Study Guide

Field 036: Driver/Safety Education 
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 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:

 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 
Safety for All Highway Users

 start bold Use the diagram and the information below to complete the assignment that follows. end bold 

The diagram shows a view from above of a road with three lanes all traveling in the same direction. A large truck is in the center lane. There are three cars, labeled A, B, and C. Car A is behind the truck. Car B is to the right of the truck and slightly behind it, but also slightly in front of Car A. Car C is also in the right lane, slightly in front of the truck. A motorcycle is also in the right lane, between Car B and Car C, beside the truck. The diagram shows that Car A moves into the left lane, passes the truck, and returns to the middle lane in front of the truck.

It is a warm Thursday in spring, at 10:00 p.m. On an interstate highway, a tractor-semitrailer is traveling at 58 miles per hour up a long hill, centered in the middle lane. A motorcyclist, Driver A, Driver B, and Driver C have all been traveling for the last mile in the same positions as depicted in the diagram and at approximately the same speed as the tractor semi-trailer. Driver A decides to pass the truck, using the left lane. Driver A switches on the left turn signal, moves into the right side of the left lane, and accelerates. In the time it takes for Driver A to pass the truck, all five vehicles have crested the hill and started to descend the hill. Driver A switches on the right turn signal and moves back into the middle lane in front of the truck, decelerating from 65 miles per hour to 61 miles per hour.

Using your knowledge of safe driving practices, prepare a response 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 

Heavy traffic on highways introduces safety concerns because of the higher traveling speeds, increased stopping distances, and quickly changing zones. Drivers want to be sure they are maintaining safe speeds and safe distances from other vehicles so they can brake and/or maneuver in the event of a changing zone. Moreover, traffic usually slows down when traveling uphill on interstate highways. Large trucks traveling uphill slow down a lot more than smaller vehicles, so all vehicles in this situation should be aware of the truck's speed. Trucks also have blind spots along the sides, directly in front and close behind, which the other vehicles should be aware of. Finally, driving at night reduces visibility and decreases driver response time.

All the drivers have been driving too close together for the past mile. "Wolf packs" like this close off zones for all drivers and reduce stopping distances. Drivers in the pack will most likely not have enough time to brake or maneuver if they need to. In addition to being part of the pack, the motorcycle has been traveling in the truck's right side blind spot. The truck might not know the motorcycle is there. It is appropriate for Driver A to pass the truck, but Driver A moves into in the right side of the left lane. This further closes off the right zone for Driver A and the left zone for the truck. Also, Driver A decreases speed to 61 miles per hour after it passes the truck and returns to the middle lane in front of the truck. Under the circumstances, this is too slow. On downhills, trucks pick up more speed relative to the increase in speed of smaller vehicles because trucks are much heavier. Driver A is now traveling only three miles per hour faster than the truck was traveling when the truck was near the top of the long uphill climb. The truck's speed on the downhill is likely to be more than three miles per hour faster than it was near the top of the hill. The truck may have to brake hard, which is unsafe because trucks are difficult to control due to weight, high profile, and blind spots. Also, trucks typically blink their headlights when it is safe for a passing vehicle to switch back into the lane in front of them. The truck did not blink its lights in this case, which is another indication that Driver A switched back into the middle lane in front of the truck when it was still unsafe to do so. Finally, the truck should not be traveling in the middle lane unless it intends to pass. Since trucks take up more space than smaller vehicles, they present a visual obstacle and close off more zones when they're in the middle lane.

Now that the drivers are in this situation, they should break up the wolf pack as soon and as safely as possible. Driver B should slow down and move to the center of the right lane, clearing space for the truck to return to the right lane. Driver C should speed up to clear the truck's right front zone and the motorcycle should also create space between it and the truck. Depending on the actions of Driver B and Driver C, the motorcycle should either slow down or speed up to clear the right lane for the truck. The truck should move back to the right lane when it has the first and best chance to do so. In the meantime, the truck should try to keep safe following distance from Driver A, and Driver A should recognize the truck's speed in Driver A's rear zone and speed up to create more space for the truck.

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.