Test Information Guide

Field 46: Dance
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 0010
Prepare an organized, developed analysis on a topic related to one or more of the following: dance movement: elements, skills, and concepts; dance as expression: creation, production, and analysis; and dance in society: history, purposes, and practice.

Use the information below to complete the exercise that follows.

Some choreographers create dances in which movement is the primary focus and source of meaning, while others integrate movement with multimedia effects (visual arts, literature, sound effects, etc.) to create meaning.

Choose two well-known dance works—one that primarily uses movement to create meaning and one that combines movement with multimedia in the creation of meaning. Using your knowledge of dance composition and the core elements of dance, write an essay in which you analyze how the choreographic approaches used in the two dances support the intended meaning of the dances. In your essay:

Sample Strong Response to the Open-Response Item

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

Choreographers use various means to express their visions and concepts. Some work entirely within the traditional confines of movement and music. Though costumes and staging may contribute to the effect, the focus is on dance. Others may integrate into a dance production multimedia elements such as video or spoken words.

Two works that illustrate this difference are Paul Taylor’s “Esplanade,” which is “pure” dance, and Bill T. Jones’s “Still/Here,” which incorporates video, song, and spoken words.

“Esplanade” is a joyous explosion of movement set to music from Bach violin concertos. It was inspired by the sight of a young girl running to catch a bus, and it uses natural movements of the human body to convey emotion. Dancers run and skip together, with their forward-pointing toes conveying joy. They run and slide, and a note of humor is injected when one does a handstand. There are also moments of grief, or of failed hopes – in one sequence, a series of dancers run across the stage, leap, look back, and crash to the floor. Yet there is something exuberant about even this. Strong moods are conveyed, but not literal stories.

“Still/Here” deals with people living with terminal illness. We see, in video, their faces and hear their words. Their gestures are the basis for dance movements. Dancers assume postures of self-protection or of graceful support. They may illustrate the content of video testimony: one dancer clutches her breast while a survivor describes her despair; one dances frenetically while her partner’s stillness conveys the exhaustion of medical treatments. Another time, Jones uses stillness, all his dancers standing motionless facing the audience, to focus attention on the video and voices. Because the video itself shows us specific, real people, some critics have found it disturbingly literal.

Adding multimedia takes away some of the responsibility of dance alone to convey meaning. It also changes the kind of meaning conveyed. Where “Esplanade” expresses human emotion and musical form through movement alone, “Still/Here” is strongly tied by video to the experiences of individual dying people. Both are great works of art, but one is more general and abstract, while the other is very specific and concrete.

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.