Study Guide

Field 143: Technology Engineering 
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 300to600 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

Competency 0014 
Analyze lesson plans for a technology engineering topic or project, including student work or assessment data. Describe subsequent activities that are evident from your analysis and address the needs of all students.

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

Using your knowledge of content, skills, and sound pedagogical practices in technology engineering and citing evidence from the exhibits provided, write a response of approximately 300600 words in which you:

Be sure to utilize all of the exhibits in your response.

Exhibit 1: Lesson Plan

Class Context:

Students in a technology engineering class are engaging in the engineering design process by developing designs for apparatuses that protect a chicken egg from breaking when dropped from a height of 10 m above the ground. The students design and construct a prototype from household items, then evaluate the prototype by dropping it off the roof of their school. Based on observations made during the test, students propose revisions, make changes to their prototype according to their proposals, and then reevaluate the prototype by dropping it off the roof again. Students repeat this engineering design process several times to create a functional apparatus as a final product.

Lesson Plan:

Course: Technology Engineering

Lesson Objective: Students will motivate prototype revisions by citing evidence from observations gathered during operational evaluation.

Standard: Students will apply creativity in developing technology products and systems, and test and evaluate a design for improvement.

Previous Knowledge Needed: Students should understand introductory concepts of force and mechanical energy, and how impact time affects the acceleration of an object. Students should understand the effects of crumple zones and drag forces on moving objects.

Exhibit 2: Student Instructions

Test your prototype by carefully placing an egg into it. Then drop it off the roof of the school! Do not throw or push your prototype; just drop it from rest. The descent will be recorded on video so we can analyze it after you perform the test.

During the testing and re-design phases, respond to a set of questions about your test design and your observations of the test. Make three observations about this test that you will use to motivate revisions to your prototype later.

Exhibit 3: Student Work Sample

Sketch a picture of your current prototype, including where the egg will be placed. Label important features of your design.


The diagram shows a vertically oriented cylindrical apparatus with labeled parts. At the top is a short cardboard tube with about a quarter of its bottom inserted into a longer cardboard tube. Both tubes are labeled cardboard tubes. The short tube contains an ovoid shape labeled egg which is oriented with the narrow end pointing upward. Inside the bottom of the longer tube are three roughly round objects labeled cotton balls. The very bottom of the long tube is cone shaped, with the point oriented downward. The label on this part says crumple zone and cone in parentheses.

Description of my drawing: The egg is placed in a cardboard tube, which is able to slide into a larger cardboard tube. Cotton balls cushion the impact of the egg. The cone on the bottom absorbs the impact and keeps it pointed down while falling.

Before testing your prototype, describe why you chose this design.

I chose this design because the pointy, bottom end of the tube (the cone) is supposed to point toward the ground. The shape of the cone is very aerodynamic and should keep the whole thing upright while falling. The cone will also make impact with the ground and will crumple when it lands and absorb the energy of the fall so the egg is protected. The cotton balls in the cone will also help absorb energy. The egg is in the top cardboard tube, which slides down when it hits the ground. This will increase the time that the egg takes to slow down, lessening the force on the egg.

After testing your prototype, was your egg intact? Why or why not? List three observations that you noticed from the test that support why your egg did or did not break.

My egg was not intact. It broke when it hit the ground. I made three observations:

  1. The tube was held straight up and down, but then turned sideways a moment after being released. Right after it started falling, it turned sideways and wobbled back and forth the whole way to the ground.
  2. The cone didn't crumple, and the upper tube didn't slide into the lower tube. The tubes landed on their side, so the egg basically smacked into the pavement.
  3. The tubes didn't fall straight down. The wind pushed the cone sideways, so it had more time to speed up on the way down. There was a lot of wind.

Before you build your next prototype, what revisions do you plan to make based on your observations? Explain why you will make these changes.

I will add more weight to the bottom of the lower tube. I'll put sand or clay in the bottom cone instead of cotton. This will keep the cone pointed downward and the rest of the tube above it as it falls. Doing this will keep the egg near the top of the tube so the two pieces can slide into one another. This will also keep the cone from being pushed by the wind because it will be heavier. Also, we should do our next test on a day with no wind.

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 

In the project described in the Lesson Plan, students will design, build, and test a prototype apparatus that will prevent an egg from breaking after being dropped from 10 meters. Students will build their prototype using household items.

The project provides students the opportunity to learn about momentum (product of mass and velocity) and impulse (product of force and time), equivalent alternate perspectives on objects in motion. An object with a given momentum can be brought to rest by applying an equivalent impulse opposing the direction of motion. For a given impulse, force and the time over which that force is applied are inversely proportional.

As described in the Student Instructions, the students will use the testing results to make observations about their design that will motivate revisions to later prototypes. In the Student Work Sample that is shown, the student includes a sketch of their design and a description of how their design will function. A key element of the student design is the use of multiple tubes. One tube contains the egg, which is contained in a larger tube with a cotton ball landing zone for the smaller tube upon impact. A cone was added to the end to improve flight and create a crumple zone. The sample also includes student observations following the testing and proposed changes to the design.

One significant strength of the student was the creative crumple zone in their design. Vehicles are designed with crumple zones in order to bring objects to rest more slowly and with a lower average force in the event of a collision. Since the impulse (product of force and time) required to stop an object in motion is equal to its momentum (product of mass and velocity), reducing the device's mass and speed (possible in freefall by harnessing air resistance) reduces the needed impulse. The system would increase the time before the egg would be impacted through the nested tubes. However, as the student noted in their observations, this design did not work as intended. When released the object turned sideways, so the egg received the full impact of the collision. The student's analysis of proposed changes was a significant area of need. In the analysis, the student did not address the absence of a crumple zone where the egg was impacted. The student suggested adding weight to the cone in place of cotton, which will help with orientation but increases the mass of the design. The student also suggested testing on a day without wind as a solution, ignoring that wind does not directly impact momentum in a freefall situation. Absent in this analysis is the impact of drag forces on the design in flight the student's design does not attempt to reduce the velocity, resulting in higher momentum for the object than necessary.

Several instructional strategies could help the student. Students could be encouraged to think about the orientation of their device on impact. As the student adds mass to the cone of the structure, demonstrations of center of mass would help them place the correct amount of mass in the correct location. A demonstration of how to hang an object and find balance points would be helpful. Understanding drag forces and the impact on velocity would allow the student to look at alternative designs, including the use of wings or parachutes to increase drag. Encouraging the student to repeat the design process brainstorming different crumple zone concepts, researching flight, building and testing more efficient designs - would give the student a better chance at creating a successful design.

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 reflects a thorough understanding of the subject matter. The purpose of the assignment has been fully achieved as the response addresses each element of the prompt in an appropriate manner using high-quality, relevant examples. The response shows an accurate application of subject matter knowledge, as shown through the citation of evidence from the provided exhibits throughout the response. The response addressed the creativity in the student's design, as per the standard, demonstrating a strong understanding of the subject matter. The response also encouraged the student to reflect on design, instead of simply providing answers, showing sound pedagogical knowledge. Lastly, the response showed an understanding of the importance of design process and physics in the project, further demonstrating a comprehensive, ably reasoned understanding of the topic.

Sample Weak Response to the Constructed-Response Assignment

The egg drop project is a fun project for students to learn about engineering. Students love to make things with their hands and getting students to learn the importance of design in saving lives is an important skill. In the student work sample the student created a rocket-like design with the egg on top. The student put some cotton balls on the bottom so when the design crashes the egg will hit the cotton and be protected. The distance between the egg and the cotton will give time for the egg to hit the cotton, and the cone will help break the fall.

According to the student analysis, the egg broke when the design hit the ground. The student wrote that the design turned sideways after being released. The student also wrote that it was windy on the day of testing. The suggestions the student made for improving the design were interesting and a significant student strength. Adding more weight by replacing the cotton with sand or clay will help the design fall more efficiently. Since the design is meant for the cone to hit before the egg, adding the weight so the design lands cone first will help the student. Also, testing on a day without wind would fix the issue with the design turning sideways. A strategy to help the student build on this strength would be to have the student analyze other students' designs.

One student significant area of need is choosing better materials. The cardboard tubes weren't strong enough, so the student should change to something better. One strategy to help with this is having the student test the strength of different materials. A fun way to do this is to gather various materials and use a hammer to test how strong they are. The student could see that the cardboard tubes wouldn't protect the egg very well.

By having the student analyze other designs and learn about different materials, the student will be able to make a better design the next time they do the project.

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 insofar as it does attempt to address the bullets of the prompt; however, there is a limited application of subject matter knowledge. The response identifies a strength, as required, but does not relate it to the standard. Moreover, the response also identifies an area of need, but also does not relate it to the standard. The supporting evidence is limited as the response does not directly cite the given exhibits. Furthermore, the response provides a limited application of subject matter knowledge as the given instructional strategies do not reflect sound pedagogical practices. Overall, the response reflects a limited, poorly reasoned 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.