Study Guide

Field 201: Instrumental/General Music 
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 0016 
Analyze instructional objectives and activity plans, students' assignments and work, and assessment strategies and information in music education; and explain developmentally appropriate strategies to effectively address students' strengths and needs and inform instruction.

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

Using your knowledge of music and music education, and citing evidence from the exhibits provided, write a response of approximately 300600 words in which you:

Exhibit 1: Context

A sixth-grade orchestra teacher is teaching violin students to sight-read. Click on the remaining tabs to view an excerpt from a unit plan, student learning goals for the unit, and a sight-reading excerpt.

Exhibit 2: Excerpt from Unit Plan

excerpt from unit plan
Unit Title Sight-reading a melody Three 30-minute lessons
Unit Description

Context: These students began playing this year.

Goal: By the end of the lesson students will be able to sight-read a given melody with success.

Essential Questions

Which skills are necessary for sight-reading successfully?

What is my process for sight-reading?

Where am I likely to make a mistake?

Oklahoma Academic Standards

M dot P R dot 1 colon Select varied musical works to present based on interest, knowledge, technical skill, and context.

M dot P R dot 4 colon Use self-reflection and peer feedback to refine individual and ensemble performances of varied music repertoire.

M dot P R dot 5 colon Perform expressively with appropriate interpretation and technical accuracy.

Exhibit 3: Student Learning Goals

indicators of student learning
Indicators of Student Learning

Content Students Will Understand

  • Musical notation
  • Rhythms
  • Pitches
  • Key signatures
  • Violin techniques (i.e., string changes and bowing)

Key Skills Students Will Demonstrate

  • Ability to sight-read successfully
  • Ability to establish proper tempo
  • Ability to maintain steady tempo
  • Ability to anticipate errors
  • Ability to perform string changes accurately

Exhibit 4: Sight-Reading Excerpt

five-measure melody

A five-measure melody for violin is shown. There is a treble clef, D major key signature, four-four time signature, and mezzo forte dynamics. The rhythm consists entirely of quarter notes. Using the octave designation system in which middle C is C four, the pitches are as follows. Measure one: D four, C-sharp four, D four, E four; Measure two: D four, A four, D four, B four; Measure three: D four, C-sharp five, D four, D five; Measure four: E five, C-sharp five, A four, C-sharp five; Measure five: D five, A four, D four, quarter rest.

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 

When teaching a sixth-grade orchestra how to sight read, there are a number of fundamental skills that need to be reinforced before they are able to start successfully sight-reading examples such as the excerpt that is provided. While there are several things that should be covered before they can successfully sight-read music appropriate for their level, I will address the solid foundation in understanding musical notation and rhythm that is needed before a teacher can begin to practice sight reading.

Since students will already have a basic understanding of music notation, it is important that these students understand how pitches in music notation operate in relationship to violin fingerings in first position. At the beginning of a class, it is always good to start warm-ups with one octave scales in easy keys like G, D, or A. While many of the students may have mastered these scales, it will also give the students who are not as proficient time to warm up and practice. This also helps the students open up their ears to their instrument and listen to each other as a group. Starting with 2-4 quarter notes on each note before moving on to the next one (DDDD-EEEE-F#F#F#F#, etc.) at a nice moderate walking tempo will help the less-skilled students find the correct pitch. When transitioning the class to prepare them to start sight reading, you can start adding the written scale on the board and point to each note as they play. Another fun way to solidify their reading skills is to point to a random note of the scale and ask them as a group to play the sound in rhythm, prompting them by saying "1-2-3-play!" and begin to move faster in between pitches with this exercise as their execution as a class becomes better. You can take this further by taking chunks of the scale in 3-4 note segments that are written on the board and have them play it as a group. For those students who are not as strong in reading notes yet, this exercise will help them associate the sound they are making with the written notation as well as playing and reading music as a group.

The student's understanding of rhythm is integral in being able to sight read successfully. It is often one of the most difficult concepts for beginning students to grasp and needs to be practiced often for students to be comfortable on their own. One exercise that is helpful and fun for students of all levels in the class is sight-reading easy rhythms by "rhythm marching." The teacher will write on the board or project the exercises that the students will read. The teacher should be at the piano playing a single chord at a moderate walking tempo at a quarter note pulse. The students will march the quarter notes by walking back and forth on each foot, one step for each quarter note. They pat their left hand against their leg for the beat and pat their right hand against their leg for the sounding rhythmic note. At this level, you can use a variation of whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, and simple eighth and sixteenth note patterns as well as using rests that increase in difficulty. After they are starting to feel the internal rhythmic pulse without their instruments, this can be added later while they are playing their violins on a single note.

After you see that they are improving in identifying written pitches and demonstrating good rhythmic reading (assuming that they also have adequate understanding and control over basic violin techniques such as bowing and string changes), you can begin to start teaching them how to sight read basic melodies. It is important to start small and gradually work your way up. Start with patterns (like in measure 1 of the provided example) that have stepwise motion and go in chunks of 3-4 notes that are projected or written on the board. Point to the exercise, count them off and have them play. Give them about 2-3 tries before moving on to the next chunk of similar difficulty. Rotate between chunks of notes or measures often so they get used to "reading" and not "practicing." Have them start to actively listen so they can hear as a group what they played correctly vs. incorrectly. As they begin to improve their reading skills on the easier passages, you can start to introduce harder passages like in measures 2-5. Over time, you will want to increase the amount of notes/measures you give them at a time for them to finally be able to read through an entire excerpt like the one that is provided without stopping.

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 correctly and adequately addressing all of the bullet points of the prompt. The writer demonstrates an appropriate understanding of the subject matter, as he or she selects multiple points to address and the writer does so in a specific and appropriate manner. The writer describes in detail how the teacher should execute each concept and uses age appropriate concepts and strategies. The response also provides sound, high-quality, relevant examples as the response follows a logical progression of how to accomplish the overall task of sight-reading the excerpt that is provided. Moreover, the response provides a substantial and accurate application of subject matter knowledge by addressing the diverse needs of a class, appealing to students who are proficient in their musical ability versus those who might be less skilled. Overall, the response reflects an ably reasoned, comprehensive understanding of the topic.

Sample Weak Response to the Constructed-Response Assignment

To be able to sight read in class, the students need to practice playing the right notes on the violin. The teacher should make sure that the students can read music and understand rhythm and how to play the violin. They should be able to make nice sounds on the violin and to move the bow correctly. I would teach them easy stuff first like twinkle twinkle or hot cross buns so they know how to play basic melodies. Then I will write notes on the board and tell them to play that note.

After they get better at doing that, I will have them write notes on the board and make them play it for each other. This will teach them how to read things on the fly. They all have to find it as a group and this will teach them what that note sounds like.

I will have the good students individually show the worse students how to play the correct notes. They will model how to play for the weaker students and will make the weaker students eventually play better by learning through them. To get them to sight read better, I will write more notes on the board and they have to play all of them until they are able to sight-read stuff like the example below.

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 (refer to the instructions for the assignment). First of all, the response does not address some of the fundamental aspects needed before the students are able to learn how to sight-read. The response provides limited supporting evidence and few relevant examples. For instance, the response should go into detail about the lesson plan and the exercises/repertoire choices. The response also provides a limited, inappropriate application of subject matter knowledge by not demonstrating age-appropriate instruction for a sixth-grade classroom. Lastly, the response does not adequately address the diverse needs in the classroom as stated in the prompt. Overall, this response reflects a limited application of subject matter knowledge and demonstrates a 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.