Study Guide

Field 002: Assessment of Professional Knowledge:
Middle Childhood (4–9)
Sample Constructed-Response Assignments

The following materials contain:

Directions for the Constructed-Response Assignments

This section of the test consists of two constructed-response written assignments. One is a case study, consisting of two charges. The other is a work product. You are to prepare a written response of approximately 200300 words to each assignment.

Read each assignment carefully before you begin to type. Each written assignment appears on the screen with an answer box. Type your response in this answer box.

Each of your responses will be scored on the extent to which you effectively communicate a whole message to the specified audience for the stated purpose. You will be assessed on your ability to apply professional knowledge in your response. Your response to each assignment will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

Be sure to write about the assigned topic. You may not use any reference materials. Your response must be your original work, written in your own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work. Remember to review what you have written and make any changes you think will improve your written response. The final version of your response should conform to the conventions of edited English as used in the United States.

Sample Case Study Assignment

Use the case study below to complete the assignment that follows.

Background

Sam is a fifth-grade student who is performing at grade level in the core curricular areas. Sam is an eager participant in class discussions and activities, but he has a hard time organizing his assignments and often forgets to complete his work. He has particular difficulty beginning and completing written assignments and is easily frustrated by the writing process. Sam exhibits some impulsive behaviors, such as interrupting conversations and engaging in mild horseplay, which can annoy his classmates and make it difficult for him to work in groups. The teacher provides him with frequent verbal reminders to stay on task. Sam has a daily planner in which the teacher records his assignments. Sometimes during group-work periods, the teacher has Sam work independently and provides him with close supervision.

Upcoming Social Studies Project on Important Leaders

Although groups were assigned, the teacher let Sam choose which students he would like to work with on the project. Then the teacher met with Sam's group to create a checklist of the tasks Sam would complete for his part of the project. The teacher wrote the due dates for each task in Sam's daily planner and allowed him to work on those tasks an extra half-hour each day in a study carrel.

Excerpts from the Teacher's Observation Notes during Week One

Sam chose to work with Manuel and Julia... So far Sam's interactions with his group have been relatively positive; he seems motivated to use the checklist we developed... He completed his first assigned task, but that was two days ago; I need to check in to see how he is doing... I am hearing Manuel and Julia tell Sam to "get to work" more frequently...

Portion of a Discussion in Sam's Group during Week One

Manuel: Sam, it's hard to work with you when you act silly and don't help us.

Sam: I want to help. Sometimes I don't know what to do next.

Julia: Look in your planner. We each agreed to make a list of five facts about our leader. You can tell us lots of information, but you don't have anything written down.

Manuel: We need your information and your help to do the computer presentation.

Sam: I'll bring it tomorrow.

Julia: You're my friend, Sam, and you're really smart, but I don't want our group to have a bad project because you didn't do your part.

Case Study Assignment

Write a response in two parts based on the elements of the case study presented above.

Part One

Part Two

Sample Strong Response to the Case Study Assignment

Part One

One strategy Sam's teacher used to try to help ensure his success in learning was to assist Sam in managing his work by creating a checklist of tasks that Sam would complete for his part of the project. This was a good strategy to try because checklists can be effective tools for helping students learn how to monitor their own progress on an assignment or project. For a student such as Sam, who has trouble staying focused and remembering what he needs to do, a checklist can be particularly helpful. By referring to his checklist, Sam can quickly determine what he needs to work on next, and his teacher as well as the students in his group can tell at a glance if Sam is progressing or falling behind on his assigned tasks.

Part Two

One additional strategy Sam's teacher could have used to help ensure Sam's success in learning is to meet with Sam each day to review his progress and plan strategies for the next day's work. This strategy would have been effective for several reasons. First of all, such meetings would help promote a sense of accountability in Sam for his assigned tasks and maintain his focus on essential elements of the project. Secondly, this strategy would provide an opportunity for Sam's teacher to monitor his progress more closely and help him address potential problems earlier rather than later. By working with Sam to plan the next day's tasks, Sam's teacher can assist him in identifying specific concrete steps he needs to take to fulfill his responsibilities.

Sample Work Product Assignment

Use the information below to complete the assignment that follows.

Imagine that you are a new elementary teacher. Your principal has asked you to serve on a faculty committee whose goal is to identify ways to increase teachers' use of reflective practice. Members of the school community have been concerned about declining student achievement in recent years, and increased use of reflective practice by teachers has been identified as one way to enhance teaching and learning at the school. Increased use of reflective practice by teachers is a goal for the following year.

Write a response to other members of the committee describing your ideas about the issue of teachers' use of reflective practice. Your response should:

Sample Strong Response to the Work Product Assignment

Teachers' use of reflective practice is important for several reasons. First, reflective practice helps teachers gain a better understanding of their own teaching styles and strengths and helps them identify areas of their professional practice that are in need of improvement. Second, reflective practice enables teachers to use unsuccessful or disappointing lessons to improve their future performance and to address student learning needs more effectively. Finally, when the use of reflective practice is implemented schoolwide, it helps create a school culture that is focused on continuous improvement.

Two steps that school staff can take to increase teachers' use of reflective practice are for teachers to keep journals about their teaching experiences and to form faculty study teams. In the journals, teachers would make notes about classroom experiences, reflecting on practices that are working and those that are not working. Faculty study teams could consist of one or two teachers working together or all of the teachers in a grade level working together. Teams could target a particular aspect of teaching, such as classroom management or interdisciplinary instruction, and use a shared problem-solving approach to identify strategies that will promote improvement in the targeted area.

Keeping a journal would increase teachers' use of reflective practice by providing teachers with ongoing opportunities to examine their classroom experiences. As teachers develop the habit of regularly recording their thoughts about classroom experiences, reflection would become a routine part of their overall instructional practice. Faculty study teams would increase teachers' use of reflective practice by providing teachers with the opportunity to enrich their personal reflections through discussion and collaboration with peers who have different levels of knowledge and experience. Both steps help create a school culture in which reflection is an essential component of professional practice.

Performance Characteristics

Responses are scored holistically based on the following performance characteristics:

Purpose The extent to which the response fulfills the assignment
Professional Knowledge The extent to which the response accurately and effectively applies relevant professional knowledge
Rationale and Support The extent to which the response provides sound reasoning and relevant, specific support

Scoring Scale

The four points of the scoring scale correspond to varying degrees of performance.

Score Point Score Point Description
4
The "4" response reflects a thorough understanding of relevant knowledge and skills.
  • The response thoroughly fulfills the purpose of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates an accurate and effective application of the relevant professional knowledge.
  • The response reflects sound, effective reasoning and provides high-quality, relevant support.
3
The "3" response reflects a general understanding of relevant knowledge and skills.
  • The response largely fulfills the purpose of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates a generally accurate application of the relevant professional knowledge.
  • The response reflects adequate reasoning and provides general, relevant support.
2
The "2" response reflects a partial understanding of relevant knowledge and skills.
  • The response partially fulfills the purpose of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates a partially accurate application of the relevant professional knowledge.
  • The response reflects limited reasoning and provides limited and/or partially irrelevant support.
1
The "1" response reflects little understanding of relevant knowledge and skills.
  • The response fulfills little of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates an inaccurate and/or ineffective application of the relevant professional knowledge.
  • The response reflects poor reasoning and provides little or no relevant support.
U
The response is unrelated to the assignment, is unreadable, is primarily in a language other than English, or does not contain a sufficient amount of original work to score.
B
There is no response to the assignment.