In classrooms, our teachers use Constructed Response all the time in short answer questions, short essays, and fill in the blank questions. However, with the discussion of including these types of items in our state accountability assessments Constructed Response has taken its own place in the spotlight. “Constructed-response items can be very simple, requiring students to answer with only a sentence or two, or quite complex, requiring students to read a prompt or a specified text article, reflect on the key points, and then develop a meaningful essay or analysis of the information. Whether simple or complex, all constructed-response questions measure students' ability to apply, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize the knowledge that they have acquired in a more abstract way” (Tankersley, 2007.) The use of constructed responses allows teachers to take an in-depth look at their students’ abilities and performances and create instruction based on the individual student’s needs. For decades “test grades” have been the measure that tells a student how well he or she is progressing. However, a formative assessment seems to offer a distinct advantage over the “chapter quiz” or the “unit test” in that it offers the teacher a current picture of where the student is performing. If we allow our assessments to act as a systematic process used to gather evidence about learning continuously, rather than once or twice a year, they can provide teachers and their students with much-needed data. What does this data reveal? The student can see precisely what more needs to be done to master the concepts or skills being assessed. As a result, the student learns, masters the important learning goals, and gains the necessary prerequisites for success in more advanced learning. A classroom teacher will gain a clearer understanding of the students’ knowledge and be able to direct instruction confident that it is appropriate. The prompts and documents have been created with input from our teachers. Hopefully, they will act as examples for teachers to create their own Constructed Response prompts or questions. Thanks for your critiques and your suggestions. Constructed Response is a great way to determine whether or not students have really gotten it - they can't guess their way to a right answer. If students learn how responding to text in this manner is a life-skill as well as test-taking skill, then we have been successful. References Bloom, B. S., Hastings, J. T., & Madaus, G. F. (1982). “Evaluation to Improve Learning.” New York, New York: McGraw-Hill. Guskey, T. R. (2003, February). How Classroom Assessments Improve Learning. Educational Leadership, 60, 611. Heritage, M. (2007, October). Formative Assessment: What Do Teachers Need to Know and Do. Phi Delta Kappan, 89, 140-145. Retrieved November 29, 2007, from http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/kappan.htm Noddings, N. (2008, February). “All Our Students Thinking.” Educational Leadership, 65, 8-13. Tankersley, K. (2007). Constructed Response: Connecting Performance and Assessment.
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