Study Guide

Field 039: Reading (Subtest II)
Sample Constructed-Response Assignments

The following materials contain:

Directions for the Constructed-Response Assignments

For each constructed-response assignment in this section, you are to prepare a written response of approximately 150–200 words in the response-box on-screen. Read the assignments carefully before you begin to write. Think about how you will organize your responses. You may use the erasable sheets to make notes, write an outline, or otherwise prepare your responses. However, your score will be based solely on the version of your responses typed in the on-screen response box presented with each assignment.

Please note that special characters (such as letters with accents or other diacritical marks) cannot be entered using the keyboard but are available for insertion in the on-screen response box. To access these characters, click on the button that appears in the upper left corner of the screen. Using the mouse, click on the character you wish to include in your response and then select "Insert". The character will be inserted where the cursor is positioned in the response box.

Your response to each assignment will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Evaluation of each response will be based on the criteria above, not on your writing ability. Your responses, however, must be communicated clearly enough to permit a valid judgment of your knowledge and skills. Your responses should be written for an audience of educators in the field.

Your responses must be your original work, written in your own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work. You may not use any reference materials. Remember to review what you have written and make any changes you think will improve your responses. The final version of each response should conform to the conventions of edited American English.

Sample Constructed-Response Assignment #1

Use the information below to complete the assignment that follows.

Proficient readers apply various reading comprehension strategies to enhance their understanding of a text.

Sample Strong Response to Constructed-Response Assignment #1

   A good strategy for helping upper elementary or secondary students gain understanding of visual and graphic material in an informational text would be to have students work with a partner to develop questions about a particular chart or graph from an informational text. First, the teacher reviews the features and uses of different kinds of charts and graphs with the whole class. Then, the teacher divides the students into pairs and gives each pair a different chart or graph. The partners have to study the chart or graph and then write down as many questions as they can think of that could be answered based on the information conveyed in their chart or graph. They also make note of the answers. Afterward, each pair shares their chart or graph and their questions with the rest of the class and the class tries to answer the questions.

   This strategy promotes students' ability to use visual/graphic features of texts, such as charts and graphs, first by reinforcing their prior knowledge of these features (during the review) and then by setting a specific purpose for students' analysis of their assigned chart or graph (they must look for key facts that the chart or graph conveys in order to develop their questions). Finally, the last activity (looking at their classmates' charts and graphs and trying to answer their questions) provides the students with additional valuable practice in interpreting information from a chart or graph. This strategy supports students' reading comprehension because it encourages students to use the visual/graphic features of an informational text to help support their comprehension of the text, rather than to just skip over these features.

Sample Constructed-Response Assignment #2

Use the information below to complete the assignment that follows.

Students face a number of challenges when reading across the curriculum. A classroom teacher can help by developing students' reading skills that facilitate their comprehension of informational texts.

Sample Strong Response to Constructed-Response Assignment #2

   I would help students learn how to distinguish fact from opinion by using newspaper editorials. First, I would conduct a guided reading of some editorials to help students identify cue words and phrases that often indicate opinions (e.g., I believe, it seems to me, as everyone knows) and to prompt them to ask themselves questions like, "Is this statement verifiable? What resources could I use to verify this statement?" Next, I'd create a three-column chart on the board with the column headings Fact, Opinion, and Why. After numbering the sentences in a new sample editorial, we'd complete the chart together by deciding if each statement number goes in the Fact column or the Opinion column and then writing an explanation of why it's a fact or opinion in the Why column.

   This strategy would be effective in helping students distinguish fact from opinion because the guided reading activity provides them with some basic tools for identifying opinions and facts while the chart activity gives them the opportunity to apply this knowledge and to think critically about it by justifying why they think each statement is a fact or an opinion.

Performance Characteristics

Responses are scored holistically based on the following performance characteristics:

Purpose The extent to which the response achieves the purpose of the assignment
Content Knowledge The extent to which the response accurately and effectively applies the relevant content knowledge and skills
Support The extent to which the response provides relevant and specific support

Scoring Scale

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

Score Point Score Point Description
3
The "3" response reflects a thorough understanding of the relevant knowledge and skills.
  • The response thoroughly achieves the purpose of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates an accurate and effective application of relevant content knowledge.
  • The response provides relevant and specific support.
2
The "2" response reflects a general understanding of the relevant knowledge and skills.
  • The response largely achieves the purpose of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates a generally accurate and generally effective application of the relevant content knowledge.
  • The response provides some relevant support.
1
The "1" response reflects limited or no understanding of the relevant knowledge and skills.
  • The response partially achieves or fails to achieve the purpose of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates a limited, inaccurate or ineffective application of the relevant content knowledge.
  • The response provides limited 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.