Section 5: Sample Constructed-Response Question
Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities for Trade and Industrial Education 6–12 (370)
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 below to complete the assignment that follows.
You are planning the introductory lesson for a unit on workplace expectations for your career and technical education class. The unit will address the following standard and substandard from the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
|127.14. (c) Knowledge and Skills
(3) The student discusses work ethics, employer expectations, interactions with diverse populations, and communication skills in the workplace. The student is expected to:
(C) discuss and analyze employer expectations.
Using your knowledge of career and technical education principles, concepts, and best practices, write an essay of approximately 400–600 words in which you:
- identify a learning objective for this introductory lesson that is aligned to the targeted standard;
- describe one instructional activity, including teaching strategies and materials, you would use to promote student achievement of the learning objective;
- explain why the activity you described would be effective in promoting students' achievement of the learning objective;
- explain how you would differentiate instruction to maximize the participation of all students; and
- describe one approach for assessing students' knowledge and skills in relation to the learning objective.
Sample Responses and Rationales
Score Point 4
A thorough understanding of employer expectations would include an understanding of the role played by soft skills in the workplace. At the conclusion of this introductory lesson on workplace expectations, students will be able to (1) identify soft skills, (2) explain how soft skills are important to professional success, and (3) determine what soft skills they already possess.
I would begin this lesson by using a slideshow to present students with the following scenario: "You have been offered the opportunity to meet a potential employer tomorrow to talk about your dream job. You want to make sure this person has a positive opinion of you at the end of the meeting. Describe how you would make the best first impression possible." I would provide students with a printed version of this slide with a blank space where they could record their ideas.
After students spend five minutes brainstorming ideas about making a good first impression, I would then use the Think-Pair-Share method to allow students to process the information. I would pair them up, asking them to discuss their ideas and compare their answers. Once students have had a chance to compare notes with a peer, I would bring the class back together and create a list, with student input, of soft skills in the workplace. With the students still working in pairs, I would post the following definition: "Soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people." I would then present a video of a job interview. Then, I would ask the student pairs to work together to identify aspects in the video that could be categorized as soft skills. Again, I would open the class up for discussion, asking each student pair to share its results.
In order for students to explain how soft skills are important to professional success, they must first be able to identify soft skills. Providing a video will enable students to see what soft skills, which can be somewhat abstract, would look like in the real world. With that knowledge, students would be better able to analyze the soft skills they already possess. Even students unfamiliar with the concept of soft skills will likely be able to explain how they would go about making a positive first impression; here, learning is facilitated by connecting students' prior knowledge with this new knowledge, the definition of soft skills. Using the Think-Pair-Share method prompts students to produce more thoughtful and extensive responses than what they would produce individually. This approach also provides a low-risk setting for students to share ideas, which is an especially beneficial approach for students who are hesitant to participate in large-group discussions due to shyness, language proficiency, or other factors.
Providing students with a printed version of the slide and a handout of the definition of soft skills along with using video is one way to differentiate instruction and make content more accessible to students. This strategy addresses multiple learning modalities. The Think-Pair-Share method also increases student participation by providing more reserved students with an opportunity to talk about their ideas in a one-to-one conversation without the anxiety that comes with being asked to share with the whole class.
At the end of the lesson, one way to quickly assess students' progress toward meeting the identified learning objectives would be to use an "exit ticket." Using a notecard, sticky note, or online survey, I would ask students to identify one soft skill that is important in making a good first impression in a job interview, one soft skill that they already possess, and one soft skill that they need to work on. The responses to the exit ticket could then be used to inform future lessons to support students in building these soft skills and moving confidently toward professional success.
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: Each of the five tasks presented in the assignment is fully addressed. The first paragraph identifies three learning objectives aligned to the targeted standard. The second and third paragraphs describe an appropriate instructional sequence, including strategies (slide presentation, handouts, Think-Pair-Share). The fourth paragraph explains why this activity would be effective, giving reasons for the various elements of the activity, including activating students' existing knowledge of soft skills. The fifth paragraph explains strategies for differentiating instruction to address learning preferences and participation needs. The sixth paragraph describes a method of assessment. It describes the materials used, the method by which the assessment would be administered, and the uses to which the data yielded by the assessment could be put.
Application of Content: The response reflects appropriate knowledge of career and technical education principles, concepts, and best practices. The candidate demonstrates, for example, an understanding of how prior knowledge can be activated toward the students' achievement of the learning objective. The candidate provides specific examples of how to differentiate instruction—for example, by providing written handouts in addition to projecting the information and giving time for students to work independently and then in pairs prior to large-group discussion. The candidate supplies a specific example and a well-reasoned explanation for the use of an exit ticket as an approach to assessing students' knowledge and skills in relation to the learning objective.
Support: The response provides strong, relevant evidence, specific examples, and well-reasoned explanations for each of the specific tasks in the assignment. The phrasing of the scenario, for example, is precisely thought out, as is the definition of soft skills. The rationale provided for each instructional material and each step of the lesson activity reflects a thorough understanding of the relevant content knowledge and skills.
Score Point 2
Employers want employees who are responsible and reliable. By the end of my lesson students should become familiar with generally accepted employer expectations. One of these is effective communication.
The lesson should teach students the importance of body language or non-verbal communication. There are many examples of non-verbal communication that students need to know to be successful in the workplace. One of the best ways to teach students about non-verbal communication is to use role plays.
One such role play would be the following: an employee is in a meeting with their supervisor to discuss the employee’s new job responsibilities. Have one student volunteer to be the employee and another student volunteer to be the supervisor. Have the student who is playing the employee exhibit one or more of the following non-verbals that would be considered undesirable in this scenario (slouch in their chair, fidget, check their phone, cross their arms in a defensive way, avoid making eye contact, smirk or frown). The students who are observing the role play should write down any examples of non-verbal communication that they observe. This should include both positive and negative examples. Allow the student volunteers to engage in the role play for a few minutes before bringing the mock meeting to a close. Afterwards, ask the rest of the class to share what they observed and explain why the negative non-verbals are undesirable and why the positive non-verbals are desirable in the workplace. The role play could be modified and repeated to allow all of the students an opportunity to participate.
This is an effective way to help students learn the importance of non-verbal communication because it is learning by doing. When students practice in this way they will be able to better understand why it is so important to be aware of their own non-verbal communication and how it is perceived by others in the workplace.
At the end of the lesson students can construct a T-chart to write out not only what they think they know about non-verbal communication, but also what they don’t know as well. This is just one way to assess whether students have become familiar with employer expectations.
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 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: The response addresses some parts of the assignment. The candidate provides a paraphrase of the substandard from the TEKS ("By the end of the lesson students should become familiar with generally accepted employer expectations.") rather than identifying a measurable learning objective that is aligned to the targeted standard. The candidate partially describes an instructional activity but does not include a relevant teaching strategy nor the specific materials used to promote student achievement of the stated learning objective. The response offers limited evidence and only partially appropriate explanations as to how to differentiate instruction ("The role play could be modified and repeated to allow all of the students an opportunity to participate") and assess students’ knowledge and skills in relation to the learning objective ("students can construct a T-chart to write out not only what they think they know about non-verbal communication, but also what they don’t know as well").
Application of Content: The response provides an only partially accurate and effective application of knowledge pertaining to career and technical education principles, concepts, and best practices. It states, for example, that "One of the best ways to teach students about non-verbal communication is to use role plays," but provides only the partially appropriate explanation of "because it is learning by doing." The response provides an approach for assessing students’ knowledge and skills ("construct a T-chart") but does not provide an explanation for how this relates to students’ achievement of the learning objective.
Support: The response provides limited evidence. Examples or explanations, when provided, may only be partially appropriate. The instructional activity described offers limited evidence for the promotion of student achievement of the learning objective. The explanation of how to differentiate instruction reflects weak reasoning and lacks the support of an appropriate explanation or example.
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.|
Note: Your written response should be your original work, written in your own words and not copied or paraphrased from some other work.
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