How to Answer Constructed Response Questions

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How to Answer Constructed
Response Questions
Writing Practice
Modified by Dr. Williams, 10/7/14
https://teacherweb.com/LA/.../Constructed_Response_Practice.ppt
Constructed Response Questions:
• Ask you to apply your knowledge and
understanding in a short written answer.
• On standardized tests, these short written
answers are scored on a scale like 0,1,2,3, or 4
points.
• A full 4 point response answers all 4 parts of
the question, usually two, two-part questions.
Acronym--RACE
• To understand and answer the constructed response
essay question, the easiest way is to memorize the
acronym "RACE" - this stands for reword, answer, cite
and explain. If you are able to restate a question,
provide an answer using evidence cited from the
prompt given, and then explain how that evidence
does, in fact, support the answer, you will probably
score well on the constructed response essay section
of any exam you take.
Rewording the Question (the "R" in
"RACE")
• Reword the question means that you are to
restate the question and make it into a
statement as a part of the answer you
provide. If you were to be asked "What color
is the sky?", you would not simply answer
"blue" - instead, the correct answer would be
"The color of the sky is blue," or words to that
effect.
How do you best reword the question?
Your first sentence should restate the question,
but not answer it.
Example: Why do students get excited about
vacation?
How would you answer this question?
Weak Example
Students get excited about vacation because
they like free time and sleeping late.
You’ve answered so much in your first sentence,
that you have nowhere to go. It’s hard to add
more ideas, when you’ve said so much in your
first sentence
Strong Example
Students get excited about vacation for several
reasons.
Now you’ve gotten started, and you also know
how to keep going by adding more details in
the rest of your sentences.
Answering the Question (the "A" in
"RACE")
• In order to answer the question, you need to
understand what you are being asked, and
then make sure you provide the answer to
that specific question. The answer, as in the
example above, may come in the first
sentence as you reword the question into a
statement, but in an essay question you will
then need to show how you arrived at your
answer.
Citing Evidence (the "C" in "RACE")
• As the constructed response question is meant
to show how well you comprehended and were
able to draw inferences from the essay prompt,
it is essential that you give examples from the
prompt to show how they support your answer.
More about Cite
• Your response must include at least one short
direct quotation that is in quotation marks
and has a set up.
• Example:
– According to the author, “Tom worked for hours
on his project.”
– “Tom worked for hours on his project,” his mother
told his teacher.
– In the story, his mother told the teacher that Tom
should have a better grade on the project because
he “worked for hours” on it.
• If the prompt is a story you read about a boy
named Joe who loves to ski, and the question is
"Does Joe like the winter?", you could answer
"Joe likes the winter because the story tells us
that he loves skiing and skiing is a winter sport."
In your response, you could go on to provide
specific details that tell you how much he
enjoys skiing (and, by extension, winter), such
as quoting a line that says, "Joe enjoyed the feel
of the icy-cold air on his cheeks."
Explaining the Answer (the "E" in "RACE")
• In addition to the evidence you've cited from
the prompt, you will need to supply your own
reasoning for why you think your answer is
correct.
• Returning to the example above, the story
about Joe who loved to ski, your examples
from the text would be the details about how
he enjoyed skiing and the cold air, but your
own reasoning would be demonstrated
by explaining that you know that skiing
and cold air are things he is only likely to
encounter during the winter, therefore his
enjoyment of these things must mean that he
also enjoys the winter season.
Let’s look at some examples:
We will start out with simple examples.
• Question: What are two characteristics of
mammals? Give two examples.
• Two characteristics of mammals are they are
warm-blooded (1 point) and give birth to their
young(2 points). According to Document A,
two examples of mammals are humans (3
points) and bears (4 points).
Another example:
• Name two kinds of overhead serves in
volleyball. Explain the benefits of using each
one.
• Tip: Identify the four parts of the question.
• Answer: Two kinds of overhead serves are
the top spin and the floater. Top spin would be
used for speed projection and the floater for
height (“Volleyball for All”).
• Tip: Count the four parts of the answer.
Writing Tips for Your Response:
Prewriting:
• Read the entire prompt.
• Identify and underline key words in the
question, such as: explain, elaborate,
illustrate.
• Restate the prompt in your own words to be
sure that you understand it.
Prewriting, continued.
• Make a list of the items you are supposed to
identify in your answer.
• Make a list of reasons that will support your
answer.
Writing:
• Use the question to form your topic
sentence. (Use the same terms in the
question for the first sentence of your
paragraph answer!)
• Make sure you include all FOUR parts of the
question in your answer. Remember, you get
a point for each part you answer correctly!
Writing, continued:
• Make sure you EXPLAIN each item with a
concrete detail—something specific!
Another example:
“The Sky is Low”
THE sky is low, the clouds are
mean,
A travelling flake of snow
Across a barn or through a
rut
Debates if it will go.
A narrow wind complains all
day
How some one treated him;
Nature, like us, is sometimes
caught
Without her diadem.
– Emily Dickinson
• Question: How does the
word "person" give you a
clue as to the meaning of
personification?
Why do you think a
writer would want to use
personification in a
poem? List two examples
of personification found
in the poem at left.
• Answer: In the poem by Dickinson, the word
“person” lets me know that personification
means that some object in the poem has
qualities or actions like a person.(1 point) A
poet might use personification to help us feel
a relationship to the object. (2 points) “The
clouds are mean” (3 points) and “narrow wind
complains” (4 points) are both examples of
personification.
• As you see, these are “short answer
questions” and are not meant to be answered
as an essay.
• Identify the four parts of the question asked,
then make sure that your response answers
each of the four parts.
• No answer at all gets 0 points!
• Answering 1 part of the question correctly
counts as 1 point, 2 parts = 2 points, and so
on.
Now you try one alone:
• Name your two favorite teachers and
give a reason why each one is your
favorite.
• Share your answer with a partner near you.
• Check your partner’s answer.
– Does the answer begin with restating the
question?
– Has your partner used RACE?
– Has your partner answered all four parts of
the question?
– Score the answer 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 according to
completeness.
– Is the answer explained with specific
details?
– Give your partner feedback about their
response.
– Tell your partner how they could have
scored more points or explained their
answer better.
Another example:
• Explain the difference between
physical and verbal bullying.
• Give examples of each in your
explanation.
• Share your answer with a partner near you.
• Check your partner’s answer.
–Does the answer begin with restating
the question?
–Has your partner answered all four parts
of the question?
–Score the answer 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4
according to completeness.
– Is the answer explained with specific
details?
– Give your partner feedback about their
response.
– Tell your partner how they could have
scored more points or explained their
answer better.
Remember:
• Never leave the answer on the constructed
response questions blank; this will get zero
points!
• Always attempt to answer the question.
• Every part of a correct answer equals 1 point.
Try to answer all four parts.
• Good luck!
Resources
• https://teacherweb.com/LA/.../Constructed_
Response_Practice.ppt
• http://www.acadia.k12.la.us/RHS/6635CRQ.html
• YouTube Video Explaining RACE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPnt9AF
aTdc
• www.hopees.u69.k12.me.us/HES/htmlfiles/re
sources/.../Richappt.ppt
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