Test Information Guide

Field 76: Middle School Humanities
Sample Open-Response Items

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 150to300 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 #1

Objective 0013
Prepare an organized, developed written analysis of a given literary text.

Assignment

Use the information provided in the exhibit to complete the assignment that follows.

Using your knowledge of literature, write a response of approximately 150to300 words in which you:

Be sure to cite specific evidence from the poem to support your response.

Exhibit

Read the poem below, "Smoke in Our Hair" (2008)1 by Ofelia Zepeda; then complete the assignment that appears on the "Assignment" tab.

The scent of burning wood holds
the strongest memory.
Mesquite, cedar, piñon, juniper,
all are distinct.
Mesquite is dry desert air and mild winter.
Cedar and piñon are colder places.
Winter air in our hair is pulled away,
and scent of smoke settles in its place.
We walk around the rest of the day
with the aroma resting on our shoulders.
The sweet smell holds the strongest memory.
We stand around the fire.
The sound of the crackle of wood and spark
is ephemeral.
Smoke, like memories, permeates our hair,
our clothing, our layers of skin.
The smoke travels deep
to the seat of memory.
We walk away from the fire;
no matter how far we walk,
we carry this scent with us.
New York City, France, Germany—
we catch the scent of burning wood;
we are brought home.

Sample Strong Response to the Open-Response Item #1

Coming late Summer 2023

Sample Open-Response Item #2

Objective 0014
Prepare an organized, developed written analysis of the information in given primary and secondary historical sources surrounding a discipline-specific inquiry question related to U.S. history, world history, or civics.

Assignment

Use the information provided in the exhibits to complete the assignment that follows.

Using your knowledge of history, write a response of approximately 150to300 words in which you:

Be sure to cite specific evidence from the sources in your response.

Exhibit 1

Discipline-Specific Inquiry Question

To what extent did early Christianity reinforce and/or challenge traditional gender roles?

Exhibit 2

Source #1

The Gospel According to Luke 10:38to42, circa 85 common era

Context: The Gospel of Luke is one of the four "canonical" gospels in the New Testament and is believed by Christians to be based directly on the teachings of Jesus, including his actual words.

As they [Jesus and his disciples] went on their way, he entered into a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came up to him, and said, "Lord, don't you care that my sister left me to serve alone? Ask her therefore to help me." Jesus answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her."

Exhibit 3

Source #2

Paul, First Letter to Timothy, circa 85 common era

Context: Most scholars believe that the letters or epistles to Timothy attributed to Paul were not actually written by Paul. Their content concerns the establishment of Christian churches in the Roman Empire and rules and practices for Church leaders and Christians generally.

I desire therefore that the men in every place pray, lifting up holy hands without anger and doubting. In the same way, that women also adorn themselves in decent clothing, with modesty and propriety, not just with braided hair, gold, pearls, or expensive clothing, but with good works, which is appropriate for women professing godliness. Let a woman learn in quietness with full submission. But I don't permit a woman to teach, nor to exercise authority over a man, but to be in quietness. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Adam wasn't deceived, but the woman, being deceived, has fallen into disobedience; but she will be saved through her childbearing, if they continue in faith, love, and sanctification with sobriety.

This is a faithful saying: someone who seeks to be an overseer desires a good work. The overseer therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, modest, hospitable, good at teaching; not a drinker, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having children in subjection with all reverence; (but how could someone who doesn’t know how to rule one's own house take care of God’s assembly?).

Sample Strong Response to the Open-Response Item #2

Coming late Summer 2023

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.

Acknowledgments

1From Where Clouds Are Formed by Ofelia Zepeda. © 2008 Ofelia Zepeda. Reprinted by permission of the University of Arizona Press.