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The three levels of comprehension, or sophistication of thinking, are presented in the following hierarchy from the least to the most sophisticated level of reading.
LITERAL - what is actually stated.
TESTS in this category are objective tests dealing with true / false, multiple choice and fill-in-the blank questions.
Common questions used to illicit this type of thinking are who, what, when, and where questions.
INTERPRETIVE - what is implied or meant, rather than what is actually stated.
TESTS in this category are subjective, and the types of questions asked are open-ended, thought-provoking questions like why, what if, and how.
APPLIED - taking what was said (literal) and then what was meant by what was said (interpretive) and then extend (apply) the concepts or ideas beyond the situation.
In this level we are analyzing or synthesizing information and applying it to other information.