Study Guide

Field 012: Physical Education/Health/Safety 
Sample Constructed-Response Assignment

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Test Directions for the Constructed-Response Assignment

This section of the test consists of one constructed-response assignment. You are to prepare a written response of approximately 300600 words on the assigned topic. You should use your time to plan, write, review, and edit your response to the assignment.

Read the assignment carefully before you begin to write. Think about how you will organize your response.

As a whole, your response must demonstrate an understanding of the knowledge and skills of the field. In your response to the assignment, you are expected to demonstrate the depth of your understanding of the content area through your ability to apply your knowledge and skills rather than merely to recite factual information.

Your response to the assignment will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

 start bold PURPOSE: end bold  the extent to which the response achieves the purpose of the assignment
 start bold SUBJECT MATTER KNOWLEDGE: end bold  accuracy and appropriateness in the application of subject matter knowledge
 start bold SUPPORT: end bold  quality and relevance of supporting details
 start bold RATIONALE: end bold  soundness of argument and degree of understanding of the subject matter

The constructed-response assignment is intended to assess subject matter knowledge and skills, not writing ability. However, your response must be communicated clearly enough to permit valid judgment of the scoring criteria. Your response should be written for an audience of educators in this field. The final version of your response should conform to the conventions of edited American English. Your written response must be your original work, written in your own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work.

Be sure to write about the assigned topic. You may not use any reference materials during the test. Remember to review what you have written and make any changes you think will improve your response.

Sample Constructed-Response Assignment

subarea roman numeral 3 
Motor Skills and Movement Activities

 start bold Use the information below to complete the exercise that follows. end bold 

A physical educator is beginning an instructional unit on basketball that will consist of eight one-hour meetings with a class of about 20 students.

Using your knowledge of motor skills and movement activities, write an essay in which you:

Sample Strong Response to the Constructed-Response Assignment

 start bold Please note: The sample response provided below is for review purposes only and should not be used in a response on an operational exam. Use of the exact words and phrases presented in this sample response will result in a score of "U" (Unscorable) due to lack of original work. end bold 

A fourth- or fifth-grade instructional unit on basketball should address basic dribbling, passing, and shooting skills, using a variety of techniques such as drills, partner work, and modified games. At the elementary level, a half-court or modified court is often used, and the basket rim is typically lowered from regulation height.

The critical elements of dribbling include bouncing a ball with control, using either hand to dribble, and keeping the ball between waist and knee level while dribbling. The player should position the ball slightly in front of the body, with the nondribbling hand protecting the ball. The dribbling hand should contact the ball with the pads of spread fingers and push or propel the ball with a light touch, while the student maintains a flexible wrist. The student should keep the head up while dribbling. One common error is slapping or hitting the ball instead of pushing it; students should be encouraged to use a "light touch" to correct this tendency. Another common error is looking down at the ball. Students should be reminded to keep their heads up so that they will be able to find and pass to open teammates and avoid defensive players in a game situation. Having students shadow the movements of a leader while dribbling is an effective way to encourage students to look up. An appropriate sequence of activities for developing ball control and dribbling skills would be bouncing a ball while standing still, dribbling the length of the gym, dribbling around cones, changing speeds while dribbling (e.g., dribbling while walking, trotting, running), and playing dribble tag.

A two-handed chest pass is used as an outlet pass following a rebound or steal, when passing the ball in from out of bounds, or when moving downcourt and passing off a dribble. Critical elements in performing a chest pass include holding the ball close to the chest directly in front of the body and placing the fingers of both hands on opposite sides of the ball with the thumbs in back, parallel to each other. The elbows should point outward to protect the ball but remain close to the body. The student should extend both arms and step forward with one leg toward the receiver. Weight is transferred forward as the arms extend fully, and the wrists are snapped on release. The eyes should remain focused on the target (receiver's chest). The chest pass should be practiced first without a ball and then with a ball against chest-high wall targets: with a stationary partner, with a partner moving toward the passer (opposing line drill), and finally with a partner moving down the court with the passer. Bounce passes with partners can also be incorporated into the sequence of instructional activities. One common error in executing chest passes is improper hand position on the ball; this can be corrected by reminding students to rotate their fingers upward as the pass is thrown. Another common error is failure to transfer weight forward for momentum. Students should be reminded to take one step forward in the direction of the pass.

Instruction in shooting should include the essentials of a set shot. Proper form includes placing the shooting forearm parallel to the floor with the elbow bent to form an L and the ball resting lightly on the tips of the fingers with the wrist flexed back. The guide hand should be placed on the side of the ball. Motion starts with a flexion and extension of the legs. The ball should be raised from waist level to a release at head level, with the palm of the shooting hand facing the backboard. The shot is completed by extending the shooting arm from the elbow and flexing the wrist downward, forming a "goose neck" on the follow-through. Proper form should be taught first without the ball. When a ball is added, the "shot" can be taken between partners or against wall targets so that students are able to practice form before accuracy. Gradually, targets and baskets can be added. Shooting drills in which students form lines and take turns shooting can be used, with shots taken close to the basket and then farther away. Introducing bank shots from the side can be used, emphasizing use of the rectangle on the backboard as a target. Repetitive shots from certain spots on the court also provide valuable practice. Common errors in executing the set shot include not bending the knees sufficiently to generate force and lurching and lunging during the shot. Students should be encouraged to flex and extend the legs to achieve maximum force and a smooth trajectory. Another error is not having the elbow under the ball. This can be corrected by having students keep their thumb and little finger close to the same seam line on the basketball. Another common error is jerking the shooting arm back after the shot. This can be corrected by having students wave "good-bye" to their shot, holding the follow-through until the ball reaches the target.

Rationale for the Sample Strong Response

Please note that the response is evaluated based upon the four performance characteristics of Purpose, Subject Matter Knowledge, Support, and Rationale. Please also note how the score point descriptions are based upon how the examinee attends to the performance characteristics. You should be very familiar with the CEOE performance characteristics and score scale and refer to them when reviewing this rationale.

The response fulfills the purpose of the assignment (refer to the instructions for the assignment) by specifying a grade level (i.e., fourth or fifth grade), describing three basketball skills (i.e., dribbling, passing, and shooting), identifying common errors associated with each skill and strategies for correcting each error, and describing a sequence of activities for developing each skill. Note how the writer succinctly addresses the first bullet in the very first sentence of the response. The writer also specifies accommodations for basketball that are used for this age group. The response reflects a thorough knowledge and understanding of basketball. For instance, the writer accurately describes three basketball skills (i.e., dribbling, passing, and shooting) that should be included in the unit. The writer uses sound supporting evidence as he or she describes the critical elements of each of the identified skills. For instance, the writer explains that the critical elements of dribbling include "bouncing a ball with control, using either hand to dribble, and keeping the ball between waist and knee level." The writer goes on to describe, in detail, how the hand should contact the ball. The response then provides an appropriate application of subject matter knowledge as the writer explains two common errors associated with dribbling and explains suitable strategies for correcting each error. For example, the writer states that one common error is "looking down at the ball" while dribbling. To correct this error the writer provides two specific strategies, including shadowing the "movements of a leader" and reminding students "to keep their heads up" while dribbling. Lastly, the writer provides a comprehensive understanding of the topic as he or she describes an appropriate, detailed sequence of activities for developing the skill of dribbling. The writer follows this comprehensive approach as he or she describes the same elements (i.e., explaining the critical elements, identifying common errors, describing strategies to correct each error, and describing a sequence of activities for developing each skill) for instructing students on how to pass and how to shoot a basketball. Overall, this writer has demonstrated an ably reasoned, comprehensive understanding of the topic.

Sample Weak Response to the Constructed-Response Assignment

Teaching basketball to sixth and seventh grade students could be a difficult task. Assuming students have not played basketball in the past, the teacher should start at the beginning. This means the teacher needs to explain to students how the game works, what the rules are, and what the basics are for playing. In particular, the physical educator should begin with teaching students the basics of basketball; including: how to dribble the ball, pass the ball, and make a basket.

The first skill students need to learn is how to dribble the ball. The teacher should first demonstrate what dribbling the ball looks like. Dribbling the ball would include bouncing a ball, but not bouncing the ball higher than one's waist. To dribble the ball the students should keep the ball in front of them, use only one hand, and keep their head up. Students should be able to bounce the ball without looking at it. This is the biggest error with dribbling. Students tend to look at the ball when they are dribbling it. The best way to correct this problem is practice, practice, practice! The teacher can first allow students to learn to dribble while looking at the ball. Then the teacher can gradually tell students to stop looking at the ball and practice walking with the ball while dribbling, so they have to look where they are going. By first dribbling in place, then walking, students will slowly master their dribbling skills.

There are many different ways to pass a basketball. The best way for this grade level would be to teach students to use a two-handed chest pass. To do this, students need to hold the ball in front of their body, close to their chest. Students should point their elbows outward to protect the ball. A common error with this skill is that students try to pass the ball using only one hand. To correct this, the teacher should remind students to use two hands and the teacher should model how to pass the ball using two hands. The best way to learn how to pass a ball is to practice. There are many ways to practice; the teacher should have students work in pairs and practice passing the ball from one student to another.

The last skill students need to learn is how to make a basket. If students do not learn how to make a basket, they will not be able to win a basketball game! Learning to make a basket is probably the most fun part of basketball, but it can be very challenging. The teacher can model how to shoot the ball using proper form; the teacher should show how to bend the legs and how to hold their hands above their head. Then the instructor can have students practice while she helps correct their form, working one-on-one with students. After a lot of practice, the teacher can have students practice shooting drills, so that everyone learns to make a basket.

After students have mastered these three skills they will be ready to play a real game of basketball!

Rationale for the Sample Weak Response

Please note that the response is evaluated based upon the four performance characteristics of Purpose, Subject Matter Knowledge, Support, and Rationale. Please also note how the score point descriptions are based upon how the examinee attends to the performance characteristics. You should be very familiar with the CEOE performance characteristics and score scale and refer to them when reviewing this rationale.

The purpose of this assignment (refer to the instructions for the assignment) is only partially achieved. The writer has specified a grade level (i.e., sixth and seventh grade) for which the instructional unit on basketball is being developed. The writer then attempts to describe three basketball skills (i.e., how to dribble the ball, pass the ball, and make a basket) that should be included in the unit. The writer identifies three important skills; however, the explanation for the critical elements of performance for each of these skills is lacking. The explanation for how to dribble a ball is fairly strong; unfortunately, the explanation for how to make a basket is weak. For instance, to dribble the ball, the writer explains that students should not dribble the ball "higher than one's waist" and should "keep the ball in front of them," "use only one hand," and "keep their head up." Each of these four examples are appropriate and are critical elements for dribbling. On the other hand, when it comes to making a basket, the writer states the teacher should show students "how to bend the legs" and "how to hold their hands above their head." These two examples demonstrate a poorly reasoned understanding of how to make a basket, as the writer does not explain what the proper stance is for making a basket. The writer does identify a common error for each of the three skills; however, the strategies to correct each skill are inappropriate or weak. For each skill, the writer states that students should "practice" to correct the errors, but the rationale for how the strategy of "practice" will help students is limited and contains few relevant examples. Lastly, the writer fails to describe a sequence of activities for developing each skill, leaving out a response to the fourth bullet entirely. Overall, this response demonstrates a limited understanding of how to teach basketball to sixth and seventh grade students.

Performance Characteristics

The following characteristics guide the scoring of responses to the constructed-response assignment.

Characteristics that guide the scoring of responses
Purpose The extent to which the response achieves the purpose of the assignment
Subject Matter Knowledge Accuracy and appropriateness in the application of subject matter knowledge
Support Quality and relevance of supporting details
Rationale Soundness of argument and degree of understanding of the subject matter

Scoring Scale

Scores will be assigned to each response to the constructed-response assignment according to the following scoring scale.

Score Scale with description for each score point.
Score Point Score Point Description
4  start bold The "4" response reflects a thorough knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. end bold 
  • The purpose of the assignment is fully achieved.
  • There is a substantial, accurate, and appropriate application of subject matter knowledge.
  • The supporting evidence is sound; there are high-quality, relevant examples.
  • The response reflects an ably reasoned, comprehensive understanding of the topic.
3  start bold The "3" response reflects a general knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. end bold 
  • The purpose of the assignment is largely achieved.
  • There is a generally accurate and appropriate application of subject matter knowledge.
  • The supporting evidence generally supports the discussion; there are some relevant examples.
  • The response reflects a general understanding of the topic.
2  start bold The "2" response reflects a partial knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. end bold 
  • The purpose of the assignment is partially achieved.
  • There is a limited, possibly inaccurate or inappropriate application of subject matter knowledge.
  • The supporting evidence is limited; there are few relevant examples.
  • The response reflects a limited, poorly reasoned understanding of the topic.
1  start bold The "1" response reflects little or no knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. end bold 
  • The purpose of the assignment is not achieved.
  • There is little or no appropriate or accurate application of subject matter knowledge.
  • The supporting evidence, if present, is weak; there are few or no relevant examples.
  • The response reflects little or no reasoning about or understanding of the topic.
U The response is unscorable because it is illegible, not written to the assigned topic, written in a language other than English, or lacking a sufficient amount of original work to score.
B There is no response to the assignment.