Study Guide

Field 003: Assessment of Professional Knowledge:
Adolescence to Young Adult (7–12)
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

Mr. Wallace is a first-year teacher in a middle school. His fourth-period earth science class has 28 students who achieve at a range of levels, although nearly all of the students earn passing grades in this class. A few of the students read somewhat below grade level and sometimes struggle to comprehend the content in the textbook. Most of the students are eager learners and enjoy socializing with Mr. Wallace and with one another. In an effort to enhance students' achievement, Mr. Wallace has decided to implement cooperative learning as an instructional strategy.

Planning Steps

Mr. Wallace prepared several short, nongraded tasks for students' first cooperative learning experiences. He placed students in four groups of seven. The groups are homogeneous based on students' reading levels. Mr. Wallace designated one student in each group as group leader, except for the group of students reading at the lowest levels. He plans to lead this group himself. He explained to students that the purpose of cooperative learning is to work together to achieve a common goal and for every student to have a chance to participate and contribute to the group's final product. Mr. Wallace identified several possible roles within each group, including recorder, reporter, and fact checker.

The First Cooperative Learning Task

Mr. Wallace began by having students read a chapter on pollution in their textbooks. He then called out student groups, identified the leader for each group, and assigned the following task.

Excerpts from Mr. Wallace's Reflections on the First Cooperative Learning Task

Some groups took a long time with tasks like choosing a group member to take notes. There was quite a range in the quality of each group's responses... Some students did not interact well with one another; a few students laughed at their peers' ideas, resulting in some hurt feelings... Only one of the groups completed the entire task... The group leaders did not show the level of leadership I had expected. One of them dominated his group; another had trouble directing the group's discussion... The group I worked with seemed less enthusiastic than other groups.

Excerpts from Students' Journals

Margot: I really didn't get to talk. When James was through talking, our time was used up.

Jorge: I liked this activity! It was way more fun than doing stuff in books.

Chandra: I wish I could have been with my friends instead of in the group with the teacher.

Paul: I think our group would have finished if we had a timekeeper. We should add that to our list of roles next time.

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

Part One

Part Two

Write a response based on the elements of the case study above in which you:

Sample Strong Response to the Case Study Assignment

Part One

One approach Mr. Wallace took in planning the activity to try to promote students' ability to work productively in small groups was to foster a sense of teamwork among students by identifying possible roles for students to take within their groups. He also identified specific tasks for some of the roles, such as having the recorder take notes on the group's discussion and the reporter present the group's ideas to the class. This was a good approach to take because guiding students to take different roles in their group helps promote the interdependence that is an important element in successful cooperative learning experiences. When each student has a different role in a small-group assignment, it encourages shared responsibility among group members for the outcome of the assignment. This approach also helps ensure that each student participates actively by encouraging students to divide responsibilities somewhat evenly.

Part Two

One additional approach Mr. Wallace could have taken to improve students' ability to work productively in small groups is to form smaller groups of four or five students, ensuring that each group includes students with a mixture of abilities and interpersonal skills. Smaller groups would help reduce the time each group needs to come to consensus and would also provide more opportunities for individual students to participate in group discussions. By forming groups of students with diverse abilities and interpersonal skills, Mr. Wallace would structure the activity in a way that exposes students to a range of perspectives and that simulates more closely the real world. Heterogeneous groups would also help promote students' understanding of the importance of communication and collaboration when working in small groups.

Sample Work Product Assignment

Use the information below to complete the assignment that follows.

You are a new high school teacher. Your principal has asked you to serve on a faculty committee whose goal is to identify ways to increase faculty collaboration with the school library media specialist. Although the library media center has expanded its resources significantly in recent years, the library media specialist reports that many faculty members still do not take advantage of the resources that are available. Increased faculty collaboration with the library media specialist is a schoolwide goal for the following year.

Write a proposal to other members of the committee describing your ideas about the issue of faculty collaboration with the school library media specialist. Your response should:

Sample Strong Response to the Work Product Assignment

Collaboration between school faculty and the library media specialist is important because such collaboration ultimately benefits student learning. Increased collaboration with the library media specialist provides faculty with more opportunities to learn about resources and technologies and how to use the resources and technologies to enhance their instructional effectiveness. This collaboration also facilitates access to resources that faculty can use to address the particular learning needs of individual students or groups of students.

One step faculty members can take to increase collaboration with the library media specialist is to inform the library media specialist about the topics of specific projects that will be included in upcoming units. The library media specialist can then provide relevant information resources and services. Examples of these resources and services include bibliographies of materials on specific unit topics, training in the use of online databases for research, and direct instruction to students on the use of various information resources. This step is beneficial because it supports classroom instruction and enhances student learning during the unit. It also helps ensure that teachers and students have current and relevant information at a point of need.

Another step faculty members can take is to invite the library media specialist to participate in planning activities on a regular basis. By planning together, teachers and the library media specialist can design learning experiences that integrate content goals and information literacy skills. This step is beneficial because it allows the library media specialist to assist faculty in identifying information resources and skills that students will need to achieve a given learning goal. For example, students who are studying the history of their community may need to learn about primary sources or how to access and evaluate online information sources.

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.