematics came an increased demand for rigor in the teaching and learning process. The new assessments have raised the bar for students and teachers.

There has been much discussion about why the need exists for a new demand in rigor, including TDA. Amidst the active dialogue, some realities have caught the attention of educators and raised concerns.

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How to Write Effective TDA Questions

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Test Dependent Questions, What They Are Not

Scavenger Hunts


Text Dependent Analysis digs deeper than questions that only point to an answer in the text. Scavenger hunt type questions fail to pull in the analysis portion of TDAs. Avoid questions that can be answered by simply restating a snippet of the passage.



Opinion-based and personal experience questions may be part of a Text Dependent Analysis question, but should not be considered a Text Dependent Question on its own. Text Dependent Analysis depends on students using information provided in the passage. If a student can answer the question without reading and relying on the passage, the question fails to live up to the TDA standard.

Why Text Dependent Analysis is Important


Making sure that students understand the meaning behind content is at the root of Text Dependent Analysis. College bound students need to have mastered the ability to synthesize content. One of the biggest reasons students leave college is that text is too complex. Students who have experience with text complexity and text dependent analysis are more apt to continue with their education.

Preparing Your Students for Text Dependent Analysis

Many students do not have experience with Text Dependent Analysis. Developing the metacognitive skills that allow students to answer Text Dependent Questions has become essential. Teachers can use the follow 6 step process in teaching students how to approach a TDA question.

6 Steps to TDA Success

Step 1 – Read for GIST

Have students skim read or fast read the passage. Students are reading for main ideas not details.

Step 2 – Read the Prompt to Learn the Question

Students often fail to answer the question asked in a prompt. Have students read the prompt to really understand the question. Have students underline or highlight the main question(s). Their goal is to determine what is being asked.

Step 3 – Close Read the Passage

Now that students are aware of the question(s) being asked, have the students read the passage again. This time the students are Close Reading or reading for understanding. Based on the questions asked, students read the story to find evidence to respond to the prompt.

Step 4 – Re-read the Questions

Have students re-read the questions. By re-reading the questions students can focus their answers on the actual question asked. Again, sometimes students just reiterate what was read as opposed to answering the questions based on evidence. Emphasize that they want to respond to what is being asked.

Step 5 – Organize Thoughts

Prior to writing their response, students should organize their evidence and analysis. Using a two column graphic organizer, have students create one column titled ‘Evidence from the Text’ and a second column titled ‘Meaning or Reason for Choosing This Evidence’. In the first column, students can pull information directly from the text. In the Meaning or Reason column, students provide analysis on why they found this evidence important.

Step 6 – Compose Response

Students can now write their response to the question. An excellent first step is for students to turn the question into a statement using the word BECAUSE. This will focus students on the analysis portion of the question. To perform Text Dependent Analysis it is important that students make a statement then use evidence from the passage to explain their statement.