Test Information Guide
Field 16: Music
Sample Open-Response Item
The following materials contain:
- Sample test directions for the open-response item
- A sample open-response item
- An example of a strong response to the open-response item
- The scoring rubric
Sample Test Directions for Open-Response Items
This section of the test consists of two open-response item assignments. You will be asked to prepare a written response of approximately 150–300 words for each assignment. You should use your time to plan, write, review, and edit your response for each assignment. You must write responses to both of the assignments.
For each assignment, read the topic and directions carefully before you begin to work. Think about how you will organize your response.
As a whole, your response to each assignment must demonstrate an understanding of the knowledge of the field. In your response to each 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 each assignment will be evaluated based on the following criteria.
- PURPOSE: the extent to which the response achieves the purpose of the assignment
- SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE: appropriateness and accuracy in the application of subject knowledge
- SUPPORT: quality and relevance of supporting evidence
- RATIONALE: soundness of argument and degree of understanding of the subject area
The open-response item assignments are intended to assess subject knowledge. Your responses must be communicated clearly enough to permit valid judgment of the evaluation criteria by scorers. Your responses should be written for an audience of educators in this field. The final version of each response should conform to the conventions of edited American English. Your responses 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 topics. You may not use any reference materials during the test. Remember to review your work and make any changes you think will improve your responses.
Sample Open-Response Item
Prepare an organized, developed analysis on a topic related to one or more of the following: music theory and analysis; music history, literature, and culture; music education.
Use the information below to complete the exercise that follows.
When listening to music, most listeners hear expressive qualities in the music.
Using your knowledge of music history and literature, write an essay in which you:
- identify one expressive musical work and its composer;
- discuss one emotion that the work expresses; and
- discuss one musical technique or gesture that the composer used to evoke that emotion.
Sample Strong Response to the Open-Response Item
The sample response below reflects a strong knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
In the early 1940s, Aaron Copland wrote Appalachian Spring for ballet with an orchestra of 13 instruments. Copland made a decided effort to compose music that would appeal to a broad audience, connecting them to him … a recognizable living American composer. He turned to American folklore, culture, and western themes, borrowing melodies from cowboy songs, Mexican folksongs, revival hymns, and Shaker tunes. His music became the model of American music, a recognizable style that contained a new melodic and harmonic simplicity. The texture of Copland's music is clear and transparent. He is known for "tone painting" and writing harmonies that hardly seem to move, suggesting the openness of the American landscapes. Harmonically, he used twentieth-century techniques such as polychords, changing meters, polyrhythms, and frequently exciting orchestrations for the percussionists.
The Pulitzer Prize–winning symphonic orchestral suite, Appalachian Spring, written to be played without pausing, is reminiscent of the original ballet about a pioneer wedding and the completion of the bridal couple's farmhouse in the hills of Pennsylvania in 1800. The orchestral music is scored to include piano and a large percussion section, including snare drum, woodblock, xylophone, and glockenspiel. The opening music conveys a calm, peaceful emotion by employing hardly audible dynamics, a slow tempo with sustained harmonies, and even, flowing rhythmic patterns. In music that is sensitive, intimate, and yet revealing, the audience hears the story of the bride and groom, the exciting revivalist-style wedding ceremony, and the community's joyful celebration. In the final section, Copland returns the story and listener to that same calm, peaceful emotion reminiscent of the opening music. This time, however, a solo violinist plays a very slow, beautiful, melodic phrase to create the mood. The audience senses that all is well, an emotion that Copland often wanted his audience to experience through his compositions.
The following characteristics guide the scoring of responses to the open-response item(s).
|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.|
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 Point||Score Point Description|
The "4" response reflects a thorough knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
|3||The "3" response reflects an adequate knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
|2||The "2" response reflects a limited knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
|1||The "1" response reflects a weak knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
|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.|