Section 5: Sample Constructed-Response Question
Science of Teaching Reading (293)
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.
Use the information in the exhibits to complete the assignment that follows.
This assignment focuses on a first-grade student named Daniel, who is six years old. His primary language is English. The assessment data in the exhibits were collected during the first six weeks of the school year. The level of each assessment was selected based on Daniel's previous assessment results.
Using your knowledge of reading pedagogy and the developmental progression of foundational reading skills and reading comprehension as described in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR), analyze the information provided and write a response of approximately 400–600 words in which you:
- identify one significant need that the student demonstrates related to foundational reading skills (e.g., phonemic awareness skills, phonics skills, recognition of high-frequency words, syllabication skills, morphemic analysis skills, automaticity, reading fluency [i.e., accuracy, rate, and prosody]), citing specific evidence from the exhibits, particularly the Word-Reading Assessment, Passage-Reading Assessment, and Fluency Data, to support your analysis;
- describe one appropriate, effective instructional strategy or activity that would address the student's need you identified related to foundational reading skills and help the student achieve relevant grade-level standards;
- identify one significant need that the student demonstrates related to reading comprehension (e.g., vocabulary knowledge; knowledge of sentence and grammatical structures; application of literal, inferential, or evaluative comprehension skills; use of comprehension strategies; application of text analysis skills to a literary or informational text), citing specific evidence from the exhibits, particularly the Comprehension Assessment, to support your analysis;
- describe one appropriate, effective instructional strategy or activity that would address the need you identified related to the student's reading comprehension and help the student achieve relevant grade-level standards; and
- explain why each of the instructional strategies or activities you described would be effective in addressing the needs you identified and in helping the student achieve grade-level reading standards as described in the TEKS for ELAR.
Be sure to cite evidence from all four exhibits in your response.
For this assessment, the teacher met with individual students and asked them to read aloud from several word lists of increasing complexity. As a student read each word, the teacher made a record of the student's performance by using check marks to indicate words that the student read accurately and automatically and using simplified phonetic transcription to record any errors. This assessment was timed and the student had to respond accurately within three seconds. Below are some of the words in the assessment, followed by the teacher's record for Daniel.
- Target word: bath. Student reads bath accurately.
- Target word: dump. Student reads bump.
- Target word: chins. Student reads chins accurately.
- Target word: well. Student reads well accurately.
- Target word: pond. Student reads bond.
- Target word: junk. Student reads junk accurately.
- Target word: quite. Student reads quit.
- Target word: swish. Student reads swish accurately.
- Target word: flute. Student reads flut.
- Target word: drone. Student reads drone accurately.
- Target word: spark. Student reads spark accurately.
- Target word: grapes. Student reads grapes accurately.
Video Functionality on the Computer-Administered Test
When you are ready to play the video for the constructed-response question on the computer-administered test, you will put on your headset and click the "Video" button.
A pop-up window will appear. The pop-up window can be resized and/or repositioned on your screen so the video can be viewed while viewing the other exhibits and completing your response. You can then select the button on the video display box to start the video. You may pause, stop, and replay the video as necessary using the controls on the video display box.
For this assessment, the teacher met with individual students and asked them to read aloud a short passage. The teacher read aloud the title of the passage to Daniel before prompting him to begin reading. The title of the passage is "Car Race in the Sandbox."
The following compiles the reading passage and transcript of the student's reading of the passage each will also be read separately below.
Sentence 1 says: Mom and Kim and Jack are in the park. The student reads: Mom and Kim and Jack are in a park.
Sentence 2 says: Mom sits on a swing. The student reads: Mom sits on a swing.
Sentence 3 says: The kids pile up sand in the sandbox. The student reads: The kid, the kids, pull the up, pull up, sand. the the sandbox.
Sentence 4 says: "Nice hill," says Mom. The student reads: "Nice hill," says says Mom.
Sentence 5 says: "It is not a hill," says Kim. The student reads: "It is not a hill," says Kim.
Sentence 6 says: "Time to pack up!" says Mom. The student reads: "Time to pick pack up!" says Mom.
Sentence 7 says: "Oh, no!" says Jack. The student reads: "Ah, no," says Jack.
Sentences 8 and 9 say: Mom looks. The hill has a wide path. The student reads: Mom looks at, hill, has a wipe, wide path.
Sentence 10 says: Two little cars sit on top. The student reads: Two little cars sit on top.
Sentence 11 says: The hill is a ramp! The student reads: The hill is a ramp.
Sentence 12 says: Mom grins. The student reads: Mom grits, grins.
Sentence 13 says: "I see," she says. The student reads: "I see," she says.
Sentences 14 and 15 say: "Get set! One, two, three, go!" The student reads: "Get let! One, two, three. Go!"
Mom and Kim and Jack are in the park. Mom sits on a
swing. The kids pile up sand in the sandbox.
"Nice hill," says Mom.
"It is not a hill," says Kim.
"Time to pack up!" says Mom.
"Oh, no!" says Jack.
Mom looks. The hill has a wide path. Two little cars sit on
top. The hill is a ramp!
Mom grins. "I see," she says. "Get set! One, two, three,
Daniel's teacher met with individual students to administer assessments in letter-naming fluency, phonemic segmentation fluency, and nonsense word fluency (decoding words that are not real). Daniel's scores are shown below, along with a brief description of each assessment and notes from the teacher.
Assessment Score Fall Benchmark Letter-Naming Fluency (LNF) 50 55+ Phonemic-Segmentation Fluency (PSF) 42 39+ Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF) 8 10+ LNF. A student is presented with randomly ordered uppercase and lowercase letters on a page. The student identifies as many letters as possible in one minute. PSF. A student is orally presented with a 3- or 4-phoneme word and must segment the word into its individual phonemes. The student segments as many words as possible in one minute. Each correctly segmented phoneme scores one point (e.g., mop segmented as /m/ /ŏ/ /p/ would score 3 points, whereas mop segmented as /m/ [ŏp] would score only 1 point). NWF. A student is presented with a list of words that are not real. Each word is made up of phonics elements that students should be able to decode by the beginning of first grade. The student decodes as many of the words as possible in one minute.
Notes: On the LNF assessment, Daniel identified b, d, l, n, p, q, and u each incorrectly once and correctly once. He made no errors on uppercase letters.
For this assessment, the teacher read aloud the following passage to Daniel.
When you think of farmers, think of food!
There are many kinds of farms. Some farms have cows. Milk and cream come from cows. Some farms have pigs, sheep, chickens, or goats. Farmers raise animals for meat, milk, eggs, or wool. Some farmers grow crops, like corn, beans, and wheat. Some farmers grow fruit trees or nut trees.
Growing crops takes many steps. First, farmers plan what to grow. Next, they must make the soil ready and plant seeds. Crops have to grow for months. Farmers have to keep checking them. They must give crops what they need to grow well. Last, farmers harvest crops and sell them. Then they start again!
After reading aloud the passage to Daniel, the teacher asked him some questions about the passage. A transcript of their conversation is shown below.
Teacher: What is this passage about?
Teacher: What did it say about farmers?
Daniel: They grow lots of things!
Teacher: Uh huh. Like what?
Daniel: Milk and stuff. Fruit. Oranges.
Teacher: Tell me in your own words what you learned in the passage.
Daniel: Well . . . farmers grow stuff. They have lots and lots of animals. And they grow . . . stuff.
Teacher: What are some ways the passage says that farms can be different?
Daniel: I'm not sure. (Pausing to think) Maybe they could grow different stuff?
Teacher: That's right, Daniel. The farmers could grow different crops like corn and beans. What are some other crops the author talks about in the passage?
Daniel: Mmm . . . different things. Corn? And fruit? Oranges?
Teacher: Anything else?
Daniel: A lot.
Teacher: The second part of the passage starts like this: (rereading from the passage) "Growing crops takes many steps." Tell me about the steps farmers take to grow crops.
Daniel: Well, they plant seeds. And they have to water them. And then, I think, they sell them?
Teacher: Did the passage mention any other steps?
Teacher: What other steps?
Daniel: They start again!
Sample Responses and Rationales
Score Point 4
Daniel demonstrates a significant need in word-reading accuracy, the foundation of reading fluency. Daniel's performance on the Word-Reading and Passage-Reading assessments demonstrates that he can decode closed-syllable (CVC, CCVC, CVCC) words with digraphs and blends, which is aligned with the TEKS for entering first graders. He decodes silent-e (CVCe) words inconsistently, reading about half correctly, again aligned with the TEKS for entering first graders. Finally, his results on the Phonemic-Segmentation Fluency Assessment is above the fall benchmark. So, Daniel's difficulty with word-reading accuracy doesn't seem to be caused by limited phonics knowledge or phonemic awareness, but rather by not attending closely to all letters in a word. More often than not, Daniel's errors reflect lack of automaticity reading visually similar letters (e.g., dump/ bump; pond/bond, pile/pull, wide/wipe). His (below-benchmark) performance on the Letter-Naming Fluency Assessment included the same pattern of errors as his word-reading performance.
At Daniel's stage of reading development (transitioning to the full-alphabetic phase), the teacher should address his accuracy/automaticity issues with letters at the word level. The teacher should use a two-part instructional approach: have Daniel read word chains that include words containing target letters that are not automatic (e.g., bump, dump, lump, slump, clump, clamp, clam, slam, slap, slop, slob, snob); and provide one-on-one error correction as Daniel reads word chains and appropriate-level decodable texts. The teacher should present explicit, corrective feedback that prompts Daniel to think consciously about his errors. For example, if he reads bump for dump, the teacher would cover the letter d and ask, "If this word said bump, what letter would you expect here?" If he answered "b," then the teacher would uncover the d and say, "But this letter is a d, so what does this word say?"
Daniel demonstrates a significant need in reading comprehension related to identifying the central idea and supporting details in a text. In Exhibit 4, Daniel remembers a limited number of details after listening to the text read aloud by his teacher. His response to the teacher's prompt, "Tell me in your own words what you learned in the passage," was vague. He also mentions oranges twice in his responses, even though they are never mentioned in the text. He understands the central idea in the title but misses that the first paragraph is about different types of farms. And he doesn't use the text's structure to gain meaning ("There are many kinds ... Some ... Some ... Some ... Some ..."). Regarding the second paragraph, Daniel recounts the steps that he remembers in the correct order but omits many steps from the text.
The teacher should construct a two-column chart with Daniel, with the two main ideas of the passage as column headers ("There are many kinds of farms," "Growing crops takes many steps."). The teacher would read the passage aloud again and use text-dependent questions to prompt Daniel to listen for key details that they would enter under each header.
The word-chaining strategy would be effective in improving Daniel's accuracy reading words containing target letters because it requires him to attend carefully to all letters in a word to determine which letter has changed. Corrective-feedback builds Daniel's skill in applying letter-sound relationships when decoding. Meanwhile, frequent practice reading isolated words and decodable texts promotes automaticity. The two-column chart strategy would be effective in improving Daniel's reading comprehension by addressing his ability to identify a text's key details. This strategy is highly effective because it sets a purpose for listening to or reading the text. Using text-dependent questions promotes rereading to find supporting details that facilitate comprehension of the text's message.
Rationale for the Score of 4
The "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 five tasks presented in the assignment are answered completely, in the order presented in the prompt. The response fully described and explained a significant need Daniel demonstrated related to foundational reading skills and a significant need related to reading comprehension, citing relevant evidence from the exhibits provided. The candidate fully described developmentally appropriate instructional strategies that effectively target Daniel's needs using professional knowledge and evidenced-based support in a sequential, logical manner. The response then offers sound rationales for why the strategies will be effective, reflecting appropriate knowledge of reading pedagogy and the TEKS.
Application of Content: The response demonstrates an accurate, highly effective application of the relevant content knowledge and skills. Notice how the candidate demonstrates a thorough understanding of how to interpret data from the assessments, accurately citing evidence of what Daniel can and cannot do to support the interpretation given ("So, Daniel's difficulty with word-reading accuracy doesn't seem to be caused by limited phonics knowledge or phonemic awareness, but rather by not attending closely to all letters in a word."). The response identifies appropriate instructional strategies to pinpoint Daniel's specific needs. ("At Daniel's stage of reading development [transitioning to the full-alphabetic phase], the teacher should address his accuracy/automaticity issues with letters at the word level.") The response provides a strong explanation of why these specific strategies are effective. The candidate demonstrates knowledge of the TEKS, reading development, and research-based reading pedagogy in the descriptions of the student's needs, the lesson, and the explanations of why the instructional strategies would be effective. ("He decodes silent-e [CVCe] words inconsistently, reading about half correctly, again aligned with the TEKS for entering first graders." ... "The word-chaining strategy would be effective in improving Daniel's accuracy reading words containing target letters because it requires him to attend carefully to all letters in a word to determine which letter has changed." ... "This strategy is highly effective because it sets a purpose for listening to or reading the text ... promotes rereading to find supporting details that facilitate comprehension of the text's message.") The lessons are developmentally appropriate for Daniel's age and designed to meet his specific needs.
Support: The response provides strong, relevant evidence, specific examples, and well-reasoned explanations. The candidate used specific evidence from each exhibit to identify Daniel's needs. Each strategy is clearly presented with specific supporting details for each step. The rationale for each strategy reflects sound reasoning and evidence of pedagogical knowledge.
Score Point 2
One significant need that Daniel demonstrates related to foundational reading skills is phonics skills. For example, he said pull for pile and grits for grins and misidentified letters (bump/dump, bond/pond). These mistakes are phonics in nature. Daniel also has difficulty with letter naming and nonsense word fluency. Theseerrors interfere with his reading fluency because he pauses to decode words. The key components of fluency are rate and prosody, which Daniel doesn't achieve because he has difficulty decoding. This is an important need to address because reading fluency is a foundational skill needed to develop reading comprehension.
One appropriate instructional strategy to help Daniel improve his fluency is to provide him with direct phonics instruction. For example, Daniel said pick for pack. To address this the teacher should begin by reviewing all five short vowels (ă, ĕ, ĭ, ŏ, and ŭ) and using short-vowel letter cards to provide Daniel with practice saying the correct letter when prompted with a card. The teacher can then move on to teaching him simple words containing short vowels, such as cat, pet, bin, top, and cup. The teacher can also use letter tiles in which the vowel tiles are a different color than the consonant tiles to further help Daniel notice a word's vowels. The teacher can use the letter tiles to model how to "touch and say" the sounds in simple words such as lip. The teacher names each letter while pointing to the respective letter tiles (e.g., pointing to the I tile and saying "el," then the i tile and saying "eye," and finally the p tile and saying "pea"). Then, the teacher says the whole word. Afterward, the teacher will have Daniel "touch and say" the letters in other simple words with short vowels. Lastly, the teacher will give Daniel a decodable book to read that focuses on short vowels to let him apply his new phonics skills in a text.
One significant need that Daniel demonstrates in reading comprehension is listening comprehension deficits. For example, in the Passage-Reading Assessment, Daniel made errors in his oral reading (grits for grins and pick for pack) that changed the meaning of the story, but he did not self-correct. When the teacher read an excerpt and asked him questions, it is very clear that he was not paying close attention because he was not able to answer the questions correctly.
The teacher should model how to use a story map. As the teacher reads aloud the passage, Daniel will fill in the story map. Who is the story about? Where did the story take place? What is the problem? How was it resolved? When he has finished, Daniel will read aloud his story map to the teacher. Story maps are effective tools to organize information about a story.
Direct phonics instruction will help Daniel not have to pause to decode. The "touch and say" strategy is effective because it targets Daniel's needs and helps him to recognize letters and to increase his fluency, which again is key in developing reading comprehension. It also improves spelling and will help Daniel achieve grade-level reading standards as described in the TEKS for ELAR. The gradual release of responsibility approach described in the phonics instruction is also effective because it moves Daniel from guided to independent application of the skills. Teaching Daniel to use a story map will lead to improved reading comprehension because it is developmentally appropriate for a student at the beginning of first grade.
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, including limited or no knowledge of relevant TEKS. The response provides limited evidence, and examples or explanations, when provided, are only partially appropriate.
Completion: The response addresses at least some parts of the prompt, unlike a general score "4" or "3," which would address all the parts of the response. This response attempts to use the assessments to identify significant needs from the exhibits but provides an incomplete analysis ("These mistakes are phonics in nature"—What specific phonics elements do the errors represent?) or no analysis, just restating the results of the Letter-Naming Fluency and Nonsense Word Fluency assessments. The candidate's strategies to address the student's needs are present, although inaccurate; however, the candidate's explanations for why the lessons would be effective are either vague ("because it targets Daniel's needs"), unsupported ("It also improves spelling and will help Daniel achieve grade-level reading standards as described in the TEKS for ELAR"—How would it improve spelling? How would it help Daniel achieve grade-level TEKS for ELAR?), or based on general pedagogy ("gradual release of responsibility approach") rather than on reading pedagogy.
Application of Content: As you read the response, note the lack of accurate, current application of professional knowledge about teaching reading. The response demonstrates a partially accurate, limited application of the relevant content knowledge and skills. For example, the response identifies rate and prosody as "the key components of fluency" but omits accuracy, which is the component of fluency most directly affecting Daniel's reading performance. Notice how the response repeats information from the exhibits but does not provide complete interpretations of the data presented.
In the second paragraph, the response focuses on one error the student made (reading pick for pack) rather than identifying a significant pattern of errors across all the exhibits related to foundational reading skills. As a result, an inaccurate conclusion, that Daniel has difficulty with short vowels, is addressed, even though in the exhibit Daniel immediately corrected this error. The description of the strategy to address this misidentified need then begins with the "touch and say it" phonemic awareness activity. However, the description demonstrates a limited understanding of the activity, and it turns into a letter-naming activity instead. This differs greatly from the accuracy and strong pedagogical knowledge that is demonstrated in a "4" or "3" response.
The response identifies listening comprehension as a comprehension need, but the supporting evidence cited is limited and vague. ("He was not able to answer the questions correctly.") The response again cites an inaccuracy, "he did not self-correct." Since the passage is non-fiction, the use of a story map is not appropriate or highly effective. The description of the story map activity is missing key steps, leaving out the necessary teacher support. The explanation highlights the importance of using a gradual release of responsibility approach during instruction, rather than providing an explanation that is based on reading pedagogy and grounded in the TEKS for English Language Arts and Reading.
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. For example, there is only partial support provided to justify the assertion that Daniel needs instruction in short vowels, and it is based on one error rather than on a clear pattern of errors across exhibits. The identified needs, strategies, and explanation are partially described, include inaccuracies, and represent limited knowledge of reading development or relevant reading pedagogy. The explanations for the strategies' effectiveness are limited, reflect weak reasoning, and are based more on general pedagogy than on reading pedagogy.
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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