Engage Activity explained: Comprehensions

Progress through a comprehension activity is shown in the status bar at the top. Stage 1 is always the article, there are then a series of questions, followed by the pupil’s activity scorecard as the final stage.

  1. News Article Stage

The comprehensions start with the news article. It is categorised into the section of First News it has come from, i.e. UK News, World News, Science, Crazy but true etc. 

2. Question Stages

The news story is followed by a series of questions that support pupils to: 

  • understand the facts and details of the news report
  • infer and deduce information at a greater depth
  • develop personal ideas and opinions about the story
  • develop global and cross-curricular understanding
  • recognise writing techniques used by the journalists

It is not a memory test, pupils can refer back to the article at any stage by clicking on the ‘Show article’ tab at the bottom of the screen.


The Engage and Engage Pro question types are listed below:

i) Multiple choice questions
– these are marked automatically by the platform and give pupils instant feedback to support their learning. To encourage pupils to work out the correct answer, rather than guess, they score 30 points if they identify the answer with their first choice, but only 10 points if they make an error.

ii) Word matching or gap fill – these are marked automatically by the platform and follow the same point system as the multiple choice questions. These questions aim to improve children's close analysis skills.

iii) Typed answer questions – these develop deeper thinking and reasoning, and are marked by the teacher.

iv) Order questions – Pupils will normally get one order question if they are assigned to level 2 or 3. This question allows pupils to put a series of events, or timeline, into the correct order.


The image below shows a word matching type question:


Pupils may have to explain how they have inferred information or develop personal ideas and opinions. Here, they are given the opportunity to practise giving justifications for ideas they are presenting.

These questions have a star rating (one to three stars) that give pupils an indication of how much information they need to give.
When teachers mark these questions, they award additional ‘Teacher Points’ that are linked to the star rating.

Engage Pro: Teacher Points that can be awarded:

One star – 0 or 30 points

Two star – 0, 30, or 60 points

Three star – 0, 30, 60 or 90 points

Reading Skills
– in both question types, the reading skill that the question practises are given. These link directly to England's National Curriculum Programmes of Study for Reading Comprehension  at Key Stages Two and Three, but are the core elements of any programme for developing reading comprehension at this age group and stage of learning. More information on Engage Reading Skills can be found here.

   3. Engage Pro: Activity Scorecard Stage

The activity scorecard shows pupils the total number of points they have scored from the multiple choice questions, how many words they have read in this news story and it displays all the answers they have given to each question in the activity.
For the multiple choice questions, it shows them where they have made an incorrect choice before identifying the actual answer.
Teacher points and marking comments are displayed underneath a pupil's typed answer on their scorecard.
The pupil's activity scorecard is also seen by the teacher in their Marking Centre.

How are the comprehensions different at Level One, Two and Three?

The text and questions become more challenging, both in length and complexity.

Level One

  • These news stories are simplified versions of the ones that feature in First News
  • The comprehensions have one word match/gap fill question, four multiple-choice questions and one typed answer question
  • Three new comprehensions are given each week

Level Two

  • Level two comprehensions typically consist of:
  • Two word match questions,  three multiple-choice questions, one order question and two typed answer questions
  • One new comprehension each week

Level Three

  • Level three comprehensions typically consist of:
  • One order question, six multiple-choice questions and three typed answer questions
  • One new comprehension each week

If you subscribe to Engage Pro and you would like the platform to be completely self-marking, the typed-answer questions in the comprehensions can be turned off in your Teacher Settings.