Preparation Manual

Print this page

Section 5: Constructed-Response Questions
Principal as Instructional Leader (268)

The exam includes four constructed-response questions. Unlike the selected-response questions, the constructed-response questions require candidates to demonstrate their integrated knowledge in an area by providing in-depth written responses.

Constructed-response questions are included on the exam because this item type can assess knowledge and skills too complex to be measured effectively with selected-response questions. To effectively assess some content, candidates need to be able to do more than discriminate between correct and incorrect statements.

When given a relevant and contextually rich scenario, constructed-response questions allow candidates to provide a well-reasoned written response that includes detailed and logical steps to take to address an educational leadership situation and provide a strong justification or rationale for the actions.

Content of Constructed-Response Questions

The constructed-response questions on this exam are designed to assess candidates' knowledge of the content described in the exam framework from Domains I, II, and III, as shown below.

Integration (Constructed Response Only)

  1. Routinely monitors instruction through classroom observations and attends teacher-led meetings in order to coach and develop teachers by providing evidence-based feedback to help teachers improve instruction (Domains II & III)
  2. Facilitates the development of and implementation of a rigorous curriculum that aligns with state standards and promotes college and career-readiness (Domain II)
  3. Supports staff to effectively use instructional data, including formative and summative assessment data, to inform effective instructional practices and interventions (Domain II)
  4. Creates a positive, collaborative, and equitable culture that establishes and communicates high, consistent expectations for all stakeholders and addresses barriers to ensure achievement of campus initiatives and goals (Domain I)

The constructed-response question addressing Integration, A, noted above, will include a video. The testing center will provide candidates with headphones.

Format of the Constructed-Response Questions

The four constructed-response questions are stand-alone, document-based case studies. Document-based case studies consist of three or more documents that relate to the scenario. Documents might include, but are not limited to, lesson plans, assignments, student work, notes from the principal, or student performance data.

The actual question to be asked will be presented with multiple parts. The information needed to answer the questions is provided within the scenario and supporting documents. There will be enough information included for candidates to draft a complete response with specific evidence from the documents and scenario.

The parts of the question will be noted with lettering such as A, B, and C. The parts of each question will likely be related to each other and may build on one another. Candidates should take care to think through the parts of the question and ensure their entire response shows complete alignment in their understanding of the educational leadership scenario presented.

Scoring of Constructed-Response Questions

The approach for scoring the constructed-response questions will be holistic, based on a set of guidelines called a rubric. The rubric tells the scorer what features of the response to focus on and how to decide to award a score to the response. In holistic scoring, the scorer reads the response and assigns a score based on the overall quality of the response.

A holistic scoring rubric usually contains statements describing the attributes of a typical response at each score level. During training, scorers will calibrate on the score levels by using exemplars—actual responses written by test takers that exemplify the attributes of each score point.

For each constructed-response question in this preparation manual, a sample response for each score point is provided. A rationale for the score given to each sample response is provided to help candidates understand the rubric and how it is applied to responses.

The Scoring Rubric for Constructed-Response Questions

Readers will assign scores based on the following scoring rubric.

A Description of each portion of the rubric.
Circled 1

Each column of the scoring rubric provides the score point available, from highest score to lowest score.

Circled 2

The performance description provides the overall qualities of each score point.

Circled 3

This section of the scoring rubric provides the performance indicators for completeness. Candidates should take care to respond to all parts of the prompt fully.

Circled 4

This is the first attribute in the quality section of the rubric. It describes the characteristics needed for each score point for any part of a constructed-response question that asks for instructional practices. Notice how the quality descriptors change from "detailed and specific" to "generally appropriate" to "limited or flawed" to "weak or ineffective."

Circled 5

This attribute describes the characteristics for each score point when a question asks for actions to be taken in response to an identified need.

Circled 6

This attribute describes the characteristics for each score point when a question asks for evidence to show an understanding of the issues presented.

Circled 7

This attribute describes the characteristics for each score point when a questions asks for an explanation, rationale, or justification.

Circled 8

This attribute describes the characteristics for each score point when alignment is needed between the different parts of a response. Candidates can identify the parts of their response needing alignment by reviewing the lettering (A, B, C) of the question.

 blank Circled 1 Score of 4 Score of 3 Score of 2 Score of 1
Performance Description Circled 2 A score of 4 demonstrates a thorough understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents. A score of 3 demonstrates a general understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents. A score of 2 demonstrates a limited understanding of the scenario and supporting documents. A score of 1 demonstrates little or no understanding of the scenario and supporting documents.
COMPLETE Circled 3
  • Responds fully to all parts of the question
  • Responds generally to the parts of the question
  • Responds partially to some parts of the question
  • Fails to respond to most parts of the question
QUALITY Circled 4
  • Identifies detailed and specific educational leadership strategies that will be highly effective in addressing the situation to demonstrate an overall in-depth understanding of the situation
  • Identifies generally appropriate educational leadership strategies that may contain minor errors to demonstrate an overall general understanding of the situation
  • Identifies limited or flawed educational leadership strategies that may contain misconceptions to demonstrate an overall limited understanding of the situation
  • Identifies weak or ineffective educational leadership strategies that contain serious misconceptions to demonstrate an overall weak understanding of the situation
Circled 5
  • When required, provides detailed and/or prioritized actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need that are appropriate, significant, and clearly demonstrate a thorough understanding of the situation
  • When required, provides actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need that are mostly appropriate and demonstrate a general understanding of the situation
  • When required, provides actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need that are partially accurate and demonstrate gaps or misconceptions in overall understanding of the situation
  • When required, fails to provide actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need or provides actions that are inappropriate and that demonstrate little or no understanding of the situation
Circled 6
  • Provides specific and convincing evidence, including a specific citation of the document(s) provided to show a thorough understanding of the issues presented in the materials
  • Provides basic evidence that generally references the document(s) to show a reasonable understanding of the issues presented in the materials
  • Provides limited evidence that may vaguely reference the document(s) to show a flawed understanding of the issues presented in the materials
  • Provides inappropriate evidence or little or no evidence to show weak understanding of the issues presented in the materials
Circled 7
  • Provides a detailed and insightful explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response
  • Provides a general explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response
  • Provides a simplistic explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response
  • Provides little or no explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response that may contain serious misconceptions
Circled 8
  • Shows complete alignment within the response to different parts of the question
  • Shows general alignment within the response to different parts of the question
  • Shows partial alignment within the response to different parts of the question
  • Shows misalignment within the response to different parts of the question

Responding to Constructed-Response Questions

The constructed-response questions are primarily an assessment of candidates' understanding of the targeted content from the framework, not candidates' ability to write a polished essay. So, the scoring rubric does not contain attributes that specifically address grammar or format requirements. Scorers will use the attributes (bullets) of the scoring rubric to determine the score of each response. Candidates should strive to respond to each question completely and in a clear and detailed manner with evidence from the scenario to support the response.

Responses are not required to use labels, such as A, B, and C, that align with the parts of the question. However, candidates' responses should be written as clearly as possible so that they can be understood. While using these labels is optional and not part of the scoring rubric, labeling the parts of the response to align with the parts of the question can enhance clarity for the reader.

Each constructed-response question requires the candidates to provide a written response that includes descriptive and analytic writing.

Features of Descriptive Writing Features of Analytic Writing

Gives information

Identifies or states something

Identifies concepts or strategies and describes them accurately, clearly, and in a logical manner

Writes in a manner that allows the reader to see as the writer sees

Provides evaluation, justification, and explanation supported by evidence

Reveals thought processes used to arrive at conclusions

Provides interpretation of the evidence in the scenario

To provide strong evidence when completing analytic writing, candidates should consider the following.

Reflective Questions for Written Responses by Candidates

Have you addressed all parts of the question?

Have you written your response so that it is clear and understandable?

Have you included evidence from the scenario documents to clearly support your conclusions?

Have you checked your response against the scoring rubric?

Have you highlighted the evidence present in your response against the qualities in the scoring rubric and sample responses for each score point?

Preparing for the Constructed-Response Questions

When preparing for the constructed-response questions, candidates should read the sample questions and scoring rubric carefully. Candidates may wish to draft a response to each sample question by reading the question and planning, writing, and revising their essay. Then candidates should check their essay against the scoring rubric and sample responses. Candidates should use the reflective questions provided to enhance their understanding of each question and the scoring rubric.

No reference materials will be available during the exam, so candidates should refrain from using a dictionary, thesaurus, or textbooks while writing practice responses.

During the actual exam, candidates will be able to take notes. However, candidates should be mindful of time when taking notes and planning an outline for their response. A candidate's response is a draft response and will be scored based on the scoring rubric only.

Candidates will have 5 hours to complete 70 selected-response questions and 4 constructed-response questions. While each candidate will use a different amount of time to respond to each constructed-response question, it is estimated that candidates can allocate about 25–35 minutes for each constructed-response question to complete a 300–400 word response.

Suggested Approach

When candidates plan how to use the estimated 25–35 minutes for each constructed-response question, they should consider the following cognitive process strategies and test-taking strategies.

Cognitive Process Questions for Candidates

What knowledge and skills does the question intend to assess?

What is the context of the question?

What is the primary decision or issue to be addressed?

How can you apply your knowledge of best practices to answer this question?

How does evidence from the scenario support your conclusion?

When responding to a constructed-response question, candidates should consider the following test-taking strategies.

Test-Taking Strategies for Candidates

How can you pace yourself so that you finish within the suggested time frame?

How can you rephrase the question in your own words to ensure you understand it completely?

What are the key phrases presented in the question?

What is the important scenario information provided to support the question?

What would a brief plan or sketch of your response points look like?
For example:
Point ONE
Justification
Evidence
Evidence
Explanation

Point TWO
Justification
Evidence
Evidence
Explanation

After reviewing the scenario and documents, what evidence can you identify to support the areas you plan to address?

How can you write your response concisely and completely?

How can you ensure your response is clear and understandable from the reader's perspective?

How should you approach your testing time?

Constructed-Response Question 1

The first constructed-response question illustrates a type of question found on the exam. It is not, however, representative of the entire scope of the exam in either content or difficulty. Sample answers with rationales for the score points follow the question.

This question assesses the following knowledge and skills.
The entry-level principal routinely monitors instruction through classroom observations and attends teacher-led meetings in order to coach and develop teachers by providing evidence-based feedback to help teachers improve instruction (Domains II and III).

General Directions

Candidates should read the constructed-response question carefully before beginning to write a response to ensure they understand all the parts of the question to be addressed. Candidates should think about how to organize their response before they begin writing.

Each response should conform to the conventions of standard written English. Each response should be original work, written in the candidate's own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work. Candidates may, however, use citations when appropriate.

Sample Question

Review the documents provided, review the question, and then review the eight-minute video clip of the lesson.

A principal plans to observe Ms. Herrera, a third-grade teacher, who is in her fifth year of teaching. The teacher plans to review the elements of poetry and teach a lesson on inferencing and drawing conclusions from the text. The principal reviews the teacher's lesson plan and observes the poetry lesson. After the observation, the principal plans to meet with the teacher to provide instructional coaching.

In preparation for coaching, the principal reviews the teacher-created exemplar and student responses to the exit ticket given at the end of the lesson.

Documents

  1. The Teacher's Lesson Plan
  2. Exit Ticket, a Teacher-Created Exemplar, and Sample Student Responses
  3. Video of Clips from the Lesson Observed by the Principal

The principal plans to provide the teacher with feedback during the post-observational coaching session.

Question

Develop a coaching plan to address a high-leverage instructional practice that the teacher should accomplish more effectively. The coaching plan should include the following.

  1. Identify ONE high-leverage instructional practice needing improvement. Justify your selection.
  2. Identify ONE high-leverage action step that can be implemented by the teacher to address the instructional practice needing improvement.
  3. Provide ONE guiding question for the principal to ask the teacher to address the instructional practice needing improvement.
  4. Explain how the action step and question will work together to improve the teacher's practice and support student learning.

Be specific in your answers and cite evidence from the documents and video provided.

The Teacher's Lesson Plan
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), Grade 3

3.6 Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Poetry.
Students understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about the structure and elements of poetry and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding.
(A) Students are expected to describe the characteristics of various forms of poetry and how they create imagery (e.g., narrative poetry, lyrical poetry, humorous poetry, free verse).

Fig.19.D Students make inferences about text and use textual evidence to support understanding (literary nonfiction, poetry).

Learning Objectives
  1. Students will identify elements of humorous poetry.
  2. Students will make inferences and draw conclusions from humorous poems, including citing textual evidence.
Assessment
Check for understanding during each portion of the lesson.
Exit ticket with state-mandated assessment aligned questions assessing the targeted TEKS
Resources, Materials, Technology
Question cards for the "Everybody Knows" game
Poems
  1. "My Brother Has a Habit" by Jack Prelutsky
  2. "Sick" by Shel Silverstein
  3. "Saw My Teacher on a Saturday" by Dave Crawley
Guided Practice and Independent Practice Worksheet
Lesson Structure and Procedures
Activating Prior Knowledge (5–7 minutes)
Review the elements of poetry studied the week before playing "Everybody Knows" game in groups. Students will be asked level 1 questions on elements of poetry.
Sample Game Questions:
What is a stanza? How many stanzas do you see on this poem?
What are sensory details? What is an example of a sensory detail?
What does visualization mean? Why is visualization an important reading strategy?

Model/Teach
Have students move to the carpet and show them the humorous poem "My Brother Has a Habit" on chart paper.
Ask: What is a humorous poem?
Read the poem and model a think-aloud showing how to process the text (wear my pink "thinking hat").
After reading the poem, model what can be inferred and what conclusions can be drawn from the poem. Highlight the textual evidence to support my inferences and conclusions.
  1. How old do you think the brother is?
  2. How does the sister feel toward her brother?
  3. Can you conclude that the brother will discontinue his habit?
Write the response in sentence form and include text evidence in the written response.

Check for understanding of elements of a poem by asking about the stanzas, lines, rhyme, title, and author. 

Guided Practice
Here is a new poem, "Sick", by Shel Silverstein to learn about together.
Explain directions and student groupings.
  1. Read the poem silently.
  2. Discuss what you think the poem is about in your small group. Complete question 1 by identifying the elements of the poem (title, author, stanzas, lines, example of rhyme).
  3. Answer question 2 in their group: What makes Line 15 funny? Talk in your group. Ask a student to share his/her response. Discuss with the class.
  4. Answer question 3 in their group: What is the speaker trying to say in Line 26?
Check student understanding by asking students to share their responses and correct any misconceptions for each question.

Independent Practice
Complete questions 4–6 on your own. While students work, rotate around the room and monitor their work. The first time look for students' conclusions. The second time look for their text evidence to support their response.
Ask 1–2 students to share their responses. Discuss.

Exit Ticket
Differentiation/Adaptations
Provide additional guidance for students in special education.
Provide definitions for targeted words for English learners to support their vocabulary development and comprehension.
Exit Ticket, a Teacher-Created Exemplar, and Sample Student Responses

Exit Ticket Question 1

  1. Which of these lines from the poem rhyme?
    1. Lines 2 and 4
    2. Lines 5 and 7
    3. Lines 11 and 12
    4. Lines 23 and 24

Saw My Teacher on a Saturday
By Dave Crawley

Saw my teacher on a Saturday!
I can't believe it's true!
I saw her buying groceries,
Like normal people do! (4)

She reached for bread and turned around,
And then she caught my eye.
She gave me a smile and said, "Hello,"
I thought that I would die! (8)

"Oh, hi...hello, Miss Appleton,"
I mumbled like a fool.
I guess I thought that teacher types
Spend all their time at school. (12)

To make the situation worse,
My mom was at my side.
So many rows of jars and cans
So little room to hide. (16)

Oh, please, I thought, don't tell my mom
What I did yesterday!
I closed my eyes and held my breath
And hoped she'd go away. (20)

Some people think it's fine to let
Our teachers walk about,
But when it comes to Saturdays,
They shouldn't let them out! (24)

TEKS for Question 1
3.6 (A) Students are expected to describe the characteristics of various forms of poetry and how they create imagery (e.g., narrative poetry, lyrical poetry, humorous poetry, free verse).

Item Analysis
Option A–100% (Answer Key)
Option B–0%
Option C–0%
Option D–0%

Exit Ticket Question 2

  1. Why does the poet use exclamation points in the first stanza?

    1. To express the speaker's joy
    2. To describe the speaker's thoughts
    3. To show the speaker's fear
    4. To emphasize the speaker's surprise

TEKS for Question 2 & 3
3.6 Fig.19.D Make inferences about text and use textual evidence to support understanding (literary nonfiction, poetry).

Item Analysis
Option A–13%
Option B–13%
Option C–13%
Option D–61% (Answer Key)

Exit Ticket Question 3

  1. Part A
    In line 8 of the poem, what does the author want to communicate about the speaker? Explain.
    Part B
    Do you think something happened at school recently? How do you know?
    Provide evidence in the text to support your answer.
Item Analysis for Ms. Herrera's Class

Sample Student Responses for Question 3

Question 3, Part A

Teacher-Created Exemplar before the Lesson
In line 8, the author uses exaggeration to show embarrassment and dread that the speaker feels about seeing his/her teacher at the grocery store. This strong language helps make the poem funny to the reader.

High-end responses:

  • The speaker wasn't happy to see the teacher.
  • The boy doesn't want to see the teacher.

Mid-level responses:

  • It wants to say that the kids was really surprised.
  • She wants to say the speakers nervous.
  • The speaker was worried.

Low-level responses:

  • It said "I thought that it said that I was to die. I was knew that I wanted to die."
  • He is trying to say his teacher is in big big trouble.

Question 3, Part B

Teacher-Created Exemplar before the Lesson
Yes, I think something happened at school recently because lines 17–18 state "don't tell my mom what I did yesterday". This tells the reader that the student did something at school the previous day, and he doesn't want his mom to know about it.

High-end responses:

  • I think he did something bad because he was very scead and fritin that the teacher will tell his mom he was bad at school yesterday in the text.
  • I khow that he did something at school because it said oh please I thought don't tll my mom what happpend on yesterday.
  • I think the kid got in trouble because it is in line 18 and 17.

Mid-level responses:

  • I think her teacher embarrassed her because she get very nervous around her.
  • I think that he probley did something bad at school or something embrassing

Low-level responses:

  • He/she saw his teacher at the store and probably she'd die.
  • I don't think something happened at school. I just think that the kid was surprised to see the teacher.
  • I think he/she was afraid at the teachers and he/she doesn't want the teachers to have break.

Video of Clips from the Lesson

Review the eight-minute video clip of a teacher presenting a lesson.

During the video, the video clip will jump ahead to a future portion of the lesson occasionally. When the video skips ahead, it will be indicated by both an audible tone and a visual fade of the video.

The video presents a teacher instructing students on a poetry lesson. Students are seated at desks positioned in groups of 2–4 students. At the start of the video, the teacher is at the front of the class ready to begin the lesson.

Play video in new window

View a transcript of the video links to a PDF document

Suggested Approach

Candidates can apply the cognitive process questions and test-taking strategies provided earlier to this constructed-response question as follows.

Cognitive Process Questions for Candidates

What knowledge and skills does the question intend to assess?

  • Domain VII, Integration A, assesses a portion of Domains II and III—The entry-level principal routinely monitors instruction through classroom observations and attends teacher-led meetings in order to coach and develop teachers by providing evidence-based feedback to help teachers improve instruction.

What is the context of the question?

  • An elementary school principal is preparing to provide instructional coaching to a third-grade teacher.
  • The principal reviews the teacher-created exemplar and student responses to the exit ticket after observing the lesson to gain a better understanding of student performance at the completion of the lesson.

What is the primary decision or issue to be addressed?

  • You need to identify one high-leverage instructional practice needing improvement, identify one high-leverage action step that can be implemented by the teacher, and a guiding question to ask the teacher to address the practice needing improvement.

How can you apply your knowledge of best practices to answer this question?

  • You can consider the actions the teacher took during the video of the lesson and how they impact student learning.
  • You can consider the instructional data (lesson plan, exemplar, exit ticket responses, and the video) to help determine the effectiveness of the teacher's instructional practice.
  • You can use the key terms listed in this manual to consider the characteristics of a high-leverage instructional practice and apply that definition to this teacher's lesson.
  • You can consider a possible high-leverage action step that can best improve the teacher's instructional practice and why you would select that action.
  • You can consider a guiding question that best addresses the teacher's instructional need and aligns with the action step, then explain why you would select the question.

How does evidence from the scenario support your conclusion?

  • You should ensure the instructional practice you identify is directly supported by specific pieces of evidence in the video and/or documents that will convince the reader of the importance of the instructional practice needing improvement.
  • You should reference and/or quote evidence from the scenario, video, and documents to help convince the reader that the action and guiding question you recommend are best practices to effectively and efficiently address the instructional practice you have identified for improvement.
Test-Taking Strategies for Candidates

How can you pace yourself so that you finish within the suggested time frame?

  • You can note the time when you begin and when you finish your response.
  • You can chunk your time for reviewing the scenario, planning your response, and drafting your response.
  • You can consider ways to streamline your process after you complete your response.

How can you rephrase the question in your own words to ensure you understand it?

  • The question has four parts: A, B, C and D.
  • Part A asks you to identify ONE high-leverage instructional practice that needs improvement and to cite specific evidence from the documents and video provided in order to justify your selection.
  • Part B asks you to identify ONE high-leverage action step that the teacher could implement to address the identified practice needing improvement.
  • Part C asks you to provide one guiding question for the principal to ask the teacher to address the instructional practice needing improvement.
  • Part D asks you to explain how the action step and question will work together to improve the teacher's practice and support student learning.

What are the key phrases presented in the question?

  • "One high-leverage instructional practice . . . justify"
  • "One high-leverage action step . . . to address the instructional practice"
  • "One guiding question. . .to address the instructional practice"
  • "How the actions will improve . . . practice and support student learning"

What is the important scenario information provided to support the question?

  • Teacher's lesson plan
  • Teacher-created exemplar
  • Item analysis for the exit ticket responses
  • Sample student responses to the open-ended exit ticket questions
  • Video clips from the lesson

What would a brief plan or sketch of your response points look like?

  • High-leverage practice
    • Evidence
    • Evidence
  • High-leverage action
  • Guiding question
  • Explanation of both the action and the question

After reviewing the scenario and documents, what evidence can you identify to support the areas you plan to address?

  • You can confirm that you have selected strong points with convincing evidence to support your justification and explanation.

How can you write your response concisely and completely?

  • You can answer all parts of the question.
  • You can base your response on the scenario and documents.
  • You can cite evidence from the scenario and documents to support your response.

How can you ensure your response is clear and understandable from the reader's perspective?

  • Although not required, you can use bullets or lettering for the parts of your response.
  • You can make sure your response clearly communicates your intended message in clear language.
  • You do not need to have a perfectly written essay to earn a high score. You should focus on the content you write and the accuracy of the evidence and explanations or justifications you provide.
  • You can compare your response to the attributes of the scoring rubric.

How should you approach your testing time?

  • As an estimate, you can allocate about 25-35 minutes for this constructed-response question.
  • You can consider how much of the estimated time you are using to complete your response.
  • If you are completing your response at the upper end of the time range, it is suggested to look for opportunities to streamline your process to help move your time closer to the lower end of the time range.

Sample Responses and Rationales for Question 1

During preparation, candidates should review the following sample responses using the criteria provided in the scoring rubric. The scoring rubric is divided into two sections: 1) completeness and 2) quality. Candidates should consider the extent to which the response exhibits the attributes provided in each bulleted section of the scoring rubric.

Candidates should consider the extent to which each response answers all parts of the question: A) identifies and justifies one high-leverage instructional practice needing improvement; B) identifies one high-leverage action step to address the instructional practice needing improvement; C) provides a guiding question that addresses the instructional practice needing improvement; and D) explains how the action step and question will work together to improve the teacher's practice and support student learning.

Sample Response Earning a Score of 4

The instructional practice needing improvement is to more explicitly teach students how to prove their conclusions and inferences using textual evidence in a written response, as stated in the lesson plan objective. In the video Ms. Herrera did model, when she highlighted how she supported her conclusion about whether the boy would continue to stick French fries up his nose. However, during the guided practice portion of the lesson, students had difficulty citing evidence that supported their conclusions. As she monitored the students' responses on question 5, she consistently had to ask "what can the reader conclude? Use text evidence. . .". The exit ticket results for both parts of question 3 also show that many students gave mid- and low-level responses without text evidence to support their conclusions. So, although Ms. Herrera did model the process in the video, it was not explicit enough for the students to successfully follow during guided and independent practice.

The action step, that I would recommend for Ms. Herrera, would be to structure the modeling and guided practice sections of the lesson to ensure the activities align with the level of rigor of the objective and the exit ticket. During modeling the teacher should explicitly demonstrate each step of the process using the same vocabulary as the objective and the exit ticket. Additionally, if the exemplars include line numbers with the contextual evidence, then she should model this as well. Ms. Herrera could further support this action by using an anchor chart with the specific steps for students to cite text evidence and follow as she models. Then the guided practice should help the students apply those same specific steps in order to perform successfully during independent practice and on the exit ticket. Also, the students can repeatedly use the anchor chart as a reference throughout the year.

To help the teacher improve her instructional practice in explicitly teaching students to cite evidence to support conclusions, the principal could ask, "How do you determine if students fully understand what they are expected to do in each section of your lesson, before you move on to the exit ticket?"

The guiding question is intended to help Ms. Herrera reflect on how she can implement the action step to make the lesson more effective and acknowledge that Ms. Herrera has been teaching for five years and is not a novice. The question and the action step work together by bringing the focus on how Ms. Herrera can implement the action to ensure her students will be practicing, mastering and applying the specific skills they will need to demonstrate on the exit ticket. This will also support their reading comprehension in general. 

Rationale for the Score of 4 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 4 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 4
Annotation for Score of 4 Sample Response
Responds fully to all parts of the question The response provides a complete response to each part of the question.
A) identifies and justifies one high-leverage instructional practice needing improvement; B) identifies one high-leverage action step to address the instructional practice needing improvement; C) provides one guiding question for the principal to ask the teacher to address the instructional practice needing improvement; and D) explains how the action and the guiding question will improve the teacher's practice and support student learning.
Identifies detailed and specific educational leadership strategies that will be highly effective in addressing the situation to demonstrate an overall in-depth understanding of the situation

Provides specific and convincing evidence, including a specific citation of the document(s) provided to show a thorough understanding of the issues presented in the materials
The high-leverage instructional practice needing improvement identified is "to more explicitly teach students how to prove their conclusions and inferences using textual evidence in a written response as stated in the lesson plan objective."

The response fully justifies this high-leverage area in need of improvement by specifically citing evidence from the documents and video such as "exit ticket results for both parts of question 3 show that many students gave mid- and low-level responses without text evidence. . .question 5," ". . . during her modeling . . . it was not explicit enough for students to successfully follow," and ". . . During guided practice, students had difficulty citing evidence to support their conclusions."
When required, provides detailed and/or prioritized actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need that are appropriate, significant, and clearly demonstrate a thorough understanding of the situation

Provides a detailed and insightful explanation, rationale, or justification for the response
The response then provides one detailed, high-leverage action step that can be implemented to address the identified practice needing improvement.
"structure the modeling and guided practice to ensure the activities align with the level of rigor of the objective." ". . . students collaboratively engage in rigorous activities assessed by the exit ticket." ". . .explicitly demonstrate each step. . .using same vocabulary. . .exit ticket." "Ms. Herrera could further support this action by using an anchor chart. . .as she models."

Finally, the response provides a detailed and insightful explanation for how both the action and the guided question will improve the teacher's practice and support student learning.
"help the students apply those same specific steps in order to perform successfully during independent practice and on the exit ticket.." ". . .anchor chart can be used as a reference students' can refer to repeatedly throughout the year." "The guiding question. . .help Ms. Herrera reflect. . .action step to make lesson more effective. . ." "Ms. Herrera has been teaching for five years and is not a novice. . ."
Shows complete alignment within the response to different parts of the question This response appropriately identified the need "to more explicitly teach students how to prove their conclusions and inferences using textual evidence in a written response as stated in the lesson objective" as the instructional practice needing improvement. Then the response provides one action to be implemented and one guiding question to help the teacher improve the instructional practice with a specific explanation that directly aligns to the identified area of need.

Overall, the response demonstrates a thorough understanding of how to routinely monitor instruction through classroom observations and attend teacher-led meetings in order to coach and develop teachers by providing evidence-based feedback to help teachers improve instruction. The response receives a score of 4 because overall the response demonstrates a thorough understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 4 Sample Response

Based on the video and documents provided, what makes the instructional practice identified high-leverage, detailed, and specific?

Based on the scoring rubric, why is the action identified by this candidate high-leverage?

How is the guiding question aligned with the identified area of need and the high-leverage action?

How does this response maintain complete alignment between each part of the question to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the information presented in the scenario?

Sample Response Earning a Score of 3

The high-leverage, instructional practice that needs to be improved in this situation is the amount of time that the teacher spent on identifying the elements of poetry compared to the time that she spent on the more rigorous skill of making inferences and drawing conclusions. It appeared that the students had already mastered the identification of the elements of poetry. Yet, when the teacher moved to the instructional part of the lesson, she didn't take into account that the students had already demonstrated mastery of this skill. Rather, she went ahead as planned and spent too much time on the first skill, which reduced the time she could spend on the more difficult skill that needed instruction. Kids like the elements of poetry so that might be why the teacher focused on this—for fun with the kids. Again, although it is fun, it wasn't the most difficult skill to spend that much time on.

The action step that should be implemented by the teacher to address this instructional practice needing improvement is as follows:

When lesson planning, the teacher needs to take into account the skills that have been previously taught. It would appear that the TEKS objective regarding the elements of poetry had been taught and mastered when covering other types of poetry, such as narrative poetry. Then the teacher needs to be able to adjust her plan for instruction during the lesson as well. It was evident that she was going to stick to her lesson plan regardless of how the lesson was going. It was clear that they had not fully grasped the skills and steps needed. She needs to analyze the lesson at various points, such as after activating prior knowledge or modeling. By doing this in the future, she will be able to adjust her lesson plan and instruction as the lesson progresses and therefore concentrate her efforts in the area that needs the most attention.

The principal could ask the teacher how she sets the pace of the lesson and how she chooses the activities. This question and action step will allow the teacher, in future lesson planning, to allocate her instructional time more appropriately and concentrate her instruction on the rigorous skill or skills that need the most time. By doing this she will support the students by providing more opportunities to develop their mastery of the skills needed for the exit ticket.

Rationale for the Score of 3 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 3 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 3
Annotation for Score of 3 Sample Response
Responds generally to the parts of the question The response provides a general response to each part of the question.
A) identifies and generally justifies one high-leverage instructional practice needing improvement; B) identifies one high-leverage action step to address the instructional practice needing improvement; C) provides one guiding question for the principal to ask the teacher to address the instructional practice needing improvement; and D) explains how the action and the guiding question will improve the teacher's practice and support student learning.
Identifies generally appropriate educational leadership strategies that may contain minor errors to demonstrate an overall general understanding of the situation

Provides basic evidence that generally references the document(s) to show a reasonable understanding of the issues presented in the materials
The high-leverage instructional practice needing improvement identified is ". . . the amount of time that the teacher spent on identifying the elements of poetry compared to the time that she spent on the more rigorous skill of making inferences and drawing conclusions."

The response generally justifies this high-leverage area in need of improvement by citing evidence from the documents and video such as "It appeared that the students had already mastered the identification of the elements of poetry. Yet when the teacher moved to the instructional part of the lesson, she didn't take into account that the students had already demonstrated mastery of this skill. Rather, she went ahead as planned and spent too much time on the first skill, which reduced the time she could spend on the more difficult skill that needed instruction."

The justification is considered to be general because it generally references the video, but does not identify the specific evidence that lets the reader know the students had already mastered the elements of poetry. As well, the response does not cite other evidence in the documents to justify the response.
When required, provides actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need that are mostly appropriate and demonstrate a general understanding of the situation

Provides a general explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response
The response then provides a general action that can be implemented to address the identified practice needing improvement.
1) "When lesson planning, the teacher needs to take into account skills that have been previously taught."
2) "The teacher needs to be able to adjust her plan for instruction during the lesson."

Finally, the response provides a general explanation for how both the action and the guiding question will improve the teacher's practice and support student learning.
1) "If the teacher does this in future lesson planning, it will allow her to allocate her instructional time more appropriately and concentrate her instruction on the skill or skills that need the most time."
2) "...she will be able to allocate her instructional time more appropriately and concentrate her instruction on the rigorous skill or skills that need the most time."
3) "By doing this she will support the students by providing more opportunities to develop their mastery of the skills needed for the exit ticket."
Shows general alignment within the response to different parts of the question This response appropriately identifies ". . . the amount of time that the teacher spent on identifying the elements of poetry compared to the time that she spent on the more rigorous skill of making inferences and drawing conclusions" as the instructional practice needing improvement.

The section of the response addressing how "Kids like the elements of poetry so that might be why . . ." is outside of the evidence presented in the scenario.

So, there is general alignment between the identified area, the action to be implemented, the guiding question and the specific explanation.

Overall, the response demonstrates a general understanding of how to routinely monitor instruction through classroom observations and attend teacher-led meetings in order to coach and develop teachers by providing evidence-based feedback to help teachers improve instruction. The response receives a score of 3 because overall the response demonstrates a general understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 3 Sample Response

Based on the video and documents provided, how could the one identified high-leverage practice be improved to make it more detailed and specific?

What additional evidence from the video or documents could be cited to improve the justification of the selection of the high-leverage practice and make it more detailed and specific?

How could the high-leverage action that can be implemented by the teacher and the guiding question to address the instructional practice needing improvement be presented to make the action more detailed and appropriate?

Sample Response Earning a Score of 2

Upon viewing the lesson and examining the documents provided, there are a number of instructional practices needing improvement. Right away, I noticed that it seemed like some students were dominating the conversation. Ms. Herrera needs to develop some structures for student sharing during group work so that all students can be involved in the lesson. Next, there were way too many worksheets being used during this lesson. If Ms. Herrera is going to improve her instructional practice she will need to make instruction more authentic and engaging for all her students, again helping them to stay focused and being active participants in the lesson.

In order to improve Ms. Herrera's professional practice the principal should require her to visit some of her peers to really see how these areas can be addressed. She needs to get more students involved and encourage other students to become more active. The principal should really think about not including teachers who the teacher is really close to, as that wouldn't help. The principal can ask, "Do you make sure that all students are participating?"

After her visits, the principal should meet with her and discuss what she learned and direct her to do a better job. Kids need her and rely on her. After all, she is the instructional expert.

The principal can then do some walk-throughs to see if the teacher is actually getting more students to engage. The principal should also recommend no more than one worksheet be given to students per lesson. Copies of any worksheets given to students should be submitted with lesson plans so that the principal can determine if they are necessary or if some activity might be better to help engage students.

These actions and the question will help get more students engaged and involved in Ms. Herrera's lessons in the future.

Rationale for the Score of 2 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 2 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 2
Annotation for Score of 2 Sample Response
Responds partially to some parts of the question The response provides a partial response to some parts of the question.
A) identifies and weakly justifies an instructional practice needing improvement; B) identifies a vague action step to address the instructional practices needing improvement; C) asks a closed-ended guiding question; and D) briefly explains how the actions will improve the teacher's practice and support student learning.
Identifies limited or flawed educational leadership strategies that may contain misconceptions that detract from the demonstration of an overall limited understanding of the situation

Provides limited evidence that may vaguely reference the document(s) to show a flawed understanding of the issues presented in the materials
The response fails to identify one high-leverage instructional practice needing improvement, but rather identifies two lower-priority instructional practices, ". . . some students were dominating the conversation," and "make instruction more authentic and engaging..."

The response weakly justifies the area in need of improvement by citing evidence from the documents and video such as ". . . I noticed that it seemed like some students were dominating the conversation . . ." and ". . . there were way too many worksheets being used during this lesson."
When required, provides actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need that are partially accurate and demonstrate gaps or misconceptions in overall understanding of the situation

Provides a simplistic explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response

The response then provides several actions, some weak, which can be implemented to address the identified practices needing improvement.
1) ". . . require her to visit some of her peers . . ."
2) ". . . the principal should meet with her and discuss what she learned and direct her to do a better job."
3) ". . . do some walk-throughs . . ."
4) ". . . recommend no more than one worksheet . . . submitted ... [to] the principal ..."

The question is narrow and closed-ended, "Do you make sure all students are participating?"

Finally, the response provides a simplistic explanation for how the action and the guiding question will improve the teacher's practice and support student learning: "These actions and question will help get more students engaged and involved in Ms. Herrera's lessons in the future."
Shows partial alignment within the response to different parts of the question This response identified multiple areas in need of improvement. The response provided some text that is outside of the scenario and the response's focus, like ". . . really think about not including teachers who . . . really close to . . ." and "Kids ... rely on her."

There is partial alignment between the identified areas, the action to be implemented, the guiding question, and the explanation.

Overall, the response demonstrates a limited understanding of how to routinely monitor instruction through classroom observations and attend teacher-led meetings in order to coach and develop teachers by providing evidence-based feedback to help teachers improve instruction. The response receives a score of 2 because overall the response demonstrates a limited understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 2 Sample Response

Why is the area identified in this response not considered to be high-leverage instructional practice in need of improvement?

What high-leverage instructional practice would you have identified as an area in need of improvement?

How would you have justified your selection of a high-leverage instructional practice in need of improvement?

How would you focus on a high-leverage instructional action to ensure it is clear and appropriate to improve student learning?

What guided question would you have suggested to focus on instructional practice?

How would you develop a detailed and insightful explanation?

Sample Response Earning a Score of 1

I would begin by giving Mr. Herrera kudos on modeling the highlighting of evidence during the video because this is very helpful to students learning to use evidence to support their conclusions.

One high-leverage instructional practice that needs to improve is making sure that Ms. Herrera can create an exit ticket that more appropriately reflects the level of her students' skills. The exit ticket created by Ms. Herrera was more rigorous than the students seemed ready for. On all three questions, the students really seemed to struggle. When students struggle they are unable to stay focused and motivated to learn.

Ms. Herrera should be directed to create some new exit tickets that her students have a better chance to be successful with.

Teachers can be very supportive of each other and are usually willing to assist fellow teachers who need help. Ms. Herrera can check with other teachers to see if they have some exit tickets that they have created that their students were more successful with.

Doing this will help Ms. Herrera build a better assortment of exit tickets that her students will be more successful with as well. Getting higher scores on the exit tickets will also make students feel more successful and motivated in Ms. Herrera's class. This will be key to improving students learning and addressing the difficulties that Ms. Herrera had during this lesson.

Rationale for the Score of 1 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 1 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 1
Annotation for Score of 1 Sample Response
Fails to respond to most parts of the question The response fails to respond to most parts of the question.
A) fails to identify and justify one high-leverage instructional practice needing improvement; B) fails to identify one high-leverage action step to address the instructional practice needing improvement; C) fails to provide a guiding question to address the instructional practice needing improvement; and D) fails to explain how the actions will improve the teacher's practice and support student learning.
Identifies weak or ineffective educational leadership strategies that contain serious misconceptions to demonstrate an overall weak understanding of the situation

Provides inappropriate evidence or little or no evidence to show weak understanding of the issues presented in the materials
The response identifies an inappropriate instructional practice needing improvement: ". . . making sure that Ms. Herrera can create exit tickets that more appropriately reflects the level of her students' skills."

While the response attempts to cite evidence from the video and documents, the statements provided to justify the identified area are inaccurate and demonstrate serious misconceptions.

The text "... modeling the highlighting of evidence . . . is very helpful" does not relate to the identified area in need of improvement.
When required, fails to provide an action to be taken or a guiding question in response to an identified area of need or provides an action and guiding question that are inappropriate and that demonstrate little or no understanding of the situation

Provides little or no explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response that may contain serious misconceptions
Instead of one high-leverage action, the response then provides weak actions that can be implemented to address the identified practices needing improvement.
1) "Ms. Herrera should be directed to create some new exit tickets that her students have a better chance to be successful with."
2) "Ms. Herrera can check with other teachers to see if they have some exit tickets that they have created that their students were more successful with."

The response then provides an inappropriate explanation for how these actions will improve the teacher's practice and support student learning when it states, "Doing this will help Ms. Herrera build a better assortment of exit tickets that her students will be more successful with as well. Getting higher scores on the exit tickets will also make students feel more successful and motivated in Ms. Herrera's class."
Shows misalignment within the response to different parts of the question This response demonstrates misalignment between the instructional practice needing improvement, the evidence provided, the action to be implemented by the teacher to address the practice, and the explanation. There is no guiding question. The identified practice is not appropriate for improving the teacher's practice or supporting student learning.

Overall, the response demonstrates little or no understanding of how to routinely monitor instruction through classroom observations and attend teacher-led meetings in order to coach and develop teachers by providing evidence-based feedback to help teachers improve instruction. The response receives a score of 1 because overall the response demonstrates little or no understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 1 Sample Response

Based on the video and documents provided, why would, ". . . creat[ing] an exit ticket that more appropriately reflects the level of her students' skills" not be considered an appropriate instructional practice needing improvement?

Based on the video and documents provided, what would be a more appropriate high-leverage instructional practice needing improvement?

What high-leverage guiding question would you choose?

What specific evidence from the video and documents could be cited that would support your selection as a high-leverage instructional practice needing improvement?

Constructed-Response Question 2

The second constructed-response question illustrates a type of question found on the exam. It is not, however, representative of the entire scope of the exam in either content or difficulty. Sample answers with rationales for the score points follow the question.

This question assesses the following knowledge and skills.
The entry-level principal facilitates the development of and implementation of a rigorous curriculum that aligns with state standards and promotes college and career readiness (Domain II).

General Directions

Candidates should read the constructed-response question carefully before beginning to write a response to ensure they understand all the parts of the question to be addressed. Candidates should think about how to organize their response before they begin writing.

Each response should conform to the conventions of standard written English. Each response should be original work, written in the candidate's own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work. Candidates may, however, use citations when appropriate.

Sample Question

Refer to the documents provided and respond to the question below.

Ms. Franz, a middle school principal, plans to meet with the new eighth-grade math teachers before the school year begins. Together, they plan to review a mathematics unit on equations and inequalities. The team of new teachers have been developing the unit for use in their classrooms. They have pulled resources from various locations to create the unit. The teachers want to determine whether any improvements are needed in the unit so they can make adjustments to ensure student mastery of the covered content.

Documents

  1. Excerpt from the Eighth-Grade Mathematics Unit Plan
  2. Side-by-Side Comparison of the Day 7 Exit Ticket and Released State-Mandated Assessment Questions

Question

In preparation for Ms. Franz's meeting with the eighth-grade teachers, she plans to review the mathematics unit and associated documents so she is ready to provide input and guide the teachers during the meeting.

  1. Identify the TWO most important areas of the unit plan needing improvement. (Document 1 of 2). Justify why you selected each area of focus.
  2. Create an exemplar that can be used to demonstrate a high-quality example of ONE of the identified areas needing improvement.
    *An exemplar is an example or model that has the characteristics of a high-quality response. An exemplar is a concrete illustration of the evidence needed to meet a desired standard.
  3. Explain how Ms. Franz should use the exemplar to coach the teachers in the area needing improvement.

Be specific in your answers and cite evidence from the documents provided.

Excerpt from the Eighth-Grade Mathematics Unit Plan
Unit 3 Vocabulary Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Readiness Standards (TEKS)
Equations and Inequalities (7 days) Equation

Inequality

Variable

Rational number

Coefficients

Constants

Solution set
(8) Expressions, equations, and relationships. The student applies mathematical process standards to use one-variable equations or inequalities in problem situations. The student is expected to:

8.8(A) Write one-variable equations or inequalities with variables on both sides that represent problems using rational number coefficients and constants.

8.8(C) Model and solve one-variable equations with variables on both sides of the equal sign that represent mathematical and real-world problems using rational number coefficients and constants.
 blank  blank  blank
Instructional Objectives Students will be able to do the following.
Write one-variable equations or inequalities with variables on both sides
Days 1–3: Solve one-variable equations with variables on both sides.

Day 4: Solve one-variable inequalities with variables on both sides.

Day 5: Solve one-variable equations and inequalities with variables on both sides.
Model and solve one-variable equations with variables on both sides of the equal sign Day 6: Solve real-world problems when given a one-variable equation or inequality with variables on both sides.

Day 7: Model and solve one-variable equations and inequalities with variables on both sides.

 blank  blank  blank
Assessment Pre-assessment before the unit
Exit ticket on days 2, 4, and 7 (Day 7 exit ticket provided in Document 2)
End-of-unit test
Side-by-Side Comparison of the Day 7 Exit Ticket and Released State-Mandated Assessment Questions
Day 7 Exit Ticket Released State-Mandated Assessment Questions

TEKS 8.8(A)

1. Two students are selling tickets to the school dance. The tickets are 5 dollars each. Stacy makes 250 dollars selling tickets. Kali makes 175 dollars selling tickets. Which equation shows how many more tickets Stacy sold than Kali?

  1. 250 minus 175 equals 5t
  2. 5t plus 5t equals 250 plus 175
  3. 250 minus 5t equals 175 minus 5t
  4. 250 minus 175 minus 5t equals t

2. Solve the equation.
35t minus 17 equals 50 plus 3
What value of t makes the equation true? Show your work.

3. Selina is ordering doughnuts for a class celebration. Bakery A charges 5 dollars for the first dozen and 60 cents for each doughnut after a dozen.
Bakery B charges 6 dollars and 50 cents for the first dozen and 50 cents for each doughnut after a dozen.

Write an equation that can be used to find d, the number of doughnuts that can be bought after a dozen are purchased so the cost is the same for each bakery.

4. Solve the equation.
25t minus 23 equals 177
What value of t makes the equation true?

Show your work and record your answer and fill in the bubbles on your answer document. Be sure to use the correct place value.

TEKS 8.8(A) Write one-variable equations or inequalities with variables on both sides that represent problems using rational number coefficients and constants.

15. Two eighth-grade classes are selling raffle tickets to raise money.

  • One class is selling tickets for 2 dollars and 50 cents each and has already raised 350 dollars.
  • The other class is selling tickets for 3 dollars each and has already raised 225 dollars.

Which equation can be used to find t, the number of tickets each class needs to sell so that the total amount raised is the same for both classes?

  1. 3t plus 350 equals 2.50t plus 225
  2. 350t plus 2.50 equals 225t plus 3
  3. 2.5t plus 350 equals 3t plus 225
  4. Not here

 

TEKS 8.8(A)

52. Veronica is ordering trophies for her school. Company P charges 3 dollars and 50 cents for each trophy and a one-time engraving fee of 25 dollars. Company R charges 7 dollars and 50 cents for each trophy and a one-time engraving fee of 17 dollars. Which inequality can be used to find x, the minimum number of trophies that can be ordered so that the total charge at Company P is less than the total charge at Company R?

  1. 3.5 plus 25x is less than 7.5 plus 17x
  2. 3.5 plus 25x is greater than 7.5 plus 17x
  3. 3.5x plus 25 is less than 7.5x plus 17
  4. 3.5x plus 25 is greater than 7.5x plus 17

TEKS 8.8(C)
5. The model represents an equation.

What value of x makes the equation true?

  1. 3
  2. 4
  3. 6
  4. 12

TEKS 8.8(C) Model and solve one-variable equations with variables on both sides of the equal sign that represent mathematical and real-world problems using rational number coefficients and constants.

23. A rectangle's perimeter and its area have the same numerical value. The width of the rectangle is 3 units. What is the length of the rectangle in units?

Record your answer and fill in the bubbles on your answer document. Be sure to use the correct place value.

TEKS 8.8(C)

31. The model represents an equation.

What value of x makes the equation true?
Record your answer and fill in the bubbles on your answer document. Be sure to use the correct place value.

Suggested Approach

When responding to a constructed-response question, consider the following cognitive process strategies.

Cognitive Process Questions for Candidates

What knowledge and skills does the question intend to assess?

  • Domain VII, Integration B (assesses a portion of Domain II)—The entry-level principal facilitates the development of and implementation of a rigorous curriculum that aligns with state standards and promotes college and career-readiness.

What is the context of the question?

  • A middle school principal is working with eighth-grade mathematics teachers.
  • They plan to review a teacher-developed unit on equations and inequalities.

What is the primary decision or issue to be addressed?

  • You need to identify two important areas of the unit plan that need improvement so you can create an exemplar for one area and coach the teacher using the exemplar.

How can you apply your knowledge of best practices to answer this question?

  • You can consider best practices with curriculum design and development.
  • You can consider the aspects of curriculum unit development that are most important to ensure student mastery in the targeted knowledge and skills.
  • You can consider the aspects of curriculum unit development that are less important.
  • You can consider the characteristics of an exemplar and how it would look in this situation.
  • You can consider the purpose of an exemplar and how it can be used to coach teachers in this and other situations.
  • You can consider best practices in coaching teachers and the highly effective actions instructional coaches take during a coaching session.

How does evidence from the scenario support your conclusions?

  • You should ensure the identified specific pieces of evidence can convince the reader of the area you identify as needing improvement.
  • You should specifically reference the evidence from the scenario by document and quotation, if helpful to the reader.

When responding to a constructed-response question, candidates should consider the following test-taking strategies.

Test-Taking Strategies for Candidates

How can you pace yourself so that you finish within the suggested time frame?

  • You can note the time when you begin and when you finish your response.
  • You should consider ways to streamline your process.

How can you rephrase the question in your own words to ensure you understand it?

  • The question has three parts: A, B, and C.
  • Part A asks you to find TWO important areas of the unit plan that need to be improved and find evidence within the documents to justify the areas selected for improvement. The directions require a specific citation of evidence from the documents.
  • Part B asks you to create an exemplar to demonstrate one of the areas needing improvement.
  • Part C asks you to explain how to use the exemplar to coach the teachers to improve in the identified area related to the exemplar.

What are the key phrases presented in the question?

  • "areas of the unit plan needing improvement"
  • "exemplar . . . of ONE of the identified areas needing improvement"
  • "use the exemplar to coach the teachers"

What is the important scenario information provided to support the question?

  • An excerpt from the unit plan is provided.
  • The questions from an exit ticket in the unit plan and sample state-mandated questions are provided.

What would a brief plan or sketch of your response points look like?
Important area 1
Justification
Evidence
Evidence
Important area 2
Justification
Evidence
Evidence
Exemplar for area 1 or 2
Explanation of how to use the exemplar

After reviewing the scenario and documents, what evidence can you identify to support the areas you plan to address?

  • You can confirm that you have selected strong points with convincing evidence to support your justification and explanation.

How can you write your response concisely and completely?

  • You can answer all parts of the question.
  • You can base your response on the scenario and documents.
  • You can cite evidence from the scenario and documents to support your response.

How can you ensure your response is clear and understandable from the reader's perspective?

  • Although not required, you can use bullets or lettering for the parts of your response.
  • You can make sure your response clearly communicates your intended message in clear language.
  • You do not need to have a perfectly written essay to earn a high score. You should focus on the content you write and the accuracy of the evidence and explanations or justifications you provide.
  • You can compare your response to the attributes of the scoring rubric.

How should you approach your testing time?

  • As an estimate, you can allocate about 25–35 minutes for this constructed-response question.
  • You can consider how much of the estimated time you are using to complete your response.
  • If you are completing your response at the upper end of the time range, it is suggested to look for opportunities to streamline your process to help move your time closer to the lower end of the time range.

Sample Responses and Rationales for Question 2

During preparation, candidates should review these sample responses using the criteria provided in the scoring rubric. The scoring rubric is divided into two sections: 1) completeness and 2) quality. Candidates should consider the extent to which the response exhibits the attributes provided in each bulleted section of the scoring rubric. To help candidates complete their review, they can consider the following analysis of the response.

This candidate responds fully to all parts of the question: A) identifies the two most important areas of the unit plan needing improvement; B) creates an exemplar for one of the identified areas; C) explains how to use the exemplar to coach the teacher in the area needing improvement.

Sample Response Earning a Score of 4

The first important area of the unit plan needing improvement is the pacing of the instructional objectives to provide more time for the more difficult concepts. Day 1–3 of the unit plan are spent on the lowest level of TEKS objective 8.8(A) and then only 1 day of instruction is spent on the more difficult parts of 8.8(A). Only 2 days of instruction are spent on TEKS objective 8.8(C), which requires students to both solve and model real-world problems with one-variable equations and inequalities with variable on both sides.

The second important area needing improvement is the rigor and alignment of the exit ticket questions for objective 8.8(A) to match the released state-mandated assessment questions. Both of the state-mandated questions are word problems with equations or inequalities having variables on both sides. However, Day 7 exit ticket questions 2 and 4 have students "solve the equation" with one a variable on one side and none are inequalities—less rigorous than the TEKS.

An exemplar of a rigorously aligned 8.8(A) question:

Ron is ordering water bottles. Company A charges 2 dollars and 50 cents for each bottle and a one-time engraving fee of 20 dollars. Company B charges 6 dollars and 50 cents for each bottle and a one-time engraving fee of 12 dollars. Which inequality can be used to find x, the minimum number of bottles that can be ordered so that the total charge at Company A is less than the total charge at Company B?

  1. 2.5 plus 20x is less than 6.5 plus 12x
  2. 2.5 plus 20x is greater than 6.5 plus 12x
  3. 2.5x plus 20 is less than 6.5x plus 12
  4. 2.5x plus 20 greater 6.5x plus 12

Which option is correct? _____
Explain why each of the other options is incorrect.

Ms. Franz should ask the teachers to break down the TEKS to identify content and context. Then look at how the release questions establish how that TEKS is being assessed and identify the characteristics they see. Then look at the exit ticket questions and identify aspects of the TEKS that are and are not being assessed. Then introduce the exemplar question as a possible replacement for #2 or 4 and discuss the qualities of this question. Last, have the teachers write their own replacement exit ticket questions using the state examples and her exemplar as a model.

Rationale for the Score of 4 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 4 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 4
Annotation for Score of 4 Sample Response
Responds fully to all parts of the question The response provides a complete response to each part of the question.
A) identifies the two most important areas of the unit plan needing improvement; B) creates an exemplar for one of the identified areas; C) explains how to use the exemplar to coach the teacher in the area needing improvement.
Identifies detailed and specific educational leadership strategies that will be highly effective in addressing the situation to demonstrate an overall in-depth understanding of the situation

Provides specific and convincing evidence, including a specific citation of the document(s) provided to show a thorough understanding of the issues presented in the materials
The first important area of the unit plan needing improvement identified is "pacing of the instructional objectives." The response then fully justifies this appropriate and significant area in need of improvement by specifically citing evidence from the documents such as "Day 1–3 of the unit plan are spent on the lowest level of TEKS objective 8.8(A) and then only 1 day of instruction is spent on the more difficult parts of 8.8(A). Only 2 days of instruction are spent on TEKS objective 8.8(C), which requires students to both solve and model real-world problems with one-variable equations and inequalities with variable on both sides."

The second important area of the unit plan needing improvement identified is "the rigor and alignment of the exit ticket questions for objective 8.8(A) to match the released state-mandated assessment questions." The response fully justifies this appropriate and significant area in need of improvement by citing specific evidence from the documents, "Both of the state-mandated questions are word problems...... However, Day 7 exit
ticket questions 2 and 4 have students 'solve the equation' with one a variable on one side and none are inequalities... "
When required, provides detailed and/or prioritized actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need that are appropriate, significant, and clearly demonstrate a thorough understanding of the situation

Provides a detailed and insightful explanation, rationale, or justification for the response
The response then presents a detailed and specific exemplar, a model that can be used to enhance teacher understanding during a coaching session. The exemplar can be used to demonstrate a high-quality example of an exit ticket question that is a word problem that assesses inequalities with a variable on both sides and is aligned to TEKS objective 8.8(A). The exemplar has students explain their thinking and defend their answer, which will be highly effective in pushing their understanding.

"Ron is ordering water bottles. Company A charges 2 dollars and 50 cents for each bottle and a one-time engraving fee of 20 dollars. Company B charges 6 dollars and 50 cents for each bottle and a one-time engraving fee of 12 dollars. Which inequality can be used to find x, the minimum number of bottles that can be ordered so that the total charge at Company A is less than the total charge at Company B?

  1. 2.5 plus 20x is less than 6.5 plus 12x
  2. 2.5 plus 20x is greater than 6.5 plus 12x
  3. 2.5x plus 20 is less than 6.5x plus 12
  4. 2.5x plus 20 greater 6.5x plus 12

Which option is correct? blank line
Explain why each of the other options is incorrect.

Finally, the response explains how the principal could use the exemplar to coach the teacher in the area needing improvement by stating, ". . . ask the teachers to break down the TEKS to identify content and context. Then look at how the release questions establish how that TEKS is being assessed and identify the characteristics they see. Then look at the exit ticket questions and identify aspects of the TEKS that are and are not being assessed. Then introduce the exemplar question as a possible replacement for #2 or 4 and discuss the qualities of this question. Last, have the teachers write their own replacement exit ticket questions..."

Shows complete alignment within the response to different parts of the question Of the two important areas of improvement identified, the response selected "the rigor and alignment of the exit ticket questions" to create an exemplar. There is complete alignment between the selected area in need of improvement, the exemplar, and the detailed and specific explanation.

Overall, the response demonstrates a thorough understanding of how to facilitate the development of and implementation of a rigorous curriculum that aligns with state standards. The response receives a score of 4 because overall the response demonstrates a thorough understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 4 Sample Response

How does the candidate use citations to justify the two important areas of improvement?

What makes the exemplar provided a high-quality example of the selected area needing improvement?

How does the response maintain complete alignment between each part of the question to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the information presented in the scenario?

Sample Response Earning a Score of 3

- Two Important Areas Needing Improvement

  1. Exit Tickets and TEKS are not well aligned, nor do they match up well in rigor. In two of the Exit Ticket samples provided, students are only asked to solve the equation, however TEKS requires students to not only solve equations, but to model real world problems.
  2. Pacing of objectives of the Teacher-Created Unit does not reflect rigor of the skills presented.
    Looking at the scope and sequence you quickly notice that the introductory skill of one-variable equations with variables on both sides was going to be the focus for the first 3 days and the progressively more difficult skills that followed were only given a day each. While it is critical to provide students with a solid foundation from which to build it is clear that a restructuring of the pacing guide is necessary to more accurately reflect the rigor of the skill being presented.

B – High Quality Exemplar to address pacing
Day 1: Solve one-variable equations with variables on both sides.
Day 2: Solve one-variable inequalities with variables on both sides.
Day 3: Solve one-variable equations and inequalities with variables on both sides.
Day 4–5: Solve real-world problems that represent one-variable equations and inequalities with variables on both sides.
Day 6–7: Model and solve one-variable equations and inequalities with variables on both sides.

C – Plan to coach the teacher using the exemplar
Ms. Franz can have the teachers analyze the rigor of the daily objectives compared to the number of days of instruction. She can then use his exemplar as a model to help them create more appropriate unit pacing in the future.

Rationale for the Score of 3 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 3 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 3

Annotation for Score of 3 Sample Response
Responds generally to the parts of the question The response provides a general response to each part of the question.
A) identifies the two most important areas of the unit plan needing improvement; B) creates an exemplar for one of the identified areas; C) explains how to use the exemplar to coach the teacher in the area needing improvement.

Identifies generally appropriate educational leadership strategies that may contain minor errors to demonstrate an overall general understanding of the situation

Provides basic evidence that generally references the document(s) to show a reasonable understanding of the issues presented in the materials

The first important area needing improvement identified in this response is "Exit Tickets and TEKS are not well aligned, nor do they match up well in rigor." The response provides a justification for this area when it states, "In two of the Exit Ticket samples provided, students are only asked to solve the equation, however TEKS requires students to not only solve equations, but to model real world problems."

The second important area needing improvement identified in this response is "Pacing of objectives of the Teacher-Created Unit does not reflect rigor of the skills presented." The response provides a specific justification for this area when it states, "Looking at the scope and sequence . . . the introductory skill of one-variable equations with variables on both sides was going to be the focus for the first 3 days and the progressively more difficult skills that followed were only given a day each."

The first justification is general because the response fails to cite specific evidence from the documents to support this area. The second justification is stronger because it provides more specific evidence from the documents.
When required, provides actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need that are mostly appropriate and demonstrate a general understanding of the situation

Provides a general explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response
The response then provides a specific exemplar that can be used to provide a high-quality example of an appropriate pacing of objectives.
"Day 1: Solve one-variable equations with variables on both sides.
Day 2: Solve one-variable inequalities with variables on both sides.
Day 3: Solve one-variable equations and inequalities with variables on both sides.
Day 4–5: Solve real-world problems that represent one-variable equations and inequalities with variables on both sides.
Day 6–7: Model and solve one-variable equations and inequalities with variables on both sides."

The response provides a general explanation of how the exemplar could be used to coach the teacher in the area needing improvement when it states, "Ms. Franz can have the teachers analyze the rigor of the daily objectives compared to the number of days of instruction. She can then use his exemplar as a model to help them create more appropriate unit pacing in the future." However, the explanation lacks sufficient detail to determine specifically how the exemplar will be used to help address the area needing improvement.
Shows general alignment within the response to different parts of the question

Of the two important areas of improvement identified, the response selected "Pacing of objectives of the Teacher-Created Unit does not reflect rigor of the skills presented" to create an exemplar. There is general alignment between the selected area in need of improvement, the exemplar, and the less than detailed and specific explanation.

Overall, the response demonstrates a general understanding of how to facilitate the development of and implementation of a rigorous curriculum that aligns with state standards. The response receives a score of 3 because overall the response demonstrates a general understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 3 Sample Response

What evidence is presented in the scenario and documents that would provide more specific evidence to justify the two areas identified as needing improvement in the unit plan?

What makes the exemplar in this response a high-quality example of the identified area needing improvement?

How could the explanation be improved to provide a detailed and insightful explanation of how the exemplar could be used to coach the teacher in the area needing improvement?

Sample Response Earning a Score of 2

A
1. The days that the exit tickets are being administered to students are not appropriate. Exit tickets should assess new learning that has been presented to students. This exit ticket schedule does not match the skills being covered and teachers won't know if reteaching needs to be done until they have already moved on to other skills.
2. The pacing of the scope and sequence provided in the Teacher-Created Mathematics Unit is not appropriate for the skills being taught. The least difficult skill being covered is taking three times as long to teach than the more difficult skills the follow.

B–The assessment portion of the unit plan needs to be rewritten so that exit tickets occur at the end of each lesson. The unit plan should clearly indicate that the schedule of exit ticket assessments are done each day so that student mastery of the daily objectives can be assessed. These exit tickets should be developed so that they provide a true assessment as to whether or not the students mastered the skill. Otherwise, how would the teacher know whether or not the class was ready to move on to the next skill or which students needed remediation on that skill.

C–Ms. Franz should model the example of her daily lesson exit ticket schedule, so her teachers know what her expectations are. She could also ensure that professional development is provided to her teachers on how to create appropriate daily lesson exit tickets. In addition, Ms. Franz should require all teachers to include exit tickets in their lesson plans and provide copies for her inspection periodically.

Rationale for the Score of 2 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 2 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 2
Annotation for Score of 2 Sample Response
Responds partially to some parts of the question

The response provides a partial response to some parts of the question.
A) identifies the two areas of the unit plan needing improvement; B) partially creates an exemplar for one of the identified areas; C) fails to explain how to use the exemplar to coach the teacher in the area needing improvement.
Identifies limited or flawed educational leadership strategies that may contain misconceptions that detract from the demonstration of an overall limited understanding of the situation

Provides limited evidence that may vaguely reference the document(s) to show a flawed understanding of the issues presented in the materials

The first area of the unit plan needing improvement identified in this response is "The days that the exit tickets are being administered to students are not appropriate." While the response identifies this as an area needing improvement, it lacks the detail and specificity needed to determine what exactly needs to be improved. The response weakly justifies this area by stating, "This exit ticket schedule does not match the skills being covered and teachers won't know if reteaching needs to be done until they have already moved on to other skills." However, the response does not specifically cite evidence from the documents to justify this area.

The second area identified as needing improvement is "The pacing of the scope and sequence provided in the Teacher-Created Mathematics Unit is not appropriate for the skills being taught." Again, this identified area lacks the detail and specificity needed to determine what exactly needs to be improved. The response then weakly justifies this area by stating, "The least difficult skill being covered is taking three times as long to teach than the more difficult skills the follow." Again, the response does not specifically cite evidence from the documents to justify this area.

Both areas needing improvement, as identified by the response, are low-priority areas and show a limited understanding. The response does not address the most important areas needing improvement to ensure a rigorous curriculum that aligns with state standards, as assessed on the state-mandated assessment.

When required, provides actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need that are partially accurate and demonstrate gaps or misconceptions in overall understanding of the situation

Provides a simplistic explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response
This response fails to provide a detailed and specific exemplar that can be used to demonstrate a high-quality example of an identified area in need of improvement. Rather the response only provides a description of an exemplar when it states, "The assessment portion of the unit plan needs to be rewritten so that exit tickets occur at the end of each lesson. The unit plan should clearly indicate that the schedule of exit ticket assessments are done each day so that student mastery of the daily objectives can be assessed." The remainder of the exemplar provided in the response does not address the exit ticket schedule, but rather addresses the development of appropriate exit tickets.

The response concludes by providing a weak explanation for how the exemplar could be used to coach the teacher in the area needing improvement when it states, "Ms. Franz should model the example of her daily lesson exit ticket schedule, so her teachers know what her expectations are." The response then goes on to state, "She could also ensure that professional development is provided to her teachers on how to create appropriate daily lesson exit tickets. In addition, Ms. Franz should require all teachers to include exit tickets in their lesson plans and provide copies for her inspection periodically." However, these two statements are not an appropriate explanation for how the exemplar of the exit ticket schedule could be used to coach the teacher. Rather they are addressing the development of appropriate exit tickets.

Overall, the rationales provided are simplistic because the response does not address any high-priority area that would focus on improving the alignment of the unit to the TEKS and the rigor shown in the state-mandated assessments.
Shows partial alignment within the response to different parts of the question

Of the two important areas of improvement identified, the response selected "The days that the exit tickets are being administered to students are not appropriate" to create an exemplar. While the selected area in need of improvement, the exemplar, and the explanation are related to each other, the alignment is partial because both the exemplar and the explanation demonstrate some misalignment between the components by focusing on expectations and how to create exit tickets.

Overall, the response demonstrates a limited understanding of how to facilitate the development of and implementation of a rigorous curriculum that aligns with state standards. The response receives a score of 2 because overall the response demonstrates a limited understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 2 Sample Response

What evidence is presented in the scenario and documents that would provide more specific evidence to justify the two areas identified as needing improvement in the unit plan? Are there other more important areas needing improvement?

What would be an exemplar that could be used to demonstrate a high-quality example of the unit plan assessment schedule?

What would be an appropriate explanation for how an assessment schedule exemplar could be used to coach the teacher?

Sample Response Earning a Score of 1

Area 1 needing improvement — When I look at the unit plan, I am not sure that the pacing provided is appropriate for the skills being taught and whether or not ample time for instruction is planned so that the students will be able to master the TEKS skills being taught. It might help if the pacing portion of the plan included activities that the teachers could use in each lesson.

Area 2 needing improvement — The other thing that I notice when I look at the unit plan is that the state questions have 2 questions on objective A and 2 questions on objective B. However, the exit ticket looks like it has 4 questions on objective A and only 1 question on objective B. This shows a lack of alignment that needs to be addressed.

Ms. Franz should work with the new teachers on how to write lesson plans and create lessons that include rigorous activities that are aligned with the TEKS objectives and the exit tickets. These exemplar lesson plans would provide the teachers with a model that they could use to create quality plans that would serve to guide their daily instruction and help to ensure student mastery on a consistent basis.

Rationale for the Score of 1 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 1 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 1
Annotation for Score of 1 Sample Response
Fails to respond to most parts of the question

The response fails to respond to most parts of the question.
A) fails to identify the two most important areas of the unit plan needing improvement; B) fails to create an exemplar for one of the identified areas; C) fails to explain how to use the exemplar to coach the teacher in the area needing improvement.
Identifies weak or ineffective educational leadership strategies that contain serious misconceptions to demonstrate an overall weak understanding of the situation

Provides inappropriate evidence or little or no evidence to show weak understanding of the issues presented in the materials
The first area of the unit plan needing improvement identified in this response is "I am not sure that the pacing provided is appropriate for the skills being taught and whether or not ample time for instruction is planned so that the students will be able to master the TEKS skills being taught." However, the response fails to cite any evidence from the documents provided to justify this area as required by the prompt.

The second area of the unit plan needing improvement identified in this response is ". . . the state questions have 2 questions on objective A and 2 questions on objective B. However, the exit ticket looks like it has 4 questions on objective A and only 1 question on objective B. This shows a lack of alignment that needs to be addressed." While the response identifies this as an area needing improvement, it shows little or no understanding of how to develop and implement a rigorous curriculum that aligns with state standards. The response provides a weak justification for the area in need of improvement because it only compares the number of questions from the exit ticket to the state assessment.
When required, fails to provide actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need or provides actions that are inappropriate and that demonstrate little or no understanding of the situation

Provides little or no explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response that may contain serious misconceptions
The response then states that "Ms. Franz should work with the new teachers on how to write lesson plans and create lessons that include rigorous activities that are aligned with the TEKS objectives and the exit tickets." This description of an activity is not an exemplar, and it is not appropriate for either of the identified areas in need of improvement.

The response concludes by attempting to explain how the "exemplar[s]" could be used to coach the teacher in the area needing improvement when it states, "These exemplar lesson plans would provide the teachers with a model that they could use to create quality plans that would serve to guide their daily instruction and help to ensure student mastery on a consistent basis." However, since the response does not provide an exemplar of an important area needing improvement, the explanation has little or no merit regarding how the exemplar could be used to coach the teacher.
Shows misalignment within the response to different parts of the question This response demonstrates a misalignment between the areas identified as needing improvement, the exemplar referenced, and the explanation because it is unclear which of the areas needing improvement the exemplar represents and is followed by a vague explanation about a different topic.

Overall, the response demonstrates little or no understanding of how to facilitate the development of and implementation of a rigorous curriculum that aligns with state standards. The response receives a score of 1 because overall the response demonstrates little or no understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 1 Sample Response

Based on the scenario and documents provided, what two important areas of the unit plan would you identify as needing improvement? What justification would you cite from the documents provided?

What would be an appropriate exemplar that you could use to demonstrate a high-quality example of one of the areas you identify as needing improvement?

What would be an appropriate explanation for how the exemplar could be used to coach the teacher in the area needing improvement?

Constructed-Response Question 3

The third constructed-response question illustrates a type of question found on the exam. It is not, however, representative of the entire scope of the exam in either content or difficulty. Sample answers with rationales for the score points follow the question.

This question assesses the following knowledge and skills.
The entry-level principal supports staff in effectively using instructional data, including formative and summative assessment data, to inform effective instructional practices and interventions (Domain II).

Preparing for this Item Type and Content

During preparation for the assessment, candidates should enhance their knowledge, skills, and mind-set around analyzing teacher assessments for rigor, aligning teacher assessment to unit and lesson plans, modeling and consistently engaging teachers in analyzing data to inform instruction, and building teachers' capacity to provide data-driven instruction.

General Directions

Candidates should read the constructed-response question carefully before beginning to write a response to ensure they understand all the parts of the question to be addressed. Candidates should think about how to organize their response before they begin writing.

Each response should conform to the conventions of standard written English. Each response should be original work, written in the candidate's own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work. Candidates may, however, use citations when appropriate.

Sample Question

Refer to the documents provided and respond to the question below.

Ms. Aguilar, a middle school principal, regularly meets one-on-one with teachers to complete data analysis. Tomorrow, Ms. Aguilar will meet with a sixth-grade reading teacher, Ms. Xang, to review student performance on a recent exit ticket.

Ms. Xang has been working with students on various aspects of understanding fiction by reading the novel The Wanderer by Sharon Creech. At the end of chapter 2, Ms. Xang administers an exit ticket to measure student understanding. To ensure a well-aligned and appropriate assessment, she uses some questions that were used on a recent state-mandated assessment.

After reviewing the results, Ms. Xang states that students are just making careless errors, and they really know the material better than the exit ticket results show. So, Ms. Aguilar considers how to help Ms. Xang continue to develop her understanding of data analysis to inform instruction.

To prepare for the meeting, Ms. Aguilar reviews the exit ticket results. Ms. Aguilar's goal is to work with Ms. Xang on ensuring the data analysis is used to inform the planning and delivery of upcoming lessons.

Documents

  1. Exit ticket results including Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and Ms. Xang's analysis and plan based on the results

Question

Ms. Aguilar wants to work with Ms. Xang to enhance her use of the data to improve instruction and student performance.

  1. What are TWO high-leverage questions that Ms. Aguilar should ask Ms. Xang to help improve her analysis of the data in order to improve her current plan?
  2. Explain how each question can be used to help inform Ms. Xang's instructional practice and improve student learning.

Be specific in your answers and cite evidence from the documents provided.

Exit Ticket Questions and Ms. Xang's Analysis & Plan

Exit Ticket Question 1

Read this sentence from the story.

He is a sweet man with a honey tongue and he is a teller of tales.

1. Why does the author include this description of Bompie?

  1. To show that Sophie knows only what she has been told about her grandfather
  2. To explain why Sophie's grandfather decided to move away
  3. To convey why Sophie is eager to see her grandfather (Answer Key)
  4. To explain that Sophie does not trust what her grandfather says

TEKS for Question 1
6.8 Students understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about how an author's sensory language creates imagery in literary text and provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students are expected to explain how authors create meaning through stylistic elements and figurative language emphasizing the use of personification, hyperbole, and refrains.

Item Analysis for Ms. Xang's Class

Option A–25%
Option B–0%
Option C–75% (Answer key)
Option D–0%

Teacher's Analysis of Students' Misconceptions

Students choosing option A are making a more literal interpretation of the text and not thinking about what it means to have a "honey tongue" or be a "teller of tales."

The underlying concept that students need more experience with is the author's use of theme to communicate meaning. If students understood what "a honey tongue" and being a "teller of tales" means, they would see that these are positive traits that would make Sophie eager to see her grandfather.

Teacher's Plan

I will teach the whole class a lesson on literary elements like similes, metaphors, and alliteration.

If my entire class can have a deeper understanding of these elements, they will better be able to get this type of question correct.

Exit Ticket Question 2

2. Who in the story do you think Sophie is most like and why? Use evidence from the text to support your position.

blank line

blank line

blank line

blank line

blank line

TEKS for Question 2
6.8 Students understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about how an author's sensory language creates imagery in literary text and provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students are expected to explain how authors create meaning through stylistic elements and figurative language emphasizing the use of personification, hyperbole, and refrains.

Item Analysis for Ms. Xang's Class

20% of students receive a score of 2 with an idea supported with strong text evidence.
50% of students receive a score of 1 because they have an appropriate idea but lack text evidence to support their position.
20% of students receive a score of 0 because they did not have a plausible idea or text evidence.
10% of students did not attempt to respond to the question.

Sample Student Responses for Question 2

Sample Student Response, Score of 2: Most kids are like one or the other of there parents, for obvious genetic reasons. You know, the "apple doesn't fall far from the tree." But Sophie's likeness goes even further because she is most like her grandfather. They both like sailing and living life through free adventures to the point she can be "hardheaded and impulsive." Sophie is adamant about sailing with her uncles, despite their attempts to dissuade her "mule-self begged a place aboard a forty-five foot sailboat." Like Bompie, her grandpa who will let "Nothing . . . stop him" when he was back to England "he made his mind and that was that." So, both Sophie and Bompie are very determined and make their dreams come true.

Sample Student Response, Score of 1: Sophie has several different sides to her personality, but I think she is most like her grandfather. Sophie is adamant about sailing across the ocean. This shows that she is determined and adventurous like her grandfather "Bompie." So, Sophie and Bompie are alike in their courageous and adventurous spirit.

Sample Student Response, Score of 0: I don't think Sophie is like her parints. She is 13 and they are adults so they don't really like the same things.

Scoring Rubric for Question 2

Score of 0 Score of 1 Score of 2
  • The idea is not an answer to the question
  • No idea is present
  • Idea is too general or vague to determine whether it is reasonable
  • The idea is not based on the text
  • Hard to read because of errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar
  • The idea answers the question
  • The idea is reasonable but no text evidence is present
  • An idea is present but text evidence is flawed
  • The idea is only a literal reading of the text
  • Readable, but with some errors in spelling, punctuation
  • The idea answers the question and goes beyond literal reading of the text
  • The response provides specific, appropriate textual evidence to support the idea
  • The idea and text evidence are clearly linked based on the text
  • Easy to read and understand, attention to spelling, punctuation and grammar

Teacher's Analysis of Students' Misconceptions

This type of open-ended question is really hard for students. I only had a few that could present an idea and then support it with text. 50% had an appropriate idea, but no text evidence.

I have worked on this by giving students a general statement about a character and asking them to support or refute it by providing specific statements from the text. My goal is that this activity will make them more aware of the ways an author builds characterization using descriptions and actions.

Teacher's Plan

I will go over this question with the class and have students highlight the main ideas in the text that address Sophie's personality.

We will do this again for text in chapters 3 and 4 as well to reinforce the concept.

Suggested Approach

When responding to a constructed-response question, consider the following cognitive process strategies.

Cognitive Process Questions for Candidates

What knowledge and skills does the question intend to assess?

  • Domain VII, Integration C, assesses a portion of Domain II—The principal supports staff to effectively use instructional data, including formative and summative assessment data, to inform effective instructional practices and interventions.

What is the context of the question?

  • A middle school principal meets with a sixth-grade reading teacher.
  • The principal plans to help a teacher continue to develop the teacher's understanding of analysis of exit ticket data to inform instruction.

What is the primary decision or issue to be addressed?

  • After analyzing the exit ticket results, you need to identify two high-leverage questions the principal should ask the teacher to improve the teacher's analysis of the data and to help inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning.

How can you apply your knowledge of best practices to answer this question?

  • You can consider best practices in data analysis, including reviewing item analysis, identifying student misconceptions, and looking for trends in student performance.
  • You can consider how to analyze a knowledge and skill statement to determine what is being assessed and what the level of expectation is for student mastery.
  • You can consider how to review student sample responses for performance levels and common characteristics and misconceptions.
  • You can consider best practices for addressing student misconception and determining appropriate interventions.
  • You can consider the characteristics of a high-leverage coaching question and how to craft the question to meet an intended purpose.
  • You can consider the purpose of the high-leverage question(s) and how they can be used to help the teacher in this and other situations.

How does evidence from the scenario support your conclusion?

  • You should ensure the identified specific pieces of evidence can convince the reader of the importance of the high-leverage questions identified.
  • You should ensure you have specifically referenced the evidence from the scenario by document and quotation, if helpful to the reader.
Test-Taking Strategies for Candidates

How can you pace yourself so that you finish within the suggested time frame?

  • You will note the time when you begin and when you finish your response.
  • You will consider ways to streamline your process.

How can you rephrase the question in your own words to ensure you understand it?

  • The question has two parts: A and B.
  • Part A asks you to identify two important coaching questions that the principal can ask the teacher to make the teacher's interpretation and conclusions from the data stronger so that the teacher's plan is more effective. The directions require you to cite specific evidence from the documents.
  • Part B asks you to explain how each question will help the teacher improve her teaching practices and enhance student learning.

What are the key phrases presented in the question?

  • "To ensure a well-aligned and appropriate assessment, she uses some questions that were... recent state-mandated assessment."
  • "Two high-leverage questions ... improve her analysis of the data"
  • "used to help inform ... instructional practice and improve student learning"

What is the important scenario information provided to support the question?

  • The exit ticket results are provided, which include the TEKS, the teacher's analysis, and the plan based on the results.

What would a brief plan or sketch of your response points look like?
High-leverage question 1
Evidence
Evidence
Explanation for question 1

High-leverage question 2
Evidence
Evidence
Explanation for question 2

After reviewing the scenario and documents, what evidence can you identify to support the areas you plan to address?

  • You can confirm that you have selected strong points with convincing evidence to support your justification and explanation.

How can you write your response concisely and completely?

  • You can answer all parts of the question.
  • You can base your response on the scenario and documents.
  • You can cite evidence from the scenario and documents to support your response.

How can you ensure your response is clear and understandable from the reader's perspective?

  • Although not required, you can use bullets or lettering for the parts of your response.
  • You can make ensure your response clearly communicates your intended message in clear language.
  • You do not need to have a perfectly written essay to earn a high score. You should focus on the content you write and the accuracy of the evidence and explanations or justifications you provide.
  • You can compare your response to the attributes of the scoring rubric.

How should you approach your testing time?

  • As an estimate, you can allocate about 25–35 minutes for this constructed-response question.
  • You can consider how much of the estimated time you are using to complete your response.
  • If you are completing your response at the upper end of the time range, it is suggested to look for opportunities to streamline your process to help move your time closer to the lower end of the time range.

Sample Responses and Rationales for Question 3

During preparation, candidates should review the following sample responses using the criteria provided in the scoring rubric. The scoring rubric is divided into two sections: 1) completeness and 2) quality. Candidates should consider the extent to which the response exhibits the attributes provided in each bulleted section of the scoring rubric.

Candidates should consider the extent to which each response answers all parts of the question: A) two high-leverage questions to help improve the teacher's plan; and B) an explanation of how each question helps inform the teacher's instructional practice and improves student learning.

Sample Response Earning a Score of 4

How did you use the data for question 1 to determine the content students didn't understand and use that to inform your plan?

This question seeks to help the teacher see that 75% of the class got this question correct, so small-group instruction may be more appropriate. 25% of the students chose option A, a response that doesn't show they understand what the specific language in this question ("Honey tongue," "teller of tales") means. So the use of literary elements to communicate meaning to the reader is something that the student who chose option A need more instruction in, not theme, as noted by the teacher in her analysis. By targeting her reteach to the correct group of students, and by focusing on literary elements, the reteach will target the appropriate students and the content that the students are struggling with for question 1. The process of looking at item analysis data in this way will help the teacher develop the practice of data-driven analysis that can make each lesson more impactful for learning.

On question 2, how well do you think students demonstrated the ability to use textual evidence to support their claim, and how could you improve your plan to highlight the main ideas in the text to address this area of need?

This question will help the teacher share that the data shows that 50% of the class didn't go back to the text to find information that directly reinforces what they want to say. This coaching question helps the teacher understand that question 2 requires students to draw inferences from sensory language, and then use text evidence to support their thinking. The sample score of 1 shows only a direct quote of "Bompie", the grandfather's name which doesn't appropriately support the response. This half of the class would benefit from instruction on identifying, quoting, and paraphrasing text evidence to support a claim, rather than highlighting the main ideas in the text that address Sophie's personality. Ms. Xang should focus on other high-leverage strategies for textual evidence.

Helping the teacher gain knowledge of what students don't understand from question 1 and 2, improves her planning by using the data to better understand student learning. Tailoring her instruction to those areas, will make her reteach more effective and improve student learning.

Rationale for the Score of 4 Sample Response

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 4
Annotation for Score of 4 Sample Response
Responds fully to all parts of the question

The response provides a complete response to each part of the question.
A) two high-leverage questions to help improve the teacher's plan; and B) an explanation of how each question helps inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning.
Identifies detailed and specific educational leadership strategies that will be highly effective in addressing the situation to demonstrate an overall in-depth understanding of the situation This response identifies two high-leverage questions. The first high-leverage question is "How did you use the data for question 1 to determine the content students didn't understand and use that to inform your plan?" The second high-leverage question is "On question 2, how well do you think students demonstrated the ability to use textual evidence to support their claim, and how could you improve your plan to highlight the main ideas in the text to address this area of need?"
Provides specific and convincing evidence, including a specific citation of the document(s) provided to show a thorough understanding of the issues presented in the materials



Provides a detailed and insightful explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response
The response fully justifies the first question by citing specific evidence from the documents, "... 75% of the class got this question correct, so small-group instruction may be more appropriate. 25% of the students chose option A, a response that doesn't show they understand what the specific language ... means. So the use of literary elements to communicate meaning to the reader is something that the student who chose option A need more instruction in, not theme, as noted ..."

The response fully justifies the second question by also citing specific evidence from the documents, "... 50% of the class didn't go back to the text to find information that directly reinforces what they want to say."

The response explains how the principal can use the first question to help inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning by stating, "By targeting her reteach ... and by focusing on literary elements, the reteach will target the appropriate students and the content that the students are struggling with for question 1. The process of looking at item analysis data in this way will help the teacher develop the practice of data-driven analysis ..."

The response explains how the principal can use the second question to help inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning by stating, "... helps the teacher understand that question 2 requires students to draw inferences from sensory language, and then use text evidence ... The sample score of 1 shows only a direct quote of "Bompie", the grandfather's name which doesn't appropriately support the response. This half of the class would benefit from instruction on identifying, quoting, and paraphrasing text evidence to support a claim, rather than highlighting the main ideas ... Ms. Xang should focus on other high-leverage strategies for textual evidence."

The response goes on to provide additional explanation for both questions in the final paragraph when it states, "Helping the teacher gain knowledge of what students don't understand from question 1 and 2, improves her planning by using the data to better understand student learning. Tailoring her instruction to those areas, will make her reteach more effective and improve student learning."
Shows complete alignment within the response to different parts of the question There is complete alignment between the two high-leverage questions identified, the clear evidence provided to support each of the questions, and the detailed and specific explanations for how both questions will be used to help inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning.

Overall, the response demonstrates a thorough understanding of how to support staff to effectively use instructional data, including formative and summative assessment data, to inform effective instructional practices and intervention. The response receives a score of 4 because overall the response demonstrates a thorough understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Candidates should note that the second attribute of the scoring rubric is not used in the scoring of this question. This attribute, which was not used, begins with "when required, provides actions ..." This attribute of the scoring rubric is not required for this particular question.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 4 Sample Response

Based on the scenario and documents provided, what makes the two questions in this response high-leverage, detailed, and specific?

Based on the scoring rubric, how does this candidate provide an accurate and high-quality response?

How does this response maintain complete alignment between each part of the question to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the information presented in the scenario?

Sample Response Earning a Score of 3

Ms. Aguilar could ask Ms. Xang, "Why do you think that few students chose the correct option in the first exit ticket question and what is your rationale for reteaching the lesson to the whole class?"
Depending on the teacher's response I would probe the effectiveness of reteaching literary elements to the entire class when many answered the question indicating that they understood the concept of sensory language and were able to move beyond a literal interpretation of the text.

As a result of my questioning the teacher could develop different instructional strategies for the portion of her students who need to develop a deeper understand beyond the literal interpretation of text. These strategies will help them to make inferences and draw conclusions about how theme may be used to communicate meaning. I would move on to making sure the teacher planning is also effective.

For the second question I would ask, "Why do you think so few students were able to respond to Exit Ticket Question 2 correctly?"

The majority of the students were unable to write a short answer that fully responded to the rubric and that demonstrated their understanding of the text beyond the literal level. The teacher should first do an individual analysis of each student's written responses to identify the errors and/or omissions. Based on this analysis plans should be developed for individual intervention, as needed.

Rationale for the Score of 3 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 3 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 3
Annotation for Score of 3 Sample Response
Responds generally to the parts of the question The response provides a general response to each part of the question.
A) two high-leverage questions to help improve the teacher's plan; and B) an explanation of how each question helps inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning.
Identifies generally appropriate educational leadership strategies that may contain minor errors that detract from the demonstration of an overall general understanding of the situation This response identifies two high-leverage questions. The first high-leverage question is "Why do you think that few students chose the correct option in the first exit ticket question and what is your rationale for reteaching the lesson to the whole class?" The second high-leverage question is "Why do you think so few students were able to respond to Exit Ticket Question 2 correctly?"
Provides basic evidence that generally references the document(s) to show a reasonable understanding of the issues presented in the materials

Provides a general explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response
The response provides a basic justification for the first question by generally referencing the documents, "... many answered the question indicating that they understood the concept of sensory language ..."

The response provides a basic justification for the second question by also citing evidence from the documents, "The majority of the students were unable to write a short answer that fully responded to the rubric and that demonstrated their understanding of the text beyond the literal level."

The response provides an explanation for how the principal can use the first question to help inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning by stating, "... the teacher could develop different instructional strategies for the portion of her students who need to develop a deeper understand beyond the literal interpretation of text. These strategies will help them to make inferences and draw conclusions about how theme may be used to communicate meaning."

The response provides a more general explanation for how the principal can use the second question to help inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning, "The teacher should first do an individual analysis of each student's written responses to identify the errors and/or omissions. Based on this analysis plans should be developed for individual intervention, as needed."
Shows general alignment within the response to different parts of the question The response states that the principal would "move on to making sure the teacher planning is also effective," which is vague and does not support the two targeted questions or their intended purpose.

So, there is general alignment between the two high-leverage questions identified, the evidence provided to support each of the questions, and the general explanations for how both questions will be used to help inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning.

Overall, the response demonstrates a general understanding of how to support staff to effectively use instructional data, including formative and summative assessment data, to inform effective instructional practices and intervention. The response receives a score of 3 because overall the response demonstrates a general understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Candidates should note that the second attribute of the scoring rubric is not used in the scoring of this question. This attribute, which was not used in scoring, begins with "when required, provides actions ..." This attribute is not required for this question.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 3 Sample Response

What additional evidence is provided in the scenario and documents that would provide more specific and convincing evidence to support the two high-leverage questions identified?

What makes the two questions identified in this response high-leverage questions?

How could the two explanation paragraphs of this response be improved in order to provide a more detailed explanation for how the questions would help improve the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning?

Sample Response Earning a Score of 2

First, I would ask the teacher, "Why are you planning to reteach to the whole class when only 25% of the class answered the question incorrectly?" The exit ticket analysis shows that the class isn't having trouble with this question really, they're getting to 75%, the desired level by choosing the correct answer.

Second, I would ask the teacher, "Do you think that your students are having difficulty going beyond a literal interpretation of the text?" I think the students are making a more literal interpretation of the text and this is causing them learning difficulties.

I would support the teacher's plan to do a whole class reteach on the importance of theme and how some authors present this in their writing. I would also suggest some additional activities to help students understand inference so they can go beyond a literal interpretation of an author's work.

In addition, I would suggest the teacher provide examples of open-ended responses to text that focus on understanding theme and sensory language.

Rationale for the Score of 2 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 2 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 2
Annotation for Score of 2 Sample Response
Responds partially to some parts of the question The response provides a partial response to some parts of the question.
A) two questions to help improve the teacher's plan; and B) a general explanation of how each question helps inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning.
Identifies limited or flawed educational leadership strategies that may contain misconceptions to demonstrate an overall limited understanding of the situation This response identifies two general questions, one being a closed-ended question. The first question identified is "Why are you planning to reteach to the whole class when only 25% of the class answered the question incorrectly?"

The second question identified is "Do you think that your students are having difficulty going beyond a literal interpretation of the text?"
Provides limited evidence that may vaguely reference the document(s) to show a flawed understanding of the issues presented in the materials



Provides a simplistic explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response
The response provides a limited justification for the first question by vaguely referencing evidence from the documents, "The exit ticket analysis shows that the class isn't having trouble with this question really, they're getting to 75%, the desired level by choosing the correct answer."

The response also provides a basic justification for the second question by restating the text from the documents, which is used to compose the question being asked, "... the students are making a more literal interpretation of the text ..."

The response provides a limited explanation for how the principal can use both questions to help inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning by providing the following simplistic suggestions, "I would also suggest some additional activities to help students understand inference so they can go beyond a literal interpretation of an author's work. In addition, I would suggest the teacher provide examples of open-ended responses to text that focus on understanding theme and sensory language," which the teacher has already included on the exit ticket.

The statement that the principal would "... support the teacher's plan to do a whole class reteach on the importance of theme ..." is considered to be inappropriate and demonstrates a flawed understanding since theme is not the underlying concept being misunderstood by the students.
Shows partial alignment within the response to different parts of the question The response provides a partial alignment between the two general questions identified, the evidence provided to support the questions, and the limited explanation for how both questions will be used to help inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning. The explanatory statement that the principal would support the teacher's plan to do a whole class reteach is misaligned with the identified questions.

Overall, the response demonstrates a limited understanding of how to support staff to effectively use instructional data, including formative and summative assessment data, to inform effective instructional practices and intervention. The response receives a score of 2 because overall the response demonstrates a limited understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Candidates should note that the second attribute of the scoring rubric is not used in the scoring of this question. This attribute, which is not used in scoring, begins with "when required, provides actions ..." This attribute is not required for this question.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 2 Sample Response

Based on the scenario and documents provided, how could the two identified questions be improved to make them more detailed and specific?

What additional evidence from the scenario and documents provided could be cited to justify the appropriateness of the two questions?

How could the final paragraph of the response be improved in order to provide a more detailed and insightful explanation for how the questions will help inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning?

Sample Response Earning a Score of 1

It is important to open a coaching session with kudos to the teacher. This teacher is going a nice job making sure she uses summative assessment to guide student learning and should be commended for this work.

The open-ended question is excellent and will advance student learning. These comments will start the session off on a positive note.

Question 1 –
After looking at the students' responses to the exit ticket questions, how do you believe the students could improve their understanding of literary elements and characterization?

Question 2 –
Why did you choose the novel, The Wanderer to read since it was obviously too difficult for the students to understand?

These two questions will give the teacher time to reflect on her exit ticket questions and also determine whether or not there is a more appropriate novel that could be used to better teach this lesson.

Rationale for the Score of 1 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 1 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 1

Annotation for Score of 1 Sample Response
Fails to respond to most parts of the question The response fails to respond to most parts of the question.
A) two questions to help improve the teacher's plan, but the response fails to cite any evidence from the documents provided; and B) little explanation of how each question helps inform the teacher's instructional practice and improve student learning.
Identifies weak or ineffective educational leadership strategies that contain serious misconceptions to demonstrate an overall weak understanding of the situation The response identifies two questions, one general and one inappropriate.

The first question identified is considered to be general, "After looking at the students' responses to the exit ticket questions, how do you believe the students could improve their understanding of literary elements and characterization?"

The second question identified, "Why did you choose the novel, The Wanderer to read since it was obviously too difficult for the students to understand?" is considered to be inappropriate since there is no evidence cited in the documents that would indicate that the novel is too difficult for the students.
Provides inappropriate evidence or little or no evidence to show weak understanding of the issues presented in the materials

Provides little or no explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response that may contain serious misconceptions
The response fails to cite any evidence from the documents to justify the appropriateness of the two identified questions.

The response provides little explanation for both identified questions when it states, "These two questions will give the teacher time to reflect on her exit ticket questions..."

However, the response provides an inappropriate explanation when it states, "... determine whether or not there is a more appropriate novel that could be used to better teach this lesson."
Shows misalignment within the response to different parts of the question The responses starts with information on opening the coaching session that is unrelated to the questions asked and introduces a misconception that an exit ticket is a "summative assessment to guide student learning ..."

This response shows partial alignment between the first identified question and explanation. The second question and explanation is considered to be misaligned because there is no information in the documents that indicate that the novel is too difficult for the students.

Overall, the response demonstrates little or no understanding of how to support staff to effectively use instructional data, including formative and summative assessment data, to inform effective instructional practices and intervention. The response receives a score of 1 because overall the response demonstrates little or no understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Candidates should note that the second attribute of the scoring rubric is not used in the scoring of this question. This attribute, which is not used in scoring, begins with "when required, provides actions ..." This attribute is not required for this question.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 1 Sample Response

Based on the scenario and documents provided, why would the question "Why did you choose the novel, "The Wanderer" to read since ...?" not be considered an appropriate question for the principal to ask the teacher?

Based on the scenario and documents provided, what would be a more appropriate question for the principal to ask the teacher in order to help improve the teacher's analysis of the data? How could this be used to improve the teacher's current plan?

What specific evidence from the scenario and documents provided could be cited to support the first identified question?

Constructed-Response Question 4

The fourth constructed-response question illustrates a type of question found on the exam. It is not, however, representative of the entire scope of the exam in either content or difficulty. Sample answers with rationales for the score points follow the question.

This question assesses the following knowledge and skills.
The entry-level principal creates a positive, collaborative, and equitable culture that establishes and communicates high, consistent expectations for all stakeholders and addresses barriers to ensure achievement of campus initiatives and goals (Domain I).

General Directions

Candidates should read the constructed-response question carefully before beginning to write a response to ensure they understand all the parts of the question to be addressed. Candidates should think about how to organize their response before they begin writing.

Each response should conform to the conventions of standard written English. Each response should be original work, written in the candidate's own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work. Candidates may, however, use citations when appropriate.

Sample Question

Refer to the documents provided and respond to the question.

Ms. Davis is preparing to begin her new position as the principal of Colson Elementary School. Colson is located in an urban setting and currently enrolls 562 students from kindergarten through grade 5. The campus has a culturally diverse student population, which is representative of the greater community. The student population is approximately 21 percent African American, 41 percent Hispanic, and 23 percent White. Approximately 9 percent of the student population is distributed across other demographic groups. Approximately 8 percent of students receive special education services, 74 percent qualify as economically disadvantaged, and 16 percent are English learners. Colson has struggled to keep pace with state averages on the STAAR assessments. Parent/guardian and community involvement is low.

During her orientation, Ms. Davis learns that historically, Colson's performance on reading assessments has been well below state averages. The school purchased a new, research-based reading program at the end of the previous school year, and the superintendent communicates the expectation that the new program should be implemented this year. To better understand this issue and the overall culture of Colson, Ms. Davis reads a message from her predecessor, reviews reading assessment results, and considers the results of faculty and parent/guardian surveys.

Documents

  1. E-mail from previous principal
  2. Campus STAAR performance data: Reading
  3. Reading skill diagnostic results, grades K–2
  4. Faculty survey
  5. Parent/guardian survey

Question

Ms. Davis wants to ensure that all students are valued and given the support that they need to achieve academic success at Colson Elementary School. She considers the conditions that contribute to a positive school culture, the barriers that might exist to establishing and maintaining a positive school culture, and the actions that can overcome such barriers.

  1. Based on the information provided and your understanding of school culture, what is the most pressing, immediate need to address in this scenario? Justify your selection.
  2. Describe a multistep plan Ms. Davis should implement to address this need.
  3. Explain why this plan would be effective for creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission.

Be very specific in your answer and cite evidence from the documents provided.

E-mail from Previous Principal

Dear Ms. Davis,

Welcome to Colson Elementary School! I think you will enjoy working at this campus. Overall the staff is highly committed to student learning, and we have wonderful children and families. I have tried to leave everything in order for you. I've left notes in files describing the work being done on various projects.

I did want to bring to your attention an issue around our reading program. As you will see, our school has performed well below state averages in reading for several years. Last fall, I convened a committee that included our most forward-looking teachers, parents/guardians, and a district curriculum specialist to look at our instructional resources for reading. The committee recommended purchasing a new reading program, and the leadership team spent the spring working with the district to identify a program and allocate the needed funding. I'm happy to report that this work is complete. The new program reflects the current research on reading instruction, with an emphasis on explicit instruction in phonological/phonemic awareness and phonics in early grades, as well as rich, leveled reading materials across grades and content areas. The strategic plan calls for the new program to be implemented this year.

However, some of our teachers were very upset at the decision to purchase this program. These teachers are typically proponents of a whole-language approach to reading instruction. I heard numerous complaints about the program's emphasis on phonics, which was perceived as forcing remediation into their classrooms. I wanted you to be aware of this, because a few teachers insisted that they would not teach the phonics portions of the program.

I do not want to present a negative picture of our campus. As I said, overall Colson is a good school. The one significant problem that I can think of is this reading instruction issue. I am confident you can work with the faculty to earn everyone's commitment to the new program.

Best of luck!

Campus STAAR Performance Data: Reading
Percentage at Approaches Grade Level or Above (previous year)
Student Groups Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
State School State School State School
All 77% 63% 73% 63% 84% 66%
African American 66% 53% 61% 52% 75% 58%
Hispanic 74% 64% 68% 61% 81% 65%
White 87% 69% 84% 74% 91% 73%
Special Education 73% 48% 46% 46% 55% 41%
Economically Disadvantaged 71% 65% 65% 60% 79% 59%
English Learner 52% 47% 66% 50% 80% 52%
Campus STAAR Performance Data: Reading
Percentage at Meets Grade Level or Above (previous year)
Student Groups Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
State School State School State School
All 43% 35% 46% 33% 54% 29%
African American 30% 25% 34% 24% 41% 18%
Hispanic 37% 34% 39% 31% 47% 27%
White 57% 42% 59% 42% 67% 38%
Special Education 28% 17% 29% 17% 30% 14%
Economically Disadvantaged 33% 30% 35% 27% 43% 23%
English Learner 35% 27% 37% 26% 46% 23%
Reading Skill Diagnostic Results, Grades K–2 (previous year)
(Table displays average percentile rank of campus students as compared to state)
Reading Skill Average Percentile Rank by Grade
Kindergarten Grade 1 Grade 2
Phonological / Phonemic Awareness 44 41 Not Assessed
Phonics: Word Recognition 38 36 35
Text Comprehension: Listening 52 49 Not Assessed
Text Comprehension: Reading Not Assessed 40 38
Fluency Not Assessed 41 38
Vocabulary 36 35 32
Faculty Survey (previous year)
(93.8% responding)
Statements Percent Agreeing or Strongly Agreeing
  1. My school has a well-defined mission that drives all decisions.
82.2%
  1. My school is a safe place for teaching and learning.
88.8%
  1. I feel supported by my colleagues at school.
73.3%
  1. Communication between administration and faculty is open, timely, and informative.
68.8%
  1. Teachers at this school collaborate regularly to plan curriculum and share instructional practices.
62.2%
  1. Faculty at this school agree on curriculum decisions, instructional practices, and teaching resources.
51.1%
  1. Professional development at this school is relevant and directly impacts my teaching.
60%
  1. Teachers at this school hold all students to high academic and behavior standards.
84.4%
  1. Teachers at this school have the resources that they need to teach the curriculum.
86.6%
  1. Parents/guardians at this school support their child's academic progress.
71.1%

Views expressed by 3 or more respondents in the open-ended comment section of the survey:

  • I don't agree with the purchase of our new reading materials.
  • It's frustrating that some of my colleagues do not keep up with research. Old ways of teaching may work for some kids, but they do not work for a lot of our students.
  • Children learn to read best by exposure to leveled text, not being drilled on phonics.
  • I'd like to see the faculty come together on our philosophy for teaching reading.
Parent/Guardian Survey (previous year)
(administered in English and Spanish; 56% of households responding)
Statements Percent Agreeing or Strongly Agreeing
  1. My child enjoys going to school.
80%
  1. My child is safe at school.
83%
  1. My child's teachers care about my child and understand my child's learning needs.
68%
  1. My child receives high-quality instruction at this school.
71%
  1. My child's teachers hold all students to high academic and behavior standards.
72%
  1. It is easy to communicate with my child's teacher.
67%
  1. I feel well informed about the curriculum and about school events and procedures.
64%
  1. Teachers and school administration listen when I have a question or concern.
69%
  1. Rules at this school are clear and fair.
83%
  1. I feel welcome at my child's school.
84%

Views expressed by 5 or more respondents in the open-ended comment section of the survey:

  • I like my child's school, but my child appears to be struggling with reading.
  • I'd like my child's teachers to focus more on teaching the basics.
  • The teachers mostly do a good job communicating. I am often too busy to talk much with my child's teachers.
  • I have so little time to help my child at home. I wish the school would help me make the most of the time I have.

Suggested Approach

When responding to a constructed-response question, candidates should consider the following cognitive process strategies.

Cognitive Process Questions for Candidates

What knowledge and skills does the question intend to assess?

  • Domain VII, Integration D, assesses a portion of Domain I—The principal creates a positive, collaborative, and equitable culture that establishes and communicates high, consistent expectations for all stakeholders and addresses barriers to ensure achievement of campus initiatives and goals.

What is the context of the question?

  • A superintendent communicates the expectation that a new reading program should be implemented this year.
  • The new principal plans to review various sources of data to better understand the needs and the overall culture of the school.

What is the primary decision or issue to be addressed?

  • You should identify the most pressing, immediate need so that you can create a multistep plan to address the need and explain how the plan is effective in creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission.

How can you apply your knowledge of best practices to answer this question?

  • You can consider best practices of understanding and creating positive school cultures.
  • You can consider the types of information and data that are most important to assist in identifying and addressing immediate needs.
  • You can consider the types of information and data that are less important.
  • You can consider the characteristics of a multistep plan that could be implemented to effectively address an identified need.
  • You can consider the relationship between the steps in a plan that would help the principal address the need.

How does evidence from the scenario support your conclusion?

  • You should ensure the identified specific pieces of evidence can convince the reader that the identified need must be addressed in this scenario.
  • You should specifically reference the evidence from the scenario by document and quotation, if helpful to the reader.
Test-Taking Strategies for Candidates

How can you pace yourself so that you finish within the suggested time frame?

  • You will note the time when you begin and when you finish your response.
  • You will consider ways to streamline your process.

How can you rephrase the question in your own words to ensure you understand it?

  • The question has three parts: A, B, and C.
  • Part A asks you to identify the most pressing immediate need that would need to be effectively addressed at the school. The directions require that the identified need be justified with a specific citation of evidence from the documents.
  • Part B asks you to describe a multistep plan to address the identified need.
  • Part C asks you to explain how the plan would be effective for creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission.

What are the key phrases presented in the question?

  • "identify the most pressing immediate need ... Justify your selection"
  • "Multistep plan ... to address the identified need"
  • "how the plan is effective ... creating positive culture...school's mission"

What is the important scenario information provided to support the question?

  • E-mail from previous principal
  • Campus STAAR performance data: Reading
  • Reading skill diagnostic results, grades K–2
  • Faculty survey
  • Parent/guardian survey

What would a brief plan or sketch of your response points look like?
Most pressing need
Evidence
Evidence
Evidence
Multistep plan to address the need
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Explanation of how the plan would be effective in creating a positive school culture

After reviewing the scenario and documents, what evidence can you identify to support the areas you plan to address?

  • You can confirm that you have selected strong points with convincing evidence to support your justification and explanation.

How can you write your response concisely and completely?

  • You can answer all parts of the question.
  • You can base your response on the scenario and documents.
  • You can cite evidence from the scenario and documents to support your response.

How can you ensure your response is clear and understandable from the reader's perspective?

  • Although not required, you can use bullets or lettering for the parts of your response.
  • You can make sure your response clearly communicates your intended message in clear language.
  • You do not need to have a perfectly written essay to earn a high score. You should focus on the content you write and the accuracy of the evidence and explanations or justifications you provide.
  • You can compare your response to the attributes of the scoring rubric.

How should you approach your testing time?

  • As an estimate, you can allocate about 25–35 minutes for this constructed-response question.
  • You can consider how much of the estimated time you are using to complete your response.
  • If you are completing your response at the upper end of the time range, it is suggested to look for opportunities to streamline your process to help move your time closer to the lower end of the time range.

Sample Responses and Rationales for Question 4

During preparation, candidates should review the following sample responses using the criteria provided in the scoring rubric. The scoring rubric is divided into two sections: 1) completeness and 2) quality. Candidates should consider the extent to which the response exhibits the attributes provided in each bulleted section of the scoring rubric.

Candidates should consider the extent to which each response answers all parts of the question: A) identifies the most pressing barrier to the change process and a justification for the barrier; B) describes a multistep plan to address the barrier; C) explains how the plan helps achieve the goal(s) of the strategic plan.

Sample Response Earning a Score of 4

The most pressing, immediate need to address is reading instruction. The Campus STAAR data indicates that the school is well below the State average in "Approaching Grade Level" and "Meets Grade Level" for all grades and demographics. The Reading Skills Inventory (K–2) also indicates below state performance in all categories.

Ms. Davis will need to develop a multi-step plan that includes the following steps:

  1. Complete a needs assessment to determine the conditions that contribute to a positive school culture and identify the barriers that currently exist. This is important so Ms. Davis can prioritize the most important areas to address in the short and long term. The Faculty Survey provides relevant information as 93.8% of the staff responded. Some areas to consider are the teacher's attitudes regarding the implementation of the new curriculum, the use of peer collaboration and planning, professional development opportunities, and the sense of or lack of school community. 82.2% of the faculty agree that the school has a well-defined mission, while only 62.2% agree that teachers collaborate regularly.
  2. Focus on the components of change management and provide support to teachers such as instructional coaching and professional development in professional learning communities and data-driven instruction. To address teacher resistance and overall discomfort with the change of curriculum, especially as she is the new principal, Ms. Davis should build relationships with her staff, students and parents. The Faculty Survey comment section indicates not all teachers were included in the committee, and only 51.1% agreed with their decision. Conducting crucial conversations, uncovering the root cause of resistance, and coaching through the levels of change will help to create buy-in and commitment.
  3. Create an implementation timeline to ensure key actions (PLC meetings, benchmarks, and data analysis) are taking place and progress checks are conducted systematically. This timeline can improve communication systems and their effectiveness, as only 68.8% of staff feel communication from admin is timely and on the Parent Survey, only 64% of parents felt well informed. Including the teachers in the development of the timeline will create ownership and help them implement the new reading curriculum with fidelity.

By focusing on the steps of this plan, Ms. Davis will effectively address the campus-wide need for improvement in reading. Additionally, this plan will help develop a culture, aligned with the mission, where all teachers and students are valued and given the support needed to achieve academic success.

Rationale for the Score of 4 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 4 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 4
Annotation for Score of 4 Sample Response
Responds fully to all parts of the question The response provides a complete response to each part of the question.
A) identifies the most pressing, immediate need in the scenario; B) describes a multistep plan to address the identified need; and C) explains why this plan would be effective for creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission.
Identifies detailed and specific educational leadership strategies that will be highly effective in addressing the situation to demonstrate an overall in-depth understanding of the situation

Provides specific and convincing evidence, including a specific citation of the document(s) provided, to show a thorough understanding of the issues presented in the materials
This response begins by identifying "reading instruction" as the most pressing immediate need. The response then fully justifies why this is a high-priority need by providing specific and convincing evidence found in the scenario and supporting documents stating, "... the Campus STAAR data indicates...well below the State average...for all grades and demographics." "...Reading Skills Inventory (K–2) also indicates below state performance in all categories".

The response further demonstrates an overall in-depth understanding of the situation by identifying potential barriers that may be contributing to the low reading performance. "Faculty Survey comment section indicates that ...only 51% agreed with their decision..." "...only 62.2% agree that teachers collaborate regularly." "68.8% of staff...communication from admin is timely..." "...Parent survey...64% of parents felt...well-informed."

The response identifies educational leadership strategies that will be highly effective in addressing the situation, such as:
"provide...professional development in professional learning communities and data-driven instruction."
"...as she is the new principal...build relationships with her staff."
"Conducting crucial conversations...and coaching..."
"Create an implementation timeline...key actions...progress checks."
"Complete a needs assessment...prioritize the most important areas to address in the short and long term."

When required, provides detailed and/or prioritized actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need that are appropriate, significant, and clearly demonstrate a thorough understanding of the situation

Provides a detailed and insightful explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response
The response then provides a detailed, multistep plan that is appropriate, significant, and clearly demonstrates a thorough understanding of how to address the identified need ("reading instruction").

The first step describes conducting a needs assessment, "...to determine the conditions that contribute to a positive school culture and identify the barriers that currently exist."  Then the response identifies relevant areas to consider, "...teacher's attitudes...new curriculum..." "...use of peer collaboration and planning..." "...sense of or lack of school community."

The second step focuses on the "components of change management and provid[ing] support to teachers."
Then provides insightful examples, "...instructional coaching and professional development in professional learning communities and data-driven instruction." "...crucial conversations...coaching through...levels of change...help to create buy-in and commitment."

The third step includes the "implementation of a timeline to ensure key actions (PLC meetings, benchmarks, and data analysis) are taking place..." "progress checks...conducted systematically." The response connects other key elements such as "communication from admin is timely" and "...[i]ncluding the teachers in the development of the timeline will create ownership..."

Each part of the three-step plan is appropriately aligned to the identified need and provides significant actions to meet the need and develop a positive school culture.

In addition, the response ends by generally stating that the plan, "will effectively address the campus-wide need for improvement in reading... this plan will help develop a culture, aligned with the mission...given the support needed to achieve academic success."
Shows complete alignment within the response to different parts of the question There is complete alignment between the identified need, the action plan, and the explanation. The response identifies "[t]he most pressing, immediate need to address is reading instruction," identifies specific and convincing evidence to support this need, provides a multistep plan to address the need, and explains how the plan would be effective for creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission.

This response receives a score of 4 because, overall, the response demonstrates a thorough understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents

Reflection Questions for the Score of 4 Sample Response

Based on the scoring rubric, how does the candidate provide an accurate and quality response?

How does the response provide specific and convincing evidence to support the need?

How does the response maintain complete alignment between each part of the question to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the information presented in the scenario?

Sample Response Earning a Score of 3

The most pressing, immediate need is putting the new reading program into practice. Assessment data indicates that the students in every grade level are performing below the state average. There are some potential barriers such as teacher resistance and lack of effective communication with staff and parents that negatively impact the culture and could impact the effectiveness of the new reading program.

Ms. Davis needs to create a multi-step plan to address the barriers and the implementation of the new reading curriculum. She should follow the steps listed below:

  1. Ms. Davis needs to set the expectation that this is a school-wide initiative and all the teachers need to be committed to using the new reading curriculum. She can communicate with groups, individuals, in writing, at faculty meetings etc. It is important that all staff have buy-in and understand that the school community will need to be on board as well.
  2. Ms. Davis should meet with the teachers to build relationships and to create time for collaboration and professional development. This is a new curriculum, so the teachers will need to be provided training prior to the launch. They could use PLC's or team meetings to further collaborate and share resources.
  3. The parents need to be a part of this community and communication needs to address their needs. Notifications need to be sent out and meetings planned when the majority of parents can attend. Teachers also need to help parents understand how they can help their students at home.

By following the steps in the plan, Ms. Davis and the staff at Colson Elementary will begin to build a community and positive culture, aligned with the school mission, and focused on student achievement. The teachers will be able to collaborate and plan together to focus on student achievement. Parents and Guardians will now have more opportunity to participate and be kept informed about the events of the school, the reading initiative and how they can support their children.

Rationale for the Score of 3 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 3 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 3
Annotation for Score of 3 Sample Response

Responds generally to the parts of the question The response provides a general response to each part of the question.
A) identifies the most pressing, immediate need that needs to be addressed; B) describes a multistep plan to address the identified need; and C) explains how the plan will be effective for creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission.
Identifies generally appropriate educational leadership strategies that may contain minor errors that detract from the demonstration of an overall general understanding of the situation

Provides basic evidence that generally references the document(s) to show a reasonable understanding of the issues presented in the materials
This response begins by identifying a high-priority need. "...most pressing, immediate need is putting the new reading program into practice."

The response then generally justifies this need by providing evidence in the scenario and supporting documents when it states that, "Assessment data indicates that the students in every grade level are performing below the state average." "There are some barriers such as teacher resistance and lack of effective communication... that negatively impact the culture and ... the new reading program."

However, the response fails to identify specific and convincing evidence by including specific citations to justify the identified barrier.

When required, provides actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need that are mostly appropriate and demonstrate a general understanding of the situation



Provides a general explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response
The response then provides a general multistep action plan that addresses the identified need. The steps in the plan can be found in the following phrases and sentences.

In step one, the response includes "set the expectation that this is a school-wide initiative..., communicate with groups, individuals, in writing, at faculty meetings..., and school community needs to be on board."

In step two, the response includes "...meet with the teachers to build relationships" "...the teachers will need to be provided training..." "...use PLC's or team meetings to further collaborate and share resources."

In step three, the response includes "The parents need to be a part of this community and communication needs to address their needs. Notifications need to be sent out and meetings planned when the majority of parents can attend."

This action plan is generally appropriate, but the steps in the plan are not detailed enough to ensure that the plan will thoroughly address the identified need and the culture as presented in the scenario and documents.

In this response, the explanation of how the action plan helps achieve the goal(s) of the strategic plan is found within the action plan itself and in the closing paragraph. "By following the steps listed in the plan, Ms. Davis and the staff at Colson Elementary will begin to build a community and positive culture, aligned with the school mission, and focused on student achievement." "...teachers will ... collaborate and plan together to focus on student achievement." "Parents and Guardians ... more opportunity to participate ... be kept informed ... events of the school, ...reading initiative ...support their children."
Shows general alignment within the response to different parts of the question The response provides a general alignment between the identified barrier, the action plan, and the explanation.

The response identifies "... putting the reading program into practice," identifies general evidence that supports this pressing, immediate need, provides a multistep plan to address the need, and provides a general explanation of how each step in the plan will be effective for creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission.

Overall, this response demonstrates a general understanding of how to create a positive culture to achieve the school's mission. This response receives a score of 3 because the overall response demonstrates a general understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

The constructed-response questions on the test are primarily an assessment of candidate understanding of the targeted content from the framework, not candidates' ability to write a polished essay. Therefore, the scoring rubric does not contain attributes that specifically address grammar or format requirements.

However, each candidate response should be written as clearly as possible so that it can be understood. This response is a good example to note that, while this response does contain a couple of spelling and grammar errors, the mistakes are minor and do not limit the reader's ability to understand the response.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 3 Sample Response

What evidence is presented in the scenario and documents that would provide specific and convincing evidence to support the need presented in this response?

Is there evidence of other aspects of the school culture affecting the success of the reading program?

How would including specific citations from the supporting documents help in demonstrating thorough understanding of the situation?

Sample Response Earning a Score of 2

The most pressing issue is to implement the new reading curriculum this year. For many years the students have been struggling in reading and this needs to end now. The superintendent has also stated his expectation that the new reading program be used this year. Additionally, Ms. Davis needs to make it clear to all the teachers that this is not optional. Studies show that it is important for the school leader to model expectations and allowing staff to resist will send the wrong message.

A multi-step plan Ms. Davis can follow includes:

  1. Ms. Davis should begin by addressing those teachers who do not agree with the decision that the committee made to purchase the new reading curriculum. They need to know that this is non-negotiable. She should cover her bases by adding this expectation to the faculty meeting agenda and direct team leaders to add this expectation to their agendas as well. It needs to be in the forefront so the goal can be achieved.
  2. Ms. Davis and the rest of the leadership team should observe and conduct walkthroughs and provide feedback for the teachers who are not providing the best for the new reading curriculum. By showing the staff that the focus will be on what they are doing in the classrooms, it will help teachers stay on track and help them ensure that they are meeting the students' needs.
  3. Family Night events should be planned for the parents and community. Family nights are great activities to welcome parents and community members to the school. They will view school as a fun, welcoming place. Posters and flyers can be created and posted on the homepage, in the halls and around the neighborhood.

This plan allows Ms. Davis to demonstrate her leadership and her ability to hold teachers accountable. It helps the teachers improve their instruction and to ensure that all the teachers are using the new reading curriculum. Then it provides some fun activities to share with the community after all the teachers and students' hard work.

Rationale for the Score of 2 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 2 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 2
Annotation for Score of 2 Sample Response
Responds partially to some parts of the question The response provides a partial response to some parts of the question.
A) identifies one pressing need to address; B) describes a general multistep plan to address the identified need; and C) weakly explains how the plan will be effective for creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission.
Identifies limited or flawed educational leadership strategies that may contain misconceptions to demonstrate an overall limited understanding of the situation

Provides limited evidence that may vaguely reference the document(s) to show a flawed understanding of the issues presented in the materials
This response begins by identifying "the new reading curriculum" as a pressing issue to address in this scenario.

The response provides a general justification of this need by citing "For many years the students have been struggling in reading..."  "The superintendent['s] expectation that the new reading program be used..."

However, the response fails to specifically identify what document(s) the evidence is found in to justify the identified need.

In addition, while the response states that "[s]tudies show...school leader to model expectations...allowing staff to resist...wrong message." There is no evidence in the scenario and documents that supports this statement.
When required, provides actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need that are partially accurate and demonstrate gaps or misconceptions in overall understanding of the situation

Provides a simplistic explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response
The response then provides a general multistep plan to address the need that includes addressing "teachers who do not agree with the decision...to purchase the new curriculum," "observe and conduct walkthroughs," and then describes planning Family Night events "...great activities to welcome parents and community members to the school." This third step is somewhat misaligned and demonstrates some misconception in understanding the overall situation.

The descriptions of the leadership actions are limited and somewhat flawed, "She should cover her bases by adding this expectation to the faculty meeting agenda and direct team leaders to add this expectation to their agendas as well. It needs to be in the forefront so the goal can be achieved." There is no explanation of why this will help the goal be achieved. "...view school as a fun and welcoming place.." does not connect this to high expectations or academic achievement.

The response concludes by providing a weak explanation of how the plan will be effective for creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission. "This plan allows Ms. Davis to demonstrate her leadership and her ability to hold teachers accountable." "It helps...teachers improve their instruction...ensure that all the teachers are using the new reading curriculum." "...provides some fun activities to share with the community..."  
Shows partial alignment within the response to different parts of the question The response provides a partial alignment between the identified need, the action plan, and the explanation.

Although the response begins with a pressing need, the action steps do not fully address the need and the third step does not include rationale for how it is connected to improving the need.

Overall, this response demonstrates a limited understanding of how to create a positive culture to achieve the school's mission and to address the most pressing need. This response receives a score of 2 because the overall response demonstrates a limited understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Candidate responses are not required to use labels, such as A, B, and C, that align with the parts of the question. However, each response should be written as clearly as possible so that it can be understood by the reader. While using these labels is optional and not part of the scoring rubric, labeling the parts of the response to align with the parts of the question can enhance clarity for the reader.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 2 Sample Response

Based on the scenario and documents provided, what other evidence could be provided to support the identified need?

How could the steps in the plan be more specific to provide convincing evidence that the plan would thoroughly address the need?

What other high leverage leadership strategies could be used?

How could the final paragraph of the response be improved to provide a detailed and insightful explanation of how the plan helps create a positive culture to achieve the school's mission?

Sample Response Earning a Score of 1

It is evident from the faculty surveys that teachers at Colson Elementary have divergent philosophies regarding reading instruction. Since the school has been struggling to provide successful reading instruction for quite some time, this is an issue that requires immediate attention. Without a common ground in the philosophy of how to teach students to read, the students will continue to have failing grades. Although they have not come to an agreement on how to teach students to read, the teachers do feel that the school is following the mission and they value the students. This is good news, because these strengths can be built on to improve reading performance.

The first step in the plan that Ms. Davis should take, is to decide on the one reading instruction philosophy for the campus. Perhaps Ms. Davis could bring the teachers together and come to consensus on the way reading should be taught. This will allow all philosophies to be heard and help to pick one for the campus to focus on. It is important for teachers to be heard as they are the ones in the classroom making it happen.

The second step is to understand that teachers should decide on what they are teaching. There were some teachers who were a part of the committee that chose the new reading program and they would be great assets in providing professional development. The teachers who had to change their philosophy could watch them model some lessons and meet with them to choose the best activities to share with students during lessons. This will make sure that each teacher is deciding what they teach.

By bringing the teachers together to create one universal philosophy for reading instruction and then using teachers to lead other teachers by modeling lessons, a positive attitude will be created about the new reading curriculum and the students will benefit academically. Ultimately this will result in high reading performance.

Rationale for the Score of 1 Sample Response

The annotation provided below is shown side-by-side with the attributes of a score of 1 from the scoring rubric to help candidates make connections between the scoring rubric and the text in the response that demonstrates the attributes of the score point.

Portion of the Scoring Rubric
Score of 1
Annotation for Score of 1 Sample Response
Fails to respond to most parts of the question The response fails to respond to most parts of the question.
A) fails to identify the most pressing, immediate need that needs to be addressed; B) fails to describe a multistep plan to address the identified need; and C) fails to explain why this plan would be effective for creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission.
Identifies weak or ineffective educational leadership strategies that contain serious misconceptions to demonstrate an overall weak understanding of the situation

Provides inappropriate evidence or little or no evidence to show weak understanding of the issues presented in the materials

This response begins by weakly identifying a need, "[w]ithout a common ground in the philosophy of how to teach students to read...continue to have failing grades." The response provides little to no evidence, only one reference to the faculty surveys, from the scenario or supporting documents. The response missed the information that the new reading curriculum had already been purchased.

The majority of the response focuses on improving teacher's attitudes using limited and somewhat flawed educational leadership strategies. "...decide on the one reading instruction philosophy for the campus." "allow all philosophies to be heard and help to pick one for the campus to focus on." "...understand that teachers should decide on what they are teaching."

The response then contains some misconceptions that demonstrate an overall weak understanding of the situation. "...using teachers to lead other teachers by modelling lessons...positive attitude will be created about the new reading curriculum...students will benefit academically."
When required, fails to provide actions to be taken in response to an identified area of need or provides actions that are inappropriate and that demonstrate little or no understanding of the situation

Provides little or no explanation, rationale, and/or justification for the response that may contain serious misconceptions
The response then states that "Perhaps Ms. Davis could bring the teachers together and come to consensus on the way reading should be taught."

However, the next step refers to teachers deciding on what they should teach and provides an action using "teachers who were a part of the committee that chose the new reading program" to model lessons for the other teachers. The response justifies this action, "This will make sure that each teacher is deciding what they teach."

The response fails to provide an explanation or details of how or why this action would be effective for improving student performance.

Additionally, the response does not include an explanation of why this plan would be effective for creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission.
Shows misalignment within the response to different parts of the question The response demonstrates a misalignment between the identified need, the action plan, and the explanation.

The response begins with coming to consensus on the campus philosophy for teaching reading. Then, however, it addresses teacher choice in reading activities and creating positive attitudes resulting in misalignment.

Overall, this response demonstrates little or no understanding of identifying and addressing the most pressing, immediate need to be addressed in the scenario. Addition the response demonstrates little or no understanding of creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission. This response receives a score of 1 because the overall response demonstrates little or no understanding of the information in the scenario and supporting documents.

Reflection Questions for the Score of 1 Sample Response

What specific evidence from the scenario and documents can you identify to help you select a pressing, immediate need to address at this campus?

How does identifying the evidence and noting citations help you analyze and synthesize the information to develop a plan?

How can you describe steps in the plan to demonstrate a stronger understanding of the situation affecting the school?

How would you explain how the plan helps meet the need and contributes to creating a positive culture to achieve the school's mission?


Return to Navigation