Section 5: Sample Constructed-Response Question Educational Diagnostician (253)
This question requires you to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject area by providing an in-depth written response. Read the question carefully before you begin to write your response to ensure that you address all components. Think about how you will organize what you plan to write.
The final version of your response should conform to the conventions of standard English. Your written response should be your original work, written in your own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work. You may, however, use citations when appropriate.
Exhibits for the constructed-response question will be presented in a tabbed format on the computer-administered test. You will have the ability to move between exhibits by clicking on the tab labels at the top of the screen.
An on-screen answer box will be provided on the computer-administered test. The answer box includes a white response area for typing your response, as well as tools along the top of the box for editing your response. A word counter that counts the number of words entered for the response is also provided in the lower left corner of the box. Note that the size, shape, and placement of the answer box will depend on the content of the assignment.
Sample AssignmentUse the information in the exhibits to complete the assignment that follows.
Analyze the information provided in the exhibits and, citing specific evidence from the exhibits, write a response of approximately 400 to 600 words in which you:
- identify one area of academic strength and one area of academic need for the student based on a review of the formal and informal diagnostic assessment data provided;
- describe a specific evidence-based instructional strategy or intervention that would effectively address the student's identified need and build on the student's identified strength; and
- describe how a teacher could best implement and monitor the progress of the instructional strategy or intervention.
Maya is a beginning sixth-grade student who is eleven years and five months old. An educational diagnostician is reviewing current data in preparation for Maya's upcoming Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee three-year reevaluation.
DOCUMENTATION OF CURRENT SPECIAL EDUCATION INTERVENTIONS
Targeted Skill: Improve phonetic skill development
Intervention: Direct instruction from special education teacher in a multisensory language instruction program
Duration: 12 weeks with progress monitoring every two weeks
Progress: Maya's Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) instructional reading level is P, which is consistent with an end-of-year third grade student. The following graph summarizes Maya's progress given multi-sensory phonics intervention in a small group.
Scores provided are for skills targeted pre-intervention and post-intervention.
Multisyllabic words with suffixes and prefixes, pre-intervention accuracy score 0%, post-intervention accuracy score: 70%
R-controlled vowels, pre-intervention accuracy score 20%, post-intervention accuracy score: 80%
Targeted Skill: Improve encoding, sentence and paragraph organization, and grade-level vocabulary use in written expression
Intervention: Explicit instruction to effectively use a graphic organizer and implementation of assistive technology accommodations, which include digital graphic organizers, word processor with spell check, and word and linguistic prediction software.
Duration: 12 weeks with progress monitoring every two weeks
Progress: Maya demonstrates some grade-level writing skills with accommodations. The following graph summarizes Maya's written language production when using accommodations.
Scores provided are for writing skills targeted without accommodations and with accommodations.
Maya's general education teachers report that Maya consistently receives the following accommodations, as outlined in her IEP:
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children® — Fifth Edition (WISC®–V)
Mean = 100; Standard Deviation = 15
|Subtest Score Summary|
|Scale||Subtest Name||Scaled Score||Percentile Rank|
|Visual Spatial||Block Design||10||50|
|Fluid Reasoning||Matrix Reasoning||12||75|
|Working Memory||Digit Span||7||16|
|Composite Score Summary|
|Composite||Composite Score||Percentile Rank||Qualitative Description|
|Verbal Comprehension (VCI)||95||37||Average|
|Visual Spatial (VSI)||108||70||Average|
|Fluid Reasoning (FRI)||103||58||Average|
|Working Memory (WMI)||82||12||Low Average|
|Processing Speed (PSI)||95||37||Average|
|Full Scale IQ (FSIQ)||101||52||Average|
|Subtest Component||Standard Score||Percentile Rank||Qualitative Description|
|Reading Comprehension||80||9||Below Average|
|Math Problem Solving||102||55||Average|
|Word Reading||85||15||Below Average|
|Oral Reading Fluency||83||13||Below Average|
|End-of-Unit Social Studies Report Rubric|
|Unit: Economy in Contemporary Society|
Unit Goals: Students will research and write a persuasive piece describing characteristics and benefits of a form of economy in contemporary society.
|Level of Proficiency|
|blank||Does Not Meet Goal||Sometimes Meets Goal||Meets Goal||Exceeds Goal|
|Gathers information from teacher lectures||X||blank||blank||blank|
|Participates in class discussions||blank||blank||X||blank|
|Watches and gathers information from videos||blank||X||blank||blank|
|Summarizes information from articles||X||blank||blank||blank|
|Conducts online searches for information||blank||blank||blank||X|
|Describes overall characteristics of each economy||blank||blank||X||blank|
|States opinion on which economy is most beneficial||blank||blank||X||blank|
|Explains reason for this opinion||blank||X||blank||blank|
|Cites article evidence for reason||X||blank||blank||blank|
|Provides graphic evidence for reason||blank||blank||blank||X|
|Includes appropriate topic-specific vocabulary||X||blank||blank||blank|
|Cites information correctly||X||blank||blank||blank|
|Applies correct spelling and punctuation||X||blank||blank||blank|
|Applies correct grammar||blank||X||blank||blank|
|Types or writes neatly||blank||blank||blank||X|
Maya was eager to participate in class and small-group discussion. She had difficulty gathering and remembering information from the articles. When I checked in with her, she had difficulty retelling important information or answering questions about the articles' main ideas, saying the articles were "confusing and way too long." She really enjoyed conducting online searches for photographs to support her reasons.
Sample Responses and Rationales
Score Point 4
Based on the formal and informal diagnostic assessment data provided, verbal comprehension is an area of strength demonstrated by Maya. The WISC–V on Exhibit #5, indicates her verbal comprehension skills are in the average range. In the Teacher Notes section in Exhibit #6, Maya’s teacher reports she is eager to participate in class and small group discussions and in the Level of Proficiency section, Maya is meeting the goals for "describing overall characteristics of each economy" and "stating her opinion on which economy is most beneficial".
Although Maya has had interventions, she is still struggling in reading comprehension as shown in the Documentation of Current Special Education Interventions and in the Education History section in Exhibit #4. Maya was identified as a student with a disability in basic reading in third grade. The WIAT-III, on Exhibit #5, indicates reading comprehension was below average. Oral reading fluency was below average, which could be impacting her reading comprehension. She is not achieving passing grades in English Language Arts and Social Studies and is having difficulty comprehending and retaining information when reading longer 6th grade texts. Additionally, in the Teacher Notes section in Exhibit #6, Maya’s teacher reports her concerns regarding Maya’s difficulty in reading comprehension, including that Maya is withdrawing from reading assignments. Maya told her that "the articles were too confusing and way too long".
Maya's decoding needs are directly impacting her fluency and overall reading comprehension and should be a primary intervention target. Word recognition strategies can help Maya to decode multi-syllabic words found in grade-level texts and improve her ability to recognize words easier. This will improve Maya’s reading fluency which is one of the critical components required for successful reading comprehension. Explicitly teaching Maya word recognition strategies would be the first step of intervention, and would progress to modeling the process, providing guided practice opportunities with scaffolding, and lastly, independent use of the strategies.
For instance, the special education teacher could start by using a brief text at Maya’s instructional level. The teacher should model and use a "think aloud" to demonstrate how to read "through" an unfamiliar word and to look for context clues to help recognize the word. Then Maya would be prompted to think about what word might make sense and try it in the sentence. Maya would then practice reading "through" words and using context clues while the teacher provides support and feedback as needed. As Maya makes progress, she can begin independently reading the text out loud to the teacher using the same strategy. Maya’s special education teacher should provide frequent opportunities for repeated and consistent exposure to reading material at Maya’s independent reading level. Having Maya continuously practice reading these materials orally to her teacher will, also build on her strength in verbal comprehension.
To monitor how well the teaching of word recognition skills is impacting Maya’s reading comprehension, formative assessment measures would best be monitored at regular intervals, such as weekly or biweekly. In addition to the special education teacher monitoring progress during instruction and practice, Maya's teacher could monitor her progress using a curriculum-based probe such as a reading comprehension quiz administered at regular intervals. Outcomes could be graphed to assist in assessing the efficacy of the intervention approach.
A performance-based assessment such as a rubric, describing specific levels of performance, could be used by her Social Studies teacher to track Maya’s reading comprehension in that content area as well. This assessment tool would be especially useful for assessing Maya's progress within authentic classroom learning activities, such as presentations, research projects, and written compositions.
Rationale for the Score of 4
This "4" response reflects a thorough understanding of the relevant content knowledge and skills. The response fully addresses all parts of the assignment and demonstrates an accurate, highly effective application of the relevant content knowledge and skills. The response provides strong, relevant evidence; specific examples; and well-reasoned explanations.
Completion: Notice that each of the three tasks presented in the assignment are answered completely, and in the order presented in the prompt. The response identifies an area of academic strength and provides evidence from both the formal and informal diagnostic assessment data provided in the exhibits. The response fully describes a specific evidence-based instructional strategy that effectively addresses Maya’s identified need for improvement and builds on her identified strength. The response fully describes how her special education teacher can best implement and monitor progress of the instructional strategy.
Application of Knowledge: As you read the response, note the accurate, current application of professional knowledge of determining the presence of an educational need and interpreting and using assessment and evaluation data for instructional decision making. The candidate interpreted the data provided accurately to identify Maya’s need, used that information to identify an appropriate strategy to address her needs, and fully explained why the strategy would be effective using professional knowledge pedagogy. The response addresses the need for improving reading comprehension by addressing how Maya's decoding needs are directly impacting her fluency and overall reading comprehension. The response provides a full description of how the teacher could implement the strategy using modeling, guided practice and then independent practice. This is an evidenced based and relevant strategy to meet the identified need. The strategy builds on the Maya’s identified strength in verbal comprehension. The response includes curriculum-based formative assessments to monitor the progress of the instructional strategy and rubrics to use during class presentations and research.
Support: The response supports assertions with specific, relevant evidence from all the exhibits provided. The strategy, rationale, and progress monitoring have strong, specific examples. The response cites specific evidence from the exhibits provided. The strategy is clearly presented with specific supporting details for each step. The rationale for the strategy’s effectiveness reflects sound reasoning and professional knowledge content.
Score Point 2
Maya is a sixth grade student with a Full Scale IQ in the average range (according to her test results) who likes to participate in class discussions. She has many academic strengths in Math fluency and passed the 5th grade STAAR Math. She exceeded the research goals for conducting online searches and providing graphic evidence supporting her reasons. She really enjoys doing research and finding photos online.
Along with her strengths, Maya has areas of academic need too. Her fourth grade STAAR Writing performance was Did not Meet Grade Level. She did not meet the proficiency goal for citing information correctly or using correct spelling and punctuation. She does not always use correct grammar as she writes.
Maya would probably benefit from some specific, explicit instruction in writing essays. Also allowing Maya the use of a computer or tablet would help her type her essay. Students these days use technology for everything and most adolescents text and email each other. They no longer create handwritten essays. Everyone uses a computer now. This would definitely make the writing process more engaging to Maya. The more engaged a student is, the more time on task they spend. Spending time on task is one of the key components in developing academic success. To engage Maya even further, the teacher could incorporate more online activities such as finding pictures and research to add to the written assignments as Maya clearly enjoys this. She could even be tasked with searching for information on line for her classmates’ assignments, making her more a part of the class and increasing her motivation. As she excels in this area, it is best to use this to help Maya reach her fullest potential. These interventions should be very effective in assisting Maya in achieving academic growth in writing as well as increasing her social skills with her classmates.
Every two weeks, Maya could turn in an essay on a topic of her choosing to increase motivation, and the teacher could chart her progress using a rubric. If the charts indicate that Maya is not showing adequate progress, more accommodations should be added. They could be conducted for another 12 weeks and then progress would be monitored by the teacher repeating what is stated above. If progress still has not been made, Maya’s teachers will likely need to reevaluate their strategies. If sufficient progress has been made, new areas of focus can be added.
Rationale for the Score of 2
The "2" response reflects a limited understanding of the relevant content knowledge and skills. The response partially addresses some of the parts of the assignment and demonstrates a limited application of the relevant content knowledge and skills. The response provides limited evidence and examples or explanations, when provided, are only partially appropriate.
Completion: Notice that the response does not fully respond to each portion of the assignment. The response describes an academic need, but unlike a score point "4" or "3" response, the evidence cited is presented in a less specific manner with partial evidence from the exhibits. The response provides an instructional strategy without the specifics of how to implement the strategy reflecting limited professional knowledge of interpreting and using assessment and evaluation data for instructional planning. The response partially describes an informal assessment, but it lacks specificity. This differs from the score point "4" or "3" which would have fully responded to each part of the assignment with more specificity and strong professional knowledge content and skills.
Application of Knowledge: As you read the response, note the lack of accurate, current application of professional knowledge about interpreting and using assessment and evaluation data for targeted instruction strategies. The response demonstrates a partially accurate, limited application of the relevant content knowledge and skills. This response begins with partial information from the exhibits to identify a strength and academic need. The response identifies a need related to writing, but the response does not explain why the strategy of writing essays would be relevant or evidence based. The response lacks a clear description of how the strategy would be implemented. The response provides extraneous information about students these days using technology and everyone having a computer. The progress-monitoring assessment focuses on keeping Maya motivated. It provides a limited explanation of why the assessment is relevant. The response demonstrates limited professional content knowledge regarding creating appropriate assessments to monitor student progress. This differs from the score point "4" or "3" response, which demonstrates an accurate, highly effective application of the relevant content knowledge and skills.
Support: Notice how the response provides limited evidence and examples or explanations, when provided, may be only partially appropriate. The response supports assertions with limited evidence from the exhibits provided. The identified need, strategy, and progress monitoring are partially described. The explanations contain little or no evidence from the text or of relevant professional knowledge content. The explanation for the strategy’s effectiveness is limited and reflects weak reasoning. The focus is not directly linked to Maya’s specific academic need. It discusses motivation strategies without supporting that need with any evidence from the exhibits. The response contains extraneous information of the use of computers to make Maya more engaged and how common it is now to use computer. Again, this is not directly related to the identified need. This differs from the score point "4" or "3" responses that provide relevant evidence, a higher degree of specific examples, and strong, well-reasoned explanations supporting the major points in the assignment.
The rubric created to evaluate your response to the constructed-response question is based on the following criteria:
|Completion||The degree to which the candidate completes the assignment by responding to each specific task in the assignment.|
|Application of Content||The degree to which the candidate applies the relevant knowledge and skills to the response accurately and effectively.|
|Support||The degree to which the candidate supports the response with appropriate evidence, examples, and explanations based on the relevant content knowledge and skills.|
The four points of the scoring scale correspond to varying degrees of performance.
|Score Point||Score Point Description|
|4||The "4" response reflects a thorough understanding of the relevant content knowledge and skills.
|3||The "3" response reflects a general understanding of the relevant content knowledge and skills.
The "2" response reflects a limited understanding of the relevant content knowledge and skills.
The "1" response reflects little or no understanding of the relevant content knowledge and skills.
|U||The response is unscorable because it is unreadable, not written to the assigned topic, written in a language other than English, or does not contain a sufficient amount of original work to score.|
|B||There is no response to the assignment.|
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