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QA Why Strategy

The Q-Question (short)  A-Answer  Why-Y strategy helps students organize their thinking about a given Essential Question (EQ).  Teachers must provide the EQ based upon the standard(s) being addressed.  This strategy is particularly applicable to any process which incorporates a specific sequence.  

Use of this strategy and the accompanying graphic organizer provide students with a place to record the multiple bits of information in a step-by-step format. 

The column to illustrate or show your work/thinking encourages students to “summarize” the answer and reason at each step, forcing the student to make connections to the overall EQ and/or the entire process. 

When the “stepped” organizer is complete—and this “draft” is checked by the teacher—the student will extrapolate the sentences of each step into a paragraph.


This strategy provides a clearly formatted tool for analysis which enables the students look at the whole in smaller, easily digestible pieces, aiding comprehension.


The most unique aspect of this strategy is that it allows the teacher a clear view of the student’s thinking, highlighting the exact place the student is having difficulty or struggling.

Assessment and Differentiation

The QAY provides a quick glance at a student’s work/knowledge of the content. Use of the organizer allows the teacher to pin-point the exact place in the process where the student needs clarification or additional instruction. This authentic feedback for teachers and/or intervention specialists, aids in diagnostic and prescriptive instruction.

For additional information, how-to's, and resources, please visit the links in the sidebar.

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