Keys to Success on the
Success Strategies for the Open-Ended Items
on the Reading PSSA
Why is this important?
• A Proficient or Advanced score on the PSSA
Reading 11 is a state requirement for graduation.
• The Constructed Response portion of the test
counts for approximately 20 percent of your score.
• Skipping these questions, or not answering them
to your full ability, is not in your best interest.
Plan: Analyze the Question
• Read the question carefully.
• Restate the question in your own words.
• Re-read the question and divide it into parts.
(There is always more than one part to the question.)
• Circle, underline, or highlight each part of
(This will help to ensure that you don’t miss a required
part of the question in your answer.)
Plan: Analyze the Question
6. Identify at least two personality traits
displayed by the author. Explain how each
trait made the author a good candidate for
the Shuttle-Mir program. Use details from
the passage to support your response.
• Task 1 – Identify two personality traits
• Task 2 – Explain how each trait made Shannon Lucid a
good candidate for the Shuttle-Mir program
• Task 3 – Use passage details to support my choices
Plan: Use the Passage
• Look for facts, examples,
and details in the passage
that will help you to
answer the question.
Circle, underline, or
highlight these facts,
examples, and details.
• Jot down key points and
supporting details in a
logical order. You will be
given scratch paper for
Write: “Say it! Support it! Explain it!”
• SAY (State) your answer to the question in the
first sentence using key words from the question.
• SUPPORT your opening statement with details
and examples from the text.
• EXPLAIN how your details and examples from
the text reinforce your answer to the question.
The open-ended items will NOT require you to
make “personal connections” in your response.
Write: Use Transitions
Your response should include transitional words
or phrases to suit the purpose of your writing.
• to indicate time • to show place or location
• to give instructions • to explain a problem
• to show how things are • to make a point
alike • to explain a process
• to show how things are • to explain a cause or an
• to add information • to conclude
Review: Did I complete the task?
• Did I answer all parts of the question?
• Did I include the right number of specific
details from the text to support my answer?
• Did I explain how my details and examples
from the text reinforced my answer?
• Did I read my answer for clarity?
How will my response be scored?
• Review the Open-Ended Item-Specific Scoring
Guideline. (Page 11of Grade 11Reading Item Sampler 2006-2007)
• Examine the sample open-ended item responses
for each response score. (These can be found on pages 12
through 17 of the Grade 11Reading Item Sampler 2006-2007.)
• Score your response to question 6 in class using
the Open-Ended Item-Specific Scoring Guideline.
Revise Your Response
• Based on the suggestions in this
presentation, the Open-Ended Item-Specific
Scoring Guideline, and the sample
responses given by the Pennsylvania
Department of Education, REVISE your
• Your goal for this task is to write a top
Let’s Try Again…
• Repeat the scoring and revision procedures
for question 19.
• The Open-Ended Item-Specific Scoring Guideline for item
19 is found on Page 29 of the Grade 11Reading Item
• The anchor papers (exemplars) for item 19 can be found on
pages 30 through 35 of the Grade 11Reading Item Sampler