Test Information Guide

Field 190: Foundations of Reading
Sample Open-Response Item

The following materials contain:

Sample Test Directions for the Open-Response Item Assignments

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. You may use the booklet of yellow erasable sheets to make notes, write an outline, or otherwise prepare your response. However, your score will be based solely on the version of your response that is typed in the on-screen response box.

Please note that symbols for long and short vowels are not available on the keyboard. A variety of symbols are available for insertion in the on-screen response box. To access these symbols, click on the icon that appears in the upper left corner of the screen. Using the mouse, click on the symbol you wish to include in your response and then select "Insert". The symbol will be inserted where the cursor is positioned in the response box.

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.

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

Objective 0010
Prepare an organized, developed analysis on a topic related to the development of foundational reading skills.


Use the information in each Exhibit to complete the assignment below.

Using your knowledge of foundational reading skills (e.g., phonemic awareness, phonics, recognition of high-frequency words, syllabication, morphemic analysis, automaticity, reading fluency [i.e., accuracy, rate, and prosody], self-correcting), write a response of approximately 150–300 words in which you:

Be sure to cite specific evidence from the information provided to support all parts of your response.


Teacher Record

Early in the school year, Jayden, a third-grade student, reads aloud a passage from an unfamiliar narrative text. As Jayden reads, the teacher notes his performance on a separate copy of the text. Below is the teacher's record of Jayden's oral reading performance.


Oral Fluency Reading Rubric

Afterward, the teacher calculates Jayden's oral reading fluency (words correct per minute) and accuracy scores. The teacher also assigns Jayden a holistic score of 1–4 in three dimensions of his oral reading performance, with 4 representing the highest score for that dimension. These additional notes are shown below.

Words correct per minute
75 wcpm
Prosody blank
  • Smoothness
  • 3
  • Phrasing
  • 4


    Third–grade fiftieth percentile fall benchmark is 83 wcpm.

    Sample Strong Response to the Open-Response Item

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

    Jayden demonstrates significant strength in many basic decoding skills, including reading high-frequency words with automaticity and reading words with beginning and final consonant blends (ground), compound words (herself), contractions (doesn't), and basic vowel teams such as  E A  (leaped),  A Y  (stay), and the diphthong  A W  (saw). These decoding skills contributed to Jayden's strengths in the fluency areas of pace (speed) and phrasing.

    Jayden demonstrates a significant need in reading accuracy (89% is very low), particularly decoding words with advanced vowel teams. He had difficulty decoding  E A  pronounced with short e (reading steadily as "steedee"),  I E  pronounced with long e (reading field as filed), and  I G H , pronouncing it with a short i instead of long i (reading bright as brig, high as hig, right as rigt). Jayden also frequently misreads words with inflectional ( E D ) and derivational ( L Y ) affixes (substituting s for  E D  in several words and dropping  L Y  in quickly, slowly, and steadily). Jayden's low accuracy affected the number of words he's able to read correctly per minute (below 50th percentile), and would also affect reading comprehension.

    An appropriate instructional strategy for teaching Jayden more advanced vowel teams would be to provide him with explicit instruction and guided practice reading and writing words containing a target vowel team (e.g.,  I G H ), both in isolation (e.g., reading aloud target word lists with immediate teacher feedback, conducting word sorts of words that represent different spellings of the same target sound) and in connected text (e.g., reading decodable texts and writing original poems that feature words with the target vowel team).

    This instructional strategy would be effective for Jayden because it would promote his accurate, automatic recognition of words that contain the target vowel team. More accurate word reading would improve Jayden's reading fluency rate (words correct per minute) and support his reading comprehension.

    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.