Test Information Guide

Field 03: General Curriculum
Multi-Subject Subtest
Sample Open-Response Item

The following materials contain:

Sample Test Directions for Open-Response Items

This section of the test consists of an open-response item assignment.You will be asked to prepare a written response of approximately 150–300 words, or 1–2 pages, for the assignment.

Read the assignment carefully before you begin your response. Think about how you will organize your response. You may use the erasable notebooklet to make notes, write an outline, or otherwise prepare your response. However, your final response must be either:

  1. typed into the on-screen response box,
  2. written on a response sheet and scanned using the scanner provided at your workstation, or
  3. provided using both the on-screen response box (for typed text) and a response sheet (for calculations or drawings) that you will scan using the scanner provided at your workstation.

Instructions for scanning your response sheet(s) are available by clicking the "Scanning Help" button at the top of the screen.

As a whole, your response to the assignment must demonstrate an understanding of the knowledge of the field. In your response to the assignment, you are expected to demonstrate the depth of your understanding of the subject area by applying your knowledge rather than by merely reciting factual information.

Your response to the assignment will be evaluated based on the following criteria.

The open-response item assignment is intended to assess subject knowledge. Your responses must be communicated clearly enough to permit valid judgment of the evaluation criteria by scorers. Your response should be written for an audience of educators in this field. The final version of your response should conform to the conventions of edited American English. Your response should be your original work, written in your own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work.

Be sure to write about the assigned topic. You may not use any reference materials during the test. Remember to review your work and make any changes you think will improve your response.

Any time spent responding to an assignment, including scanning the response sheet(s), is part of your testing time. Monitor your time carefully. When your testing time expires, a pop-up message will appear on-screen indicating the conclusion of your test session. Only response sheets that are scanned before you end your test or before time has expired will be scored. Any response sheet that is not scanned before testing ends will NOT be scored.

Sample Open-Response Item

Objective 0015
Prepare an organized, developed analysis on a topic related to History and Social Science or to Science and Technology/Engineering.

Use the information below to complete the exercise that follows.

During the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, England operated under an economic system called mercantilism. The colonies of North America and the West Indies were instrumental to the success of the English mercantile system of trade.

Using your knowledge of mercantilism, the Triangular Trades, and this period in history:

Sample Strong Response to the Open-Response Item

The sample response below reflects a strong knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.

The mercantile system benefited the mother country at the expense of the colonies. In the case of the American colonies, they provided huge quantities of raw materials like cotton, tobacco, and lumber, which England got tax-free to ship back home and turn into finished products. The West Indies had a similar situation, in that they provided England with an abundance of spices and sugar cane -- which was turned into raw sugar, molasses and rum -- most of which they weren't allowed to keep. The colonists had to turn virtually all of their resources over to England.

Furthermore, England maintained a monopoly on trade with her colonies, prohibiting the colonies from turning their own raw materials into finished products and from selling either raw materials or manufactured goods to other countries. They had to wait and buy goods only from England -- at a high cost and with very high import taxes added on. This went on for so long that England made great advances in manufacturing and industrialization while the colonies became more and more dependent on England for basic supplies. As a result, the mercantile system made England richer and richer while the colonies became poorer and poorer.

England traded some of her manufactured goods with Africa in exchange for slaves, which they crowded onto ships going to the American colonies. British troops also captured natives in the West Indies and turned them into slaves. Using slave labor in the colonies allowed England to further lower the cost of producing the raw materials to be exported back home. However, this "triangular trade" began a long history of using black persons as slave labor -- not only to plant and harvest crops like cotton, tobacco, and sugar cane, but also to run the households of the rich -- a legacy it has been extremely difficult for our country to overcome. It created what has been a continuing difference between the work and wages of blacks and whites, as well as racial differences in political, educational, and social opportunities.

Scoring Rubric

Performance Characteristics

The following characteristics guide the scoring of responses to the open-response item(s).

Performance Characteristics
Purpose The extent to which the response achieves the purpose of the assignment.
Subject Matter Knowledge Accuracy and appropriateness in the application of subject matter knowledge.
Support Quality and relevance of supporting details.
Rationale Soundness of argument and degree of understanding of the subject matter.

Scoring Scale

The scoring scale below, which is related to the performance characteristics for the tests, is used by scorers in assigning scores to responses to the open-response item(s).

Score Scale with description for each score point.
Score Point Score Point Description
4 The "4" response reflects a thorough knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • The purpose of the assignment is fully achieved.
  • There is substantial, accurate, and appropriate application of subject matter knowledge.
  • The supporting evidence is sound; there are high-quality, relevant examples.
  • The response reflects an ably reasoned, comprehensive understanding of the topic.
3 The "3" response reflects an adequate knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • The purpose of the assignment is largely achieved.
  • There is a generally accurate and appropriate application of subject matter knowledge.
  • The supporting evidence is adequate; there are some acceptable, relevant examples.
  • The response reflects an adequately reasoned understanding of the topic.
2 The "2" response reflects a limited knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • The purpose of the assignment is partially achieved.
  • There is a limited, possibly inaccurate or inappropriate, application of subject matter knowledge.
  • The supporting evidence is limited; there are few relevant examples.
  • The response reflects a limited, poorly reasoned understanding of the topic.
1 The "1" response reflects a weak knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • The purpose of the assignment is not achieved.
  • There is little or no appropriate or accurate application of subject matter knowledge.
  • The supporting evidence, if present, is weak; there are few or no relevant examples.
  • The response reflects little or no reasoning about or understanding of the topic.
U The response is unrelated to the assigned topic, illegible, primarily in a language other than English, not of sufficient length to score, or merely a repetition of the assignment.
B There is no response to the assignment.