Test Information Guide

Field 44: Speech
Sample Open-Response Item

The following materials contain:

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.

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 0009
Prepare an organized, developed analysis related to one or both of the following: the role of public speech in democratic societies, and public speaking.

Use the excerpt below from an 1811 speech by the Native American leader Tecumseh to complete the exercise that follows.

After the conclusion of the American Revolution, white settlers from the eastern seaboard began to move in greater and greater numbers across the Appalachian Mountains into the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. Shawnee chief Tecumseh traveled extensively during the first decade of the nineteenth century, speaking to native peoples from Iowa to Florida about the expansion of white settlements. The following speech was delivered to representatives from the Choctaw and Chickasaw peoples of Mississippi.

1    The whites are already nearly a match for us all united, and too strong for any one tribe alone to resist; so that unless we support one another with our collective and united forces; unless every tribe unanimously combines to give check to the ambition and avarice of the whites, they will soon conquer us apart and disunited, and we will be driven away from our native country and scattered as autumnal leaves before the wind.

2    But have we not courage enough remaining to defend our country and maintain our ancient independence? Will we calmly suffer the white intruders and tyrants to enslave us? Shall it be said of our race that we knew not how to extricate ourselves from the three most dreadful calamities—folly, inactivity and cowardice?

3    But what need is there to speak of the past? It speaks for itself and asks, Where today is the Pequod? Where the Narragansetts, the Mohawks, Pocanokets, and many other once powerful tribes of our race? They have vanished before the avarice and oppression of the white men, as snow before a summer sun. In the vain hope of alone defending their ancient possessions, they have fallen in the wars with the white men. Look abroad over their once beautiful country, and what see you now? Naught but the ravages of the pale face destroyers meet our eyes.

4    So it will be with you Choctaws and Chickasaws! Soon your mighty forest trees, under the shade of whose wide spreading branches you have played in infancy, sported in boyhood, and now rest your wearied limbs after the fatigue of the chase, will be cut down to fence in the land which the white intruders dare to call their own. Soon their broad roads will pass over the grave of your fathers, and the place of their rest will be blotted out forever.

5    The annihilation of our race is at hand unless we unite in one common cause against the common foe. Think not, brave Choctaws and Chickasaws, that you can remain passive and indifferent to the common danger, and thus escape the common fate. Your people, too, will soon be as falling leaves and scattering clouds before their blighting breath. You, too, will be driven away from your native land and ancient domains as leaves are driven before the wintry storms. . . .

6    I know you will cry with me: Never! Never! Then let us by unity of action destroy them all, which we now can do, or drive them back whence they came. . . . Let us form one body, one heart, and defend to the last warrior our country, our homes, our liberty, and the graves of our fathers.

Using your knowledge of speech and public speaking, prepare a response in which you:

Sample Strong Response to the Open-Response Item

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

The purpose of Tecumseh's speech is to persuade his audience to join forces to combat the white European settlers. His principal argument is that unless the native peoples unite, they will surely be defeated. His first premise is that whites are too powerful for any single tribe to defeat, citing historical examples of tribes who were similarly defeated ("the Pequods, Narragansetts," etc.). This argument climaxes in the fourth paragraph where Tecumseh describes the fatal result should his audience ignore his warning. These supporting paragraphs lead to the conclusion that the only possibility for native peoples' survival is for all tribes to join forces against their common enemy.

The speech is organized to maximize its persuasiveness by interspersing rational argumentation with emotional appeal. For example, in paragraph two Tecumseh stirs his listeners' pride in their courage and independence; this appeal renders them more receptive to the rational line of argument that continues in the next paragraph. Tecumseh's powerful language also functions to move his audience emotionally. He describes the white settlers as "pale face destroyers," "intruders and tyrants" driven by "ambition and avarice" to acts of "oppression" and "enslavement." He claims that the whites will build roads over ancestral graves, thus desecrating that which native peoples hold sacred. The description of what will happen if no action is taken is also given in vivid and powerful terms. Tecumseh speaks of "annihilation" rather than mere 'defeat', and links this concept to a series of metaphors that convey a stark contrast between the natives' communion with and respect for nature and the white man's will to destroy it.

Since Tecumseh's ultimate purpose is to persuade his audience not merely to agree with his views, but to go to war, his speech must be inspiring. His combination of rational argumentation and emotional appeal is intended to achieve persuasive power sufficient to such an ambitious goal.

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.