Study Guide

Field 076: OPTE: 6–12
Sample Constructed-Response Assignments

The following materials contain:

Test Directions for the Constructed-Response Assignments

This section of the test consists of three performance assignments.

1) Managing the Learning Environment

2) Instruction for Students with Diverse Needs

3) Collaboration in the School Community

For each performance assignment, you are to prepare a written response of approximately 150–300 words. You should use your time to plan, write, review, and revise what you have written for the assignment.

Your written response is limited to 1000 words. Use the word count feature in the lower left-hand corner of the answer box to monitor the length of your response. If your response reaches the word limit, a pop-up warning window will appear. You may return to the answer box to edit your response, however, your response cannot exceed 1000 words.

Please read the directions to each assignment and respond as directed.

Read each assignment carefully before you begin to write. Think about how you will organize what you plan to write.

Your written responses will be evaluated based on the extent to which they demonstrate that you possess the knowledge and skills of teaching practice as defined by the Oklahoma Professional Teaching Examination (OPTE) framework. The framework describes professional knowledge and skills regarding learners and learning, instructional practice, and the professional environment. While assignments and responses may vary in the extent to which they address any particular aspect of each subarea of the OPTE test framework, as a whole the written response for the Managing the Learning Environment assignment must demonstrate an understanding of professional knowledge related to learners and learning; the written response for the Instruction for Students with Diverse Needs assignment must demonstrate an understanding of professional knowledge related to instructional practice; and the written response for the Collaboration in the School Community assignment must demonstrate an understanding of professional knowledge related to the professional environment.

Your responses to the performance assignments will be scored based on the following criteria:

The OPTE performance assignments are intended to assess professional teaching knowledge and skills, not writing ability. However, your responses must be communicated clearly enough to permit valid judgment of your professional knowledge and skills by scorers. You should present a thoughtful, reasonable response to each performance assignment, supported by details, examples, and descriptions. The performance assignment may present alternative points of view about an educational issue. Your score will be based on how effectively you use your professional knowledge to describe and support your position or point of view about a topic. There is no one "correct" or "best" answer.

The final version of each response should conform to the conventions of edited American English. Your responses should be your original work, written in your own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work. You may, however, use citations when appropriate.

Be sure to address the specific assignments and use multiple paragraphs. You may not use any reference materials during the test. Remember to review what you have written and make any changes that you think will improve your response before completing each performance assignment.

Sample Constructed-Response Assignment #1

Subarea I
Learners and Learning

Managing the Learning Environment Performance Assignment

Use the information below to complete the task that follows.

Learning Environment Goal:
Help students learn to work productively and cooperatively in groups.

Identify a grade level and subject area for which you are prepared to teach, and write a response of approximately 150–300 words in which you:

Sample Strong Response to Constructed-Response Assignment #1

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.

One factor that is important to consider when addressing the goal of helping students work productively and cooperatively in groups is the nature and complexity of the assigned task. For example, a task might have multiple components or several interim deadlines the group must meet. As part of the sixth-grade social studies curriculum, I will develop a group project that compares the major cultural regions of the Western Hemisphere. Each group will be assigned one cultural group, such as the Maya, Inca, or Inuit.

The strategy I would implement to help students work in groups is to provide students with a rubric for the project. The rubric would include each component of the project such as researching key facts about the assigned cultural group and constructing a map illustrating the cultural group's region and environment. The rubric would also include a suggested timeline for completing each component. The project would conclude with self- and peer-reflection.

Using this rubric would help break down the complexity of the task by listing each component of the project and suggested due date. This strategy makes the project more manageable by dividing it into smaller "chunks." The rubric provides a tool for helping students divide the work according to individual strengths. The parts of the project are interdependent which will help students work cooperatively. The students who are constructing the map need the information from the students who are conducting the initial research. The researchers must collect and convey relevant information to the mapmakers.

By monitoring each group's activities, I could anticipate some of the challenges students may face and help them develop a strategy or plan for addressing the challenge before they become overwhelmed and group processes break down. Helping students take a proactive approach in their work will help enhance their overall productivity and facilitate cooperation.

The reflection at the end of the project will prompt students to consider the contributions of each group member. This will help students evaluate how well they worked together and recognize what they can do as individuals to help their group be more productive in future assignments. By providing the rubric and reflection component as part of the project, students will have the structure they need to work productively and cooperatively on this and future projects.

Rationale for the Sample Strong Response

Please note that the response is evaluated based upon the four performance characteristics of Purpose, Appropriate Application of Professional Knowledge, Accurate and Effective Application of Professional Knowledge, and Elaboration of Professional Knowledge. Please also note how the score point descriptions are based upon how the writer 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 identifying one factor that is important to consider when addressing the goal of helping students learn to work productively and cooperatively in groups (i.e., the complexity of the task), describing one strategy related to the complexity of the task (i.e., using a rubric), and explaining why this strategy will help students work productively and cooperatively in groups. The writer begins the response by clearly identifying a grade level (i.e., sixth grade) and subject area (i.e., social studies). The response uses one specific assignment, comparing cultural regions of the Western Hemisphere, to demonstrate how using a rubric will break down the complexity of the task in order to help students learn to work productively and cooperatively in groups. The writer demonstrates a highly appropriate application of professional knowledge by using a rubric to break the project into manageable "chunks." By doing this, the writer improves the group's overall productivity and cooperation by removing potential anxiety that students could feel when beginning a new group project. In addition, the writer demonstrates an accurate understanding of current professional knowledge and practices by explaining how the rubric will allow each group member to work on the portion of the assignment that "highlights her strengths"; by doing this, the group will be more productive, as students are more apt to put forth their best effort when they are able to work on something where they can excel. The writer's response is well elaborated and uses effective examples. Overall, the writer has fulfilled the purpose of the assignment by showing how, when using a rubric appropriately, the teacher has set the students up to be successful in their groups as the rubric provides the requirements of the project, breaks the project into manageable "chunks," allows each member to highlight his or her strengths, and allows students to reflect on the project in order to improve their ability to work in groups in the future.

Sample Weak Response to Constructed-Response Assignment #1

I am prepared to teach 11th grade Chemistry. One factor that I would consider to help students learn to work productively and cooperatively in groups is to have clear cut roles in each group.

One strategy that I would implement to have clear cut roles in each group would be to have role cards with each role defined on it and have each student assigned to a role. Roles could include: timekeeper, task focuser, artist, scribe, leader, or presenter. I would go over every role with the class. The role cards would have sentence starters for each person to use.

By having clear cut roles for each person in the group, they are sure to work together productively and cooperatively. This will make group work more effective and organized.

Rationale for the Sample Weak Response

Please note that the response is evaluated based upon the four performance characteristics of Purpose, Appropriate Application of Professional Knowledge, Accurate and Effective Application of Professional Knowledge, and Elaboration of Professional Knowledge. Please also note how the score point descriptions are based upon how the writer 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 clearly identified a grade level (i.e., eleventh) and subject area (i.e., chemistry) in the first line of the response. The writer identifies the factor of "clear cut roles" and describes the strategy of providing "role cards" to address the goal of helping students learn to work productively and cooperatively in groups. The writer provides a partially appropriate application of professional knowledge by identifying six possible group roles (i.e., timekeeper, task focuser, artist, etc.), but does not provide any examples of what these roles are or what students would be required to do for each role. The writer states he or she would "go over every role with the class"; but the response is not generally effective in meeting the aims or goals of the performance assignment, as the writer does not state how or why this would help students realize the learning goal. The writer also says "sentence starters" would be provided, but again provides no examples to support this strategy. Lastly, the writer has attempted to respond to the given task, but does not address the final bullet of the assignment. The writer states that by "having clear cut roles for each person in the group, they are sure to work together productively and cooperatively." Unfortunately, the writer does not explain why this is true or how these roles would help students in realizing the learning goal. Overall, the response is not well elaborated and contains minimal supporting evidence.

Sample Constructed-Response Assignment #2

Subarea II
Instructional Practice

Instruction for Students with Diverse Needs Performance Assignment

Use the information below to complete the task that follows.

Mr. Nadal is a tenth-grade biology teacher whose sixth-period class includes 30 students. The class includes four students who have been identified as gifted and one student with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Most students read below grade level and find the reading that Mr. Nadal assigns in the biology textbook and journal articles to be challenging. He has weekly lab lessons in which students use microscopes and perform a wide range of experiments.

Mr. Nadal's class is participating in a unit on cells. He is planning a lesson in which students will read textbook information about the structure of cells and the function of their various internal structures and view three types of cells under the microscope. They will then create posters with a drawing or diagram of the cell with its structures labeled. As part of his planning process, Mr. Nadal is reviewing student performance data from a reading assessment administered at the end of the previous year and considering strategies for differentiating instruction to meet students' learning needs.

table

Citing evidence from the information provided, write a response of approximately 150–300 words in which you:

Sample Strong Response to Constructed-Response Assignment #2

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.

According to the assessment summary, a large number of students demonstrate weakness in the area of passage comprehension. Mr. Nadal's planned lesson relies heavily on written text for information. Since most of Mr. Nadal's students read below grade level, his students will find it challenging to comprehend the information from the textbook that provides the foundation for this lesson.

The first strategy Mr. Nadal should do is pre-teach the material. He should go over all new vocabulary, so students understand the new terms before encountering them on their own. By frontloading new vocabulary, the students who read below grade level will be more likely to understand instead of skipping over new terms as they read.

Another strategy for differentiating instruction is to provide students with a partially filled-in outline of the relevant textbook pages. Students would fill in the missing portions of the outline. This strategy provides scaffolding to help students identify important information in the text. The completed outline supports students' overall comprehension by providing them with a framework for organizing the information they read. This strategy is helpful for students who read below grade level as it removes their reading anxiety as the outline helps students focus on what they should learn.

Mr. Nadal should differentiate instruction for the student with autism. If this student has difficulties with written language, Mr. Nadal needs to modify the assignment so the material is accessible for the student. He could read the section aloud or find the section from the textbook on CD. By making the material accessible to this student, he or she will feel included in the class and will be able to understand the lesson on cells.

Finally, Mr. Nadal needs to differentiate instruction for his gifted students. It is likely these students do not have a problem with passage comprehension; however, to ensure they are challenged by the lesson, Mr. Nadal should have an extension activity for these students. This way, they are using higher order thinking skills to show their understanding of the passage.

By making these accommodations, Mr. Nadal is able to help make his lesson accessible for all of the different learning levels and needs in his classroom.

Rationale for the Sample Strong Response

Please note that the response is evaluated based upon the four performance characteristics of Purpose, Appropriate Application of Professional Knowledge, Accurate and Effective Application of Professional Knowledge, and Elaboration of Professional Knowledge. Please also note how the score point descriptions are based upon how the writer 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 identifying a specific learning need (i.e., passage comprehension), describing a strategy for differentiating instruction to address the learning need (i.e., frontloading new vocabulary and providing a partially filled-in outline for the reading), and explaining why the strategy would be effective. The writer demonstrates an accurate understanding of current professional knowledge and practices by addressing all three bullets of the performance assignment. The writer has identified an appropriate learning need in the first sentence of the response (i.e., passage comprehension) and has accurately and effectively described four appropriate strategies for differentiating instruction for the identified need. For instance, the writer shows that by frontloading the new vocabulary, the writer has met the needs of the students in the class who read below grade level by helping students understand the new terms before they encounter them on their own. In addition, the writer provides a partially filled-in outline to help scaffold the reading. This strategy demonstrates an understanding of current professional knowledge and practices as the outline will help guide students' reading, especially those who read below grade level, and will help students identify key information in the text. The writer continues to demonstrate an accurate understanding of current professional knowledge and practices by explaining that Mr. Nadal needs to modify his instruction for the student with autism and for the four gifted students in his class. The writer provides high-quality examples and strong supporting evidence as he or she explains two appropriate ways to differentiate instruction for these students (i.e., reading the text aloud and providing an extension activity). By taking into consideration the various learning needs in Mr. Nadal's classroom, the writer shows an understanding of differentiation and succinctly explains how Mr. Nadal can modify the lesson on cells to best meet the needs of all students.

Sample Weak Response to Constructed-Response Assignment #2

Looking at the reading assessment results, it is evident that passage comprehension is a specific learning need for the students in Mr. Nadal's 10th grade Biology class.

Looking at Mr. Nadal's lesson plan, the students in his class are likely to have a problem with reading the textbook information about the structure of cells and their functions. In order to differentiate instruction, Mr. Nadal should not have students read this information on their own for the first time. He should first frontload the material by passing out a vocabulary list that contains the new vocabulary that will be used in that section of the text. This list can have the terms defined and Mr. Nadal can go over the terms before the students read the material on their own. Once Mr. Nadal feels the students have an understanding of the new vocabulary, he can let them read the new material on their own.

This will help students with passage comprehension because they won't need to look up new terms, they will be able to access them on their vocabulary list.

Rationale for the Sample Weak Response

Please note that the response is evaluated based upon the four performance characteristics of Purpose, Appropriate Application of Professional Knowledge, Accurate and Effective Application of Professional Knowledge, and Elaboration of Professional Knowledge. Please also note how the score point descriptions are based upon how the writer 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 makes an attempt to address all three bullets of the performance assignment. The writer does accurately identify a learning need (i.e., passage comprehension) in the first sentence of the response, demonstrating an ability to interpret the given data table. The writer provides a partially appropriate response in describing one strategy for differentiating instruction. The writer states Mr. Nadal should frontload the new terms by creating a "vocabulary list" which "can" have the definitions on it. Frontloading is an effective strategy for differentiation; however, the writer does not distinguish which group of students will receive this added scaffolding. If Mr. Nadal is going to frontload the material for the whole class, the writer has not shown an understanding of differentiation. The response is not generally effective in meeting the aims or goals stated in the performance assignment. While the writer gives an effective strategy to meet the learning need of passage comprehension, the response is lacking in that the writer does not explicitly state how differentiation will occur in this classroom, nor does the writer give an adequate explanation as to why the strategy would be effective. Overall, the writer has provided a response that is not well elaborated and contains minimal supporting evidence.

Sample Constructed-Response Assignment #3

Subarea III
The Professional Environment

Collaboration in the School Community Performance Assignment

Use the information below to complete the task that follows.

Great Plains High School serves approximately 1,400 students in grades nine through twelve. Approximately 38% of the students at Great Plains High qualify for free or reduced-price meals, 26% are English language learners, and nearly 16% have an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

As part of an effort to ensure that all students are college and career ready, Great Plains High is considering implementing a service learning program at all grade levels. The school has made it a priority to provide students with learning experiences that will help prepare them for their future, and they recently conducted a survey to gather information about families' perceptions in this area.

table

Citing evidence from the information provided, write a response of approximately 150–300 words in which you:

Sample Strong Response to Constructed-Response Assignment #3

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.

Great Plains High School recently conducted a family survey that revealed only fifty-five percent of families believe the school provides students with opportunities to interact with professionals in various fields. This suggests the school may not be doing all it can to ensure that students have experiences that will prepare them for the workplace.

The first action I would take to engage members of the school community would be to create a team made up of department colleagues, students, and representatives from community organizations to identify, plan, and implement a service learning project. I would make sure the Special Education teacher and the English as a Second Language teacher were key members of the team. Great Plains High has a large number of English language learners and students with IEPs, so the input from these teachers would be invaluable.

Second, as a team, we would identify needs within the community for service learning projects. Some of these needs could include: a need for a play area for children who live in a local shelter, after school tutors for young students, or helping maintain a local community garden.

Once the service learning projects are developed, I'd bring in community members to help complete the project and utilize their expertise. For the play area example, students would need to work with education professionals, architects, and landscape artists to design a play area that is developmentally appropriate, structurally sound, and aesthetically pleasing. At a minimum I would make sure that four different community experts in the chosen areas address each group of students. The same experts would also be involved in actually implementing the project, so students would have contact with them throughout the year.

By nature, a service learning project will require students to interact with professionals in the fields relevant to each project. Professionals in these areas would provide students with expertise and guidance as they design and implement the project. Since Great Plains High is planning on implementing a service learning program at all grade levels, all students would have more opportunities to interact with professionals from a variety of fields, thereby helping prepare them for their future endeavors.

Rationale for the Sample Strong Response

Please note that the response is evaluated based upon the four performance characteristics of Purpose, Appropriate Application of Professional Knowledge, Accurate and Effective Application of Professional Knowledge, and Elaboration of Professional Knowledge. Please also note how the score point descriptions are based upon how the writer 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 identifying one issue revealed by the survey (i.e., 55% of families believe the school provides students with opportunities to interact with professionals in various fields), describing one action to engage members of the school community (i.e., creating a team of school and community members to implement a service learning project), and explaining how these actions would be effective in providing students with learning experiences that will help them prepare for their future while providing opportunities for students to interact with professionals in various fields while attending Great Plains High School. The writer has demonstrated an appropriate application of professional knowledge by identifying an appropriate, specific issue in the first line of the essay. The response contains high-quality examples as the writer describes, in detail, how he or she would engage members of the school community (i.e., department colleagues, students, and community representatives) to increase student contact with professionals in various fields. The writer specifically explains that students will have contact with a minimum of four community experts during the course of a yearlong service learning project. By having contact with these community experts, students will have increased contact with professionals in various fields and will be involved with more learning experiences, all of which will help prepare them for their future plans. Overall, this writer has provided an effective response, which meets the aims and goals of the performance assignment.

Sample Weak Response to Constructed-Response Assignment #3

The survey conducted by Great Plains High School shows that parents feel the school does not provide students with opportunities to interact with professionals in various fields.

In order to engage members of the school community in addressing the above issue, the school could put a service learning program into place at all grade levels. Each grade level could focus on a different field, so by the time students graduate, they will have increased their contact with professionals in at least four fields. For instance, the freshmen class could focus on technology. So the freshmen teachers could work together as a freshmen team to brainstorm, design, and implement a service learning project (maybe last period of the day for all students) where technology professionals come to the school once a week to speak to freshmen classes. These could be computer technicians, web designers, etc. If the professional spoke to all freshmen classes, by the time they graduate from Great Plains High, the students will have greatly increased their contact with different professionals in the area.

Rationale for the Sample Weak Response

Please note that the response is evaluated based upon the four performance characteristics of Purpose, Appropriate Application of Professional Knowledge, Accurate and Effective Application of Professional Knowledge, and Elaboration of Professional Knowledge. Please also note how the score point descriptions are based upon how the writer 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 accurately identified an issue revealed by the survey, showing an ability to interpret the data table (i.e., parents feel the school does not provide students with opportunities to interact with professionals in various fields); however, the writer's identification of an issue is less specific than the strong response, as this response does not identify the percentage from the family survey. The response is not generally effective in meeting the aims or goals of the performance assignment. The action this writer would take to engage members of the school community would be to "put a service learning program into place at all grade levels;" however, the writer does not describe how he or she would engage members of the school community. Moreover, the writer does not address the third bullet of the performance assignment, failing to explain why this action would be effective. Overall, the writer has attempted to respond to the given task, but the response is not well elaborated and contains few effective examples with minimal supporting evidence.

OPTE 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 candidate fulfills the purpose of the specific constructed-response module by responding to all elements of the specific performance assignment in an appropriate manner.
Appropriate Application of
Professional Knowledge
The extent to which the candidate provides an appropriate application of current professional knowledge and practices, as defined in the subarea of the OPTE test framework relevant to the specific performance assignment.
Accurate and Effective
Application of Professional
Knowledge
The extent to which the candidate presents an accurate and effective application of current professional knowledge and practices that is focused in the appropriate subarea of the OPTE test framework and addresses the learning goal, specific learning need, or professional situation presented in the specific performance assignment.
Elaboration of Professional Knowledge The extent to which the candidate offers elaboration upon statements, assertions, positions, professional opinions, etc. through the use of supporting details, examples, and descriptions relevant to the specific performance assignment and appropriate subarea of the OPTE test framework.

OPTE 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 The "4" response reflects a thorough understanding of current professional knowledge and practices, as described in the subarea of the OPTE test framework relevant to the constructed-response module.
  • The response completely fulfills the purpose of the assignment by responding fully to the given task.
  • The response provides a highly appropriate application of professional knowledge that is relevant to the subarea of the OPTE test framework being assessed.
  • The response demonstrates an accurate understanding of current professional knowledge and practices, and is very effective in meeting the aims or goals stated in the performance assignment.
  • Information presented within the response is well elaborated through the use of high-quality examples and strong supporting evidence.
3 The "3" response reflects a general understanding of current professional knowledge and practices, as described in the subarea of the OPTE test framework relevant to the constructed-response module.
  • The response fulfills the purpose of the assignment by responding generally to the given task.
  • The response provides an appropriate application of professional knowledge that is relevant to the subarea of the OPTE test framework being assessed.
  • The response demonstrates a generally accurate understanding of current professional knowledge and practices, and is effective in meeting the aims or goals stated in the performance assignment.
  • Information presented within the response is elaborated through the use of some effective examples and supporting evidence.
2 The "2" response reflects a partial understanding of current professional knowledge and practices, as described in the subarea of the OPTE test framework relevant to the constructed-response module.
  • The response partially fulfills the purpose of the assignment by attempting to respond to the given task.
  • The response provides a partially appropriate application of professional knowledge, with some relevance to the subarea of the OPTE test framework being assessed.
  • The response may contain some significant inaccuracies in its understanding of current professional knowledge and practices, and is not generally effective in meeting the aims or goals stated in the performance assignment.
  • Information presented within the response is not well elaborated, containing few effective examples and minimal supporting evidence.
1 The "1" response reflects little or no understanding of current professional knowledge and practices, as described in the subarea of the OPTE test framework relevant to the constructed-response module.
  • The response does not fulfill the purpose of the assignment.
  • The response provides an inappropriate and/or irrelevant application of professional knowledge in terms of the subarea of the OPTE test framework being assessed.
  • The response demonstrates a largely inaccurate understanding of current professional knowledge and practices, and is ineffective in meeting the aims or goals stated in the performance assignment.
  • The response contains very little effective elaboration, with few, if any, effective examples and little, if any, supporting evidence.
U The response is unscorable because it is illegible, not written to the assigned topic, written in a language other than English, or is lacking a sufficient amount of original work to score.
B The written response form is blank.