Study Guide

Field 105: Early Childhood Education 
Sample Constructed-Response Assignment

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The following materials contain:

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 300–600 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:

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

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

Use the data provided to complete the task that follows.

Excerpt from Running Record and Comprehension

Student: Joshua Age: 8 years, 6 months
Text: Wingwalker
Lexile® Level: 650L Word Count: 115 words
Score: Number of Errors: 7 Accuracy Rate: 93%

Suddenly out of nowhere the dust storms came up. Dust blew through the closed windows of all, circled, the houses. It blew into the ears of dogs and the farmers' trouser, circled, cuffs. Little by little our green prairies turned the color of meal crackers. Dust devils blew around your ankles, double vertical lines, peevishly, with circled T above, for no reason in the world. Mothers complained, with said written above, that nothing could be kept, circled, clean for more than a minute. The corn, double vertical lines, shriveled, with circled T above, in the fields. No one wanted to learn to dance that year. Not many people came to eat at the Lariat, circled, Café. First my father lost his job. Then my mother lost hers. The dust blew away people's work and all their life savings.

Key:

Comprehension Student Response Score

Identify setting

CR: Oklahoma 1933

SR: Oklahoma in the early 1900's

NR    1    2    3    circled4

Identify main character(s)

CR: Rueben is a young boy and is the narrator.

SR: The narrator is the main character. His name is Rueben.

NR    1    2    3    circled4

Sequence events (beginning, middle, end)

CR: Dust storms start very quickly and come and blow dust everywhere. The people have to get inside and stay out of the storm. Dust coats everything. Afterwards the people clean up their homes, farms, and towns.

SR: The dust storm comes & blows dust everywhere.

NR    circled1    2    3    4

Problem/solution

CR: [Accept any problem and solution that the characters dealt with in the story that is explained clearly.]

SR: The dust causes damage, makes a mess, and causes people to lose their things, their jobs, and even their house.

NR    1    2    3    circled4

Make connections

CR: [Accept any reasonable connection.]

SR: I've never seen a dust storm but I've been to the beach on a really windy day and when the sand blows it hurts your skin.

NR    1    2    3    circled4

Make a prediction

CR: [Accept any reasonable prediction.]

SR: Maybe people will clean up the towns and be able to go back to normal.

NR    1    2    3    circled4

Student Writing Sample

Name: Joshua
Date: 11/12

Do you know what I do in school everday? Well in the beginning of the day I do DEAR time, anmoncemnts, and reserch repors. In the middle of the day I do card sorys, reading grops, and luch and resess. In the end fo the day I do asessmnts, math and science. Those are thethings I do at school everyday.

In the beginning of the day we read lots of books in our clasroom. That is DEAR time. Then the prinsipel goes on the anmoncemnts and tell us that DEAR time is over. Last we do research reports reports are fun to do everyday now and than. We get a big pease of paper that we have to do and we do all of it. I like to work with my friend Sammy on research repors.

In the mibble of the day I do reading grops and luch and resess. They are the best. I like to read when I can read books about cars and airplains and rokets and space.

My favrit thing is science. It is the best. We do expreimnts and make things. We learnt about hypothasizing and rekording your obsrvashions when doing expreimnts. I thing I want to be a scientist when I grow up.

Listening Comprehension—Story Retelling Inventory

Student: Joshua
Grade: Third
Title: Poppy (Chapters 1–3)
Lexile® Level: 670L

Scoring:

NR: No response

1: With prompting (P); incomplete or incorrect response

2: With minimal prompting (p); limited but correct response

3: No prompting; correct response

inventory number Did the retelling: NR 1 2 3 Comments
1. state where and when the story takes place? blank blank blank checkmark the woods
2. name the character(s)? blank blank blank checkmark Poppy, her boyfriend, Ragweed, Mr. Ocax the owl, and the other mice
3. state a problem faced by a character(s) in the story? blank blank checkmark blank Ragweed and Poppy sneak out and Mr. Ocax attacks and kills Ragweed. (p) Poppy wants to leave and go to the New House away from Mr. Ocax.
4. tell how the problem was solved? blank blank checkmark blank Poppy asks her father to help her convince Mr. Ocax to let them leave.
5. identify supporting details? blank blank checkmark blank Mr. Ocax tries to scare the mice with stories of porcupines.
6. identify the sequence of events/actions in order? blank checkmark blank blank (P) Mr. Ocax kills Ragweed and then the mice decide they have to leave and move to the New House.
7. make sense in an organized manner? blank checkmark blank blank (P) [see notes]
8. tell some surprising, interesting, or unexpected detail? blank blank blank checkmark I was surprised that Ragweed died right at the beginning of the story.

Notes: Joshua needed frequent prompts to recall the sequence of story events from the beginning of the story.

Oral Reading Fluency Table

Oral reading fluency score (words correct per minute) is compared to grade-level benchmarks. Three dimensions of oral reading are assigned a holistic score of 1–4, with 4 representing the highest score for that dimension.

Student Name: Joshua Date: 9/12 Grade:3rd
Indicator Score
Words correct per minute 80 wcpm
Accuracy 70%
Smoothness 2
Phrasing 3
Rate/Pace 2

NOTES:

3rd grade 50th percentile.

Fall benchmark is 71 wcpm.

Write an analysis of approximately 300–600 words in which you analyze the data provided.

Using your knowledge of communication, language, and literacy development and citing evidence from the exhibits provided, write a response in which you:

Sample Strong Response to the Constructed-Response Assignment

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.

Joshua's numerous spelling errors in the Student Writing Sample and his scores on the Oral Reading Fluency Table (accuracy 70%, smoothness 2/4, and rate/pace 2/4) show remediation needs.

Spelling development progresses through stages: Pre-communicative scribbles; semi-phonetic random letters and some letter-sound correspondence; phonetic spelling using letters that represent every speech sound heard in a word; transitional spelling moving away from relying on sounds in words to assimilating common letter patterns in words; and finally conventional or correct spelling. Joshua is still in the phonetic spelling stage. He wrote "prinsipel" for "principal" and "hypothasizing and rekording" for "hypothesizing and recording." He needs direct instruction to help move him through the spelling stages.

Although Joshua is above the benchmark of 71 words correct per minute, he needs to work on accuracy, smoothness, and rate/pace in his oral reading. When reading fluently, one recognizes words automatically and gains meaning from what they read. They read aloud effortlessly and with expression. Joshua needs explicit instruction on ways to become a fluent reader.

One instructional strategy for spelling instruction is word study. I will strategically place Joshua in a small group of students with similar needs for targeted instruction. Instruction will be deliberately sequenced in order to increase Joshua's progression through spelling stages. The students will become word detectives and discover word patterns and generalizations through word study. We will compare and contrast words. For example, Joshua wrote "pease" for "piece." This is an opportunity to learn about when to use "ea" in words and "ie" in words. The students will have words written on cards, such as "piece, niece, peach, peace." How are they similar and different? Joshua will read the word aloud, sort the card in the appropriate column, and then self-check by reading all of the sorted word cards. Joshua will write the words in his spelling notebook.

This strategy is important because word study is an alternative to traditional spelling instruction, which often is based on random memorization of words. It is a cohesive approach that addresses reading, spelling, and writing. Word study promotes proficiency in literacy development by allowing students to investigate patterns in words. It is more meaningful to students to learn a pattern, which will help them spell many words, rather than memorizing random words for a spelling test.

A strategy to address Joshua's fluency needs is Reader's Theater. I will explain that we want to read just like we speak; not too fast or too slow, not choppy word-by-word reading, using expression and intonation. After I read the Reader's Theater script aloud and model fluent reading, the students will echo read, followed by choral reading, and finally individual reading aloud. Reader's Theater does not require students to memorize their lines, only reading their parts aloud. I will teach students how to provide helpful feedback to others and pair up students to practice. For example, did your partner read smoothly? Did your partner read with expression? Was the reading too loud or too quiet? We will practice for several days and then perform for the class. I will record the students' final performance and we will use it as a way to self-critique their reading fluency.

This strategy is important because it provides repeated readings, which increases fluency. It requires active involvement and increases comprehension. Reader's Theater promotes proficiency in fluency through rereading to aid in accuracy, smoothness, and rate/pace. It is an engaging way to practice reading. Recording the final performance is a way to help students monitor their own fluency. It is developmentally appropriate and is an effective strategy for fluency.

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.

Purpose: The purpose of the assignment is fully achieved. Each part of the assignment is answered with detailed information for all of the tasks in the assignment. The response thoroughly addressed the assignment.

Subject Matter Knowledge: The response reflects an understanding of how to interpret literacy assessments, describe evidence-based strategies to address the student's needs, and explains why the strategies would be effective. The strategies are appropriate for the grade level and age of the student in the assignment.

Support: The response provides high-quality, relevant examples. The supporting details explain the writer's instructional strategies clearly and provide evidence of understanding of early literacy.

Rationale: The response explains why the examples provided support the relevant points made and why the instructional strategies would be effective.

Overall, this response thoroughly answered all parts of the assignment. The response demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of how to interpret assessments accurately and described instructional strategies that are targeted for the student's needs. The response used examples to support assertions and the writer explained why the strategies would be effective using current evidence-based knowledge.

Sample Weak Response to the Constructed-Response Assignment

After examining Joshua's exhibits, it is clear that he has needs in literacy and comprehension. The Running Record and Comprehension excerpt shows that he omitted several words and needed the teacher to tell him two words. He also could not sequence events. The Story Retell shows that he was close on a lot of the questions. So, building off of his strengths will be nothing but beneficial to him.

I identified his literacy development need by assessing the given data. If his literacy development does not progress, he will have a difficult time reading and writing.

To address his academic need in literacy development, I would suggest concrete learning experiences for him. I will provide him with books and we will work on using his finger to track each word. This will help him to read without skipping words. This strategy is important because I am working one-on-one with him on the area that he missed on the assessment.

On the story retell, Joshua had five questions with a score of 2 meaning "with minimal prompting; limited but correct response." He did not get any questions wrong. He basically understands the story. To help Joshua build off his strengths, I will read him a book on a topic that he is interested in. I will stop at certain points and ask him questions from the assessment, such as, "What is the problem faced by a character in the story?" It is noted on the assessment that he needed frequent prompts to recall the sequence of story events from the beginning of the story so by asking questions throughout the story, it will help him remember the story better. After the story is read, he can draw and write the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

These strategies will help Joshua soar in his literacy development. He will be reading better and recalling events from stories with these strategies.

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.

Purpose: The purpose of the assignment is partially achieved. The response did not answer all parts of the prompt, for instance, the response did not describe why each strategy is important and how each strategy would promote proficiency for both strategies.

Subject Matter Knowledge: The response reflects a limited understanding of subject matter knowledge. The strategies are minimally described and do not reflect current evidence-based practices. The strategies are not appropriate for the grade level and age of the student.

Support: The supporting evidence is limited, with few relevant examples. The response needs additional information to explain the strategies clearly and fully.

Rationale: The response neglects to explain why the strategies would be effective in a meaningful way.

Overall, this response reflects a partial knowledge and understanding of how to interpret assessments, develop appropriate instructional strategies to address the student’s needs, and explain why the strategies would be effective.

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 The "4" response reflects a thorough knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • 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 The "3" response reflects a general knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • 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 The "2" response reflects a partial knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • 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 The "1" response reflects little or no knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • 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.