Study Guide

Field 131: Severe-Profound/Multiple Disabilities 
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 5 
Case StudyóAnalysis of Data to Identify Individual Learning Needs

 start bold Use the information in the exhibits to complete the assignment that follows. end bold 

Analyze the information provided in the exhibits and, using evidence from each of the exhibits to support your ideas, write a response of approximately 300Ė600 words in which you:

 start bold Be sure to cite evidence from each of the exhibits in your response. end bold 

 start bold Exhibit: Student Profile end bold 

William is ten years old and in fourth grade. William is deaf and blind and has medical and health needs. He attends a special education classroom for the majority of the school day and receives support from a paraprofessional during transitions and in art, music, adaptive physical education, and lunch. Direct instruction is provided by the special education teacher with support from a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and a teacher of the visually impaired. Related services identified in William's current Individualized Education Program (IEP) include speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, orientation and mobility, and assistive technology.

William was born with a profound bilateral hearing loss and is legally blind. He was diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome not long after birth and has had surgeries to repair a congenital heart defect and esophageal atresia. He has no vision in his left eye and 20/200 visual acuity in the right eye, with tunnel vision. His right eye is sensitive to glare and bright light. Michael wears tinted glasses to address glare. Hearing habilitation using hearing aids and amplification systems have been unsuccessful. Over the years, he has had several surgeries, hospitalizations, and illnesses, creating gaps in his schooling.

William began receiving early intervention services at five months and attended special education preschool and kindergarten programs. William tends to be easily tired and thirsty. William can use the bathroom with minimal supervision. He navigates the classroom with minimal assistance, by using tactile cues arranged throughout the room. Outside of the classroom, William is guided by the teacher, paraprofessional, or a peer.

To get William's attention, his teacher lightly touches him on the shoulder or back. A peer will lightly touch William's arm or hand to get his attention. William knows 20 signs in ASL to communicate, but often needs to be reminded to use them. His teacher also uses object cues during instruction to teach vocabulary and promote communication (e.g., a ball represents recess). His teacher uses enlarged visual cues and object cues during instruction and to indicate activities during the school day. He also has a visual daily schedule.

William generally responds to positive reinforcement. He is easily frustrated and gives up quickly. He will withdraw or cry, and in extreme cases, will tantrum. It can take up to 20–30 minutes for William to reengage appropriately when he shuts down or becomes very upset.

William was adopted by a family when he was two years old and has an older brother. He and William have a good relationship. William's parents are active in his educational planning and physical care. At the last IEP meeting, his parents stated their goal for William is to develop consistent and effective communication to support his engagement and independence. William enjoys bowling and participates in Special Olympics.

 start bold Exhibit: Excerpts from Assessments end bold 

To determine William's academic present levels of performance, criterion-referenced and informal assessments were administered over a two-week period. A number of accommodations and modifications were used to address William's communication delays and difficulty with sustained attention to tasks.

 start bold Academic Present Levels of Performance end bold 

Excerpt from Academic Checklist—Goal Progress left paren B equals beginning semicolon D equals developing semi-colon P equals proficient right paren part 1 of 2.
Reading Skills Progress Notes
Reads/recognizes name P First and last name
Reads/recognizes color words D Red, blue, yellow, green, black, and white are proficient. Confuses orange and brown.
Reads/recognizes number words D Number words for 1–5 and 10 are proficient. Developing for 6 through 9.
Reads high-frequency nouns and verbs D
  • Reads 25 out of 95 nouns correctly and consistently (e.g., boy, girl, man, mom, dad, car, dog, pizza, milk, school)
  • Reads 10 verbs consistently (e.g., run, walk, eat, sleep, yell, cry, see)
Reads question words D Recognizes, start italics, who, end italics, and, start italics, what, end italics
Excerpt from Academic Checklist—Goal Progress left paren B equals beginning semicolon D equals developing semi-colon P equals proficient right paren part 2 of 2.
Mathematics Skills Progress Notes
Groups objects by 2ís, 5ís and 10ís P Demonstrates one-to-one correspondence using objects that are larger than 1.5 inches.
Groups objects to count to 50 D
  • Independently counts objects by 1ís and 10's and can group sets
  • Working on 2ís and 5ís
Groups objects to count to 100 D When counting by 1ís and 10ís over 50, confuses 60ís and 80ís
Adds and subtracts numbers to 20 using objects D 80 percent accuracy when using objects
Sorts objects by variety of characteristics P Sorts 1.5 inches or larger by size, shape, color, and texture
Sequences numbers D Can sequence numbers correctly up to 50
Identifies numbers that are larger or smaller than a number D 70 percent accuracy in numbers between 2 and 50

 start bold Exhibit: Excerpts from Checklists end bold 

 start bold Excerpt from Preference Checklist (Completed by Parents) end bold 

Which of the following is motivating to your child?
cell intentionally left blank yes no Comments
Tangible Reinforcement not checked  checked  William responds positively to tangible rewards such as a preferred activity, music, or food.
Toys/Objects  checked  not checked William likes soft objects, like stress balls. He prefers brightly colored objects and toys.
Special Activity  checked  not checked Rocking in the rocking chair; going to his favorite restaurant for dinner; going bowling
Free Time not checked  checked  William prefers having structured time and activities.
Computer Time  checked  not checked William loves computer time.
Books  checked  not checked. William likes to look at Big Books and adapted books with tactile supports.

 start bold Excerpt of Self-Help and Functional Skills Checklist (Completed by Parents) end bold 

functional skills checklist.
Daily Living Skills Full Assistance Some Help Independent
Puts on a pullover shirt not checked not checked  checked 
Puts on shoes not checked  checked  not checked
Starts a zipper not checked  checked  not checked
Drinks from a cup not checked  checked  not checked
Eats with a fork/spoon not checked  checked  not checked
Gets own snack  checked  not checked not checked
Uses toilet and toilet paper not checked not checked  checked 
Brushes teeth not checked not checked  checked 
Cuts food with knife not checked  checked  not checked
Selects clothes appropriate to activity or occasion  checked  not checked not checked
Selects clothes appropriate to weather  checked  not checked not checked
Washes and dries hands not checked not checked  checked 
Prepares cold breakfast not checked  checked  not checked
Takes bath or shower independently not checked  checked  not checked

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 

Based on the Academic Present Levels of Performance, William has academic needs in Mathematical Skills. Mathematics are visual in nature and can therefore present challenges for students with visual impairments. Math lessons that utilize manipulatives and technology to teach numeration or other concrete level skills are necessary for skill acquisition. He needs assistive technology adaptations to make content accessible to him, such as a screen enlarger to enlarge the print. William can also adjust the lighting on the screen to reduce glare. With screen sharing, he can access information presented on an interactive Smart Board onto his laptop computer.

Research suggests that students with disabilities can learn skills through systematic instruction. One instructional strategy that I would use is to break tasks into parts and use tactile manipulatives and technology (recommended in the VI teacher's report). For example, I will create a math problem that has personal relevance to William. It will have large print numbers and physical objects so that he can visually and tactually follow along as I use a hand-over-hand technique while saying the problem aloud. The excerpt from the Parent Preference Checklist states that he likes bowling so I will incorporate that into my story. "William counted 1 bowling ball for himself. Then he counted his family's bowling balls. Altogether, he counted 4 bowling balls." Then we would solve this equation  left paren 1 plus, blank, equals 4 right paren  using manipulatives on a large print number line and he can solve the equation on his computer by selecting pictures. He needs scaffolding of the tasks, guided practice and positive reinforcement in order to master this concept.

This strategy is appropriate because William needs explicit instruction, modeling, positive feedback, and support. Allowing alternate response modes on the computer will assist him in communicating. Progress monitoring will be a teacher-developed checklist, anecdotal notes, and a graph of his achievements.

One additional need that William has is his behavior. When he is frustrated, he cries and throws a tantrum. Reducing problem behaviors increases his time on-task and social behavior development. Children with challenging behaviors need intensive interventions.

Positive Behavioral Support (PBS) strategies are ways to proactively address problem behaviors by evaluating behaviors and providing alternatives to problem behaviors. I will conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment of the problem behavior by following an ABC chart to determine the (A) antecedent before the behavior or "triggers," (B) behavior, and (C) consequence. I will note the intensity and frequency of the inappropriate behaviors. Exploring possible setting events (i.e., hunger,frustration, communication) can help identify predictors. It is important to determine why the behavior occurs in order to create an effective plan. After analyzing the data, an individual plan can be developed that includes prevention strategies, replacement skills, positive reinforcement and monitoring.

The plan includes hypotheses about why the behavior occurs and ways to make events and interactions that predict problem behavior easier for the child to manage. Replacement skills can be in any form that is effective, such as cue cards or prompts with words and pictures to help William ask for help or whatever the problem is. All adults that work with William need to follow agreed upon procedures to make his challenging behavior ineffective. Rewards for appropriate behavior should equal or exceed reinforcement for problem behaviors. The support plan needs an evaluation component to measure the effectiveness of the plan and to make changes if needed.

Challenging behaviors can have serious negative effects for students in school and the community. PBS strategies are effective in teaching William coping skills and replacement strategies for more appropriate behaviors.

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 clearly responding to all of the tasks in the prompt, including identifying the student needs, describing instructional strategies and appropriateness, and detailing progress monitoring. The response reflects an appropriate application of subject matter knowledge by analyzing the exhibits and data to correctly identify student needs; by describing accurate, current, evidence-based instructional strategies and progress monitoring; and by providing accurate rationales explaining the effectiveness of the strategies. The response includes relevant supporting examples throughout to clarify points, such as examples of assistive technology and Functional Behavioral Assessment components. Overall, the response reflects a comprehensive understanding of the student's needs, effective teaching strategies, and progress monitoring, and a solid understanding of how these strategies will help the student.

Sample Weak Response to the Constructed-Response Assignment

One area of need related to daily living skills development is selecting appropriate clothing. On the self-help and functional skills checklist, it says that William needs full assistance with selecting clothes appropriate to a specific activity or occasion and weather.

An appropriate instructional strategy that will help William is to give him a model doll with lots of clothes. Each day, we will talk about the weather and what kind of clothes would be right to wear. If it is snowy, he is not going to want to wear shorts. I will be there to help him pick out appropriate clothes for the weather. Then we will talk about different occasions, like going to a rodeo or going to school. We will talk about the right kinds of clothes to wear for those occasions and I would let him pick out the clothes for the doll.

This is an appropriate activity because William needs hands-on activities to learn. He will be able to transfer this knowledge to himself and chose appropriate clothes for the situation. I am there to guide him as needed. I will monitor his progress by giving him a star every time he correctly identifies the clothes. When he has earned five stars, he can be rewarded with one of his preferences, such as computer time or rocking in the rocking chair.

An additional area of need William has is communication. Being deaf and blind is challenging. He knows 20 signs in ASL to communicate. He needs to expand on his ASL vocabulary. With his poor vision, he probably has trouble seeing me sign, so I will teach him signs by letting him wrap his hands around my hand to feel the sign. I will also have enlarged print of the sign so that he can see it as much as possible. We will work on one new sign a week.

Expanding his ASL is necessary for him to communicate. Communication skills are a top priority for students with disabilities. I will monitor William's progress in relation to that need by teacher observation and notes of how often he is using ASL.

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 response partially achieves the purpose of the assignment (refer to the instructions for the assignment). The purpose of the assignment is partially achieved as the response reflects a limited understanding of how to interpret data from the exhibits, describe effective instructional strategies and appropriateness of the strategies, and explain progress monitoring. The strategies are inappropriate for the student, reflecting limited subject matter knowledge. There are few relevant examples and limited supporting evidence. Overall, the response reflects a poor understanding of the student's needs, of appropriate strategies to address the needs, and of progress monitoring. The rationale is weak and demonstrates a limited understanding of the topic.

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.