Study Guide

Field 084: Speech-Language Pathology Assistant 
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 to 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

subarea roman numeral 4 
Analysis and Application

Use the information in the exhibits to complete the assignment that follows.

Analyze the information provided in the exhibits and, using evidence from each of the exhibits to support your ideas, write a response of approximately 300 to 600 words in which you:

Exhibit 1: Student Profile

Aubree is a sixth-grade student with a social communication impairment. Even though she is considered a friendly student who is eager to share her thoughts and ideas and participate in discussions, Aubree has difficulties working in groups and getting along with peers, and appears to prefer solitary activities. She has been observed to direct peers and accuse them of violating game or classroom rules even though she rarely follows these rules herself. Also, Aubree frequently fabricates personal accounts that are unlikely in an attempt to relate with peers, insisting these stories are factual. As a result of these stories and her unintentional tendency to command others, many of her peers become upset with Aubree, preferring to work and play with other classmates. This behavior is consistently seen with Aubree's siblings and extended family at home.

Aubree has an Individualized Education Program ( I E P ) for special education services for reading comprehension and related services for speech language pathology. She receives speech-language services outside of the classroom one time per week for 30 minutes to address social communication in a social skills group. In addition, the speech-language pathology assistant consults with the special education teacher each week for 30 minutes to collaborate regarding narrative strategies to increase comprehension and awareness of nonliteral language and character perspectives, namely thoughts and feelings, while relating this to real-time social situations. The results of Aubree's last evaluation indicate that she has average receptive and expressive knowledge of semantics, language structure, and morphology, but has below average comprehension and use of nonliteral, inferential, and pragmatic language.

 

Exhibit 2: Goal and Objectives

 I E P  Goal:

When role-playing or viewing social scenarios, Aubree will state how appropriate and inappropriate behaviors impact the thoughts and feelings of others in 3 out of 5 trials.

 I E P  Objectives:

  1. Aubree will identify her own behavior as appropriate or inappropriate in a social skills group by communicating 3 to 4 observations within 30 minutes.
  2. Aubree will identify behavior as appropriate or inappropriate when observing peers in a social skills group by communicating 3 to 5 observations within 30 minutes.
  3. Aubree will identify behavior as appropriate or inappropriate when role-playing social situations by communicating 3 to 5 observations within 30 minutes.

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.

Identify one benchmark from the studentís  I E P  which you will address in an intervention session:

As the speech-language pathology assistant, I would address objective number two first. In order to reach objective number one and three, Aubree needs to recognize and interpret the behaviors of others before these can be internalized to develop self-monitoring. Addressing objective number two will better address Aubreeís needs using a social communication developmental sequence.

Describe one research- or evidence-based approach, activity, or lesson for this student that you would use to address the studentís identified benchmark:

I would use a game within a social group with approximately four to five peers to target Aubreeís ability to identify and classify behavior as appropriate or inappropriate. The social language group should contain students with typical language abilities so that the students with social language limitations can benefit from opportunities to learn prosocial behavior through peer modeling. Students serving as peer models will be encouraged to volunteer, and caregiver permission will be obtained through written notification outlining the purpose of social groups.

The first social group targeting objective number two will begin with a short five- to seven-minute lesson outlining appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Throughout this discussion and activity, behaviors will be connected with the thoughts and feelings of others, which is the primary basis for categorizing behaviors as appropriate or inappropriate. Characteristics of these behaviors will be written on the white or Smartboard, and students will be encouraged to provide these descriptions from their own personal experiences. Following this lesson and discussion, short video clips will be shown and students will be encouraged to identify appropriate and inappropriate behaviors while linking these to the possible thoughts and emotions of others. These observations will be added to the written characteristics list with expanded explanations regarding the rationale for the categorization of these behaviors.

The next activity will focus on internalizing these behaviors within real-time situations. Students will select a board game with collaborative elements, such as Pictionary, Charades, or Heads Up. After a game has been selected, students will discuss the rules of the game and corresponding appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. I will write these down so that they are visible throughout the game. Students will then play the game and either take mental or written notes about the appropriate behaviors of peers throughout the game. Once the game has concluded, students will share their observations while linking appropriate behavior with their own personal feelings and thoughts. Focusing on the appropriate behavior of the group is likely to increase prosocial exchanges, and provide a reference as to why these are important for developing positive communication with peers.

Explain why that activity is appropriate for this particular student and benchmark:

This activity is appropriate for Aubree because it directly addresses her social language limitations, particularly with regard to peer relationships. Her classroom teacher and parents report that Aubree is struggling to work in groups and connect with peers meaningfully. She will be given the opportunity to interact with peers in a structured setting while developing her social language skills. This activity directly addresses social observation and perspective taking. Many students with social language difficulties like Aubree have difficulty synthesizing these skills in real time situations. This activity provides direct instruction and targets the acquisition of observation and perspective taking within deconstructed social situations.

Describe your approach for collecting data for this student:

I would collect data based on the student observations following the group game activity. Data should be based on student responses and participation in the group discussion, and the scaffolding and cues students required to actively participate. For example, Aubree will identify three instances of appropriate behavior through a direct or supporting statement during the group discussions within a 30 minute session.

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 by responding adequately to all parts of the prompt. The writer identified a language object to address in an intervention session (i.e., identifying behavior as appropriate or inappropriate when observing peers), described and provided a rationale for an evidence-based approach addressing the objective (i.e., social cognitive approach within the context of a social skills group), and detailed a data collection method for monitoring progress (i.e., number of student observations and level of scaffolding). The writer also provided an explanation for selecting the identified objective (i.e., recognizing and interpreting the behaviors of others before targeting self-monitoring), demonstrating knowledge of social cognitive development. In addition, the writer provides a comprehensive description of the evidenced-based approach, which further supports the appropriateness of the intervention, particularly in regard to addressing the student's needs (i.e., explicit instruction followed by group discussion and observation). The response reflects accurate subject matter knowledge in the identification of an evidence-based approach that addresses the student's needs while encouraging positive social interactions with peers (i.e., targeting recognition of appropriate behavior within social interactions to support perspective taking within positive social exchanges). Furthermore, the intervention approach promotes social understanding and interpretation within a heterogeneous social skills group (i.e., social group consisting of peer-role models and students with social language difficulties). Finally, the writer demonstrates a clear understanding of data-collection strategies (i.e., observation of targeted skills) to effectively measure the student's progress toward the objective by measuring skills targeted during social group sessions.

Sample Weak Response to the Constructed-Response Assignment

Identify one benchmark from the studentís  I E P  which you will address in an intervention session:

I would address objective number one first since this will more directly impact Aubree's behavior or pragmatic language development. Objectives two and three relate to the behavior of other students, so addressing these would not necessarily develop Aubree's recognition and use of appropriate behavior.

Describe one research- or evidence-based approach, activity, or lesson for this student that you would use to address the studentís identified benchmark:

As the speech-language pathology assistant, I would target Aubree's objective within a social communication group. I would include approximately four to five students in each group. In the social group, we will discuss pragmatic language, such as body proximity, facial expression, tone of voice, and conversational rules. Before beginning the group discussion, I will provide direct instruction about appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, such as interrupting a speaker, making a rude comment, or talking too much during conversational exchanges. Following direct instruction, the social group will examine images and written scenarios to identify appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. The social group will then engage in a conversation using appropriate behavior.

Explain why that activity is appropriate for this particular student and benchmark:

This activity is appropriate for Aubree because she is struggling most with aspects of pragmatic language. Namely, she has difficulties working in groups, getting along with peers, and following activity rules. She needs direct instruction about appropriate behavior so that she can improve her pragmatic language abilities. Once she is given the opportunity to learn about appropriate behavior, she is more likely to use these lessons in real-time situations. Also, examining images and written scenarios will give Aubree additional opportunities to practice her new pragmatic language skills.

Describe your approach for collecting data for this student:

I will observe Aubree in the classroom to determine if she has generalized the skills targeted during the social communication group. I will create a checklist consisting of topics covered and rate each pragmatic language skill or appropriate behavior as "demonstrated" or "not demonstrated." Every four weeks this data will be analyzed to determine which topics need to be reintroduced during our social communication group.

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 the assignment is only partially achieved. Although the writer attempted to provide a rationale for the language objective selected, the rationale lacks sound reasoning, thus reflecting inaccurate application of subject matter knowledge. In addition, the intervention approach identified reflects a shallow understanding of evidence-based approaches that support social language development, namely perspective taking and social monitoring. The intervention approach (i.e., explicit pragmatic language instruction) is also teacher-directed, relying on explicit teaching, thus limiting peer social learning opportunities. Furthermore, the student's social language needs are unlikely to develop when pragmatic language is the exclusive target of intervention. The response provides few details of the intervention, and only minimally addresses the student's needs. Overall, this response reflects limited understanding of social communication impairment.

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.