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Writing Constructed Responses


Writing Constructed Responses Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Writing Constructed Responses

Writing Constructed Responses
  • Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching

Structure of Praxis II
  • Praxis has 24 multiple choice questions and 4
    case histories with 3 constructed response
    questions each (12 constructed response
  • You will have 2 hours to take the test.

Constructed response
  • For constructed response questions, you will read
    a case history and then respond in writing to the
    constructed response questions.
  • You will need to write quickly. Use bullets for
    your points instead of paragraphs. Do not worry
    about transitions and other niceties of

Case histories
  • Case histories have two possible focuses the
    student and the teacher.
  • They may also be narrative-based (telling you
    what went on in a situation) or document-based
    (giving you a series of documents on which to
    base your answer)

  • ETS feels it has given you all information
    necessary to answer the question, so its not
    okay to claim you need more information. You
    need to go with what is there.
  • The most important thing answer the question
    completely. If they ask for TWO strategies, you
    need to supply TWO strategies in order to get
    full credit.

  • ETS claims that one expert strategy is to read
    the case study with content categories in mind
    (p. 73) and then read the questions. This may
    require more time than you have.
  • The strategy that makes the most sense is to read
    the questions and then read the case study. Make
    notes related to the questions as you read.

Advice from experts what the scorers suggest
  • Answer ALL PARTS of the question. It might be
    two strategies, two activities, a strength and a
    weakness. Pay attention to what they are asking
    and be sure you clearly include that. (scorers
  • Mark your inclusions with bullets and state
    the first strategy is.because The second
    strategy is. because. (Carolyns advice).

More advice from the scorers
  • Show that you understand the pedagogical concepts
    related to the question. This is a more subtle
    piece of advice. The scorers are looking to see
    not only that you can read the case study and
    make good observations, but also that you can
    relate those good observations to pedagogical
    concepts such as the principles of human
    development, the principles of motivation, the
    principles of effective instructional design, and
    the principles of diagnostic and evaluative
    assessment. (p. 99)

More from p. 99
  • You can show you understand these concepts not by
    merely mentioning that the concepts exist, but by
    relating them to the specifics of your response.
    For example, in answering a question about
    identifying a weakness in a teachers approach to
    assessment, instead of stating that Mr. Taft
    didnt give the students very good tests, you
    could state instead, Given that assessment of
    student performance is most effective when
    evidence is gathered frequently and through a
    variety of exercises and assignments, Mr. Tafts
    reliance on end-of-chapter tests did not give
    students like Paige adequate opportunities to
    demonstrate achievement.

In other words
  • You need to show how to apply the principles to
    the situation at hand. I dont think it needs to
    be as wordy as the example they gave, but it
    needs to be along those lines.

More from the experts (p. 99)
  • Show that you have a thorough understanding of
    the case. Some answers receive partial credit
    because they are vaguethey address the issues
    brought up in the case study at too general a
    level rather than at the level that takes into
    consideration the particulars given about a
    teacher, student, or assignment.

The experts give their example
  • If you are asked, for example, about the boy in a
    case study with learning disabilities whose
    patterns of behavior are described specifically
    in several sentences in the case study, dont
    answer the question in terms of children with
    disabilities in general, but, instead, focus on
    the boy and all the particulars you know about

In other words
  • Apply your knowledge to the case at hand. Avoid
    generalities when there is specific information
    to use.

More from the experts
  • Support your answer with detailsThe scorers are
    looking for some justification of your answers.
    If you are asked to state a strength shown by
    the teacher in a case study, dont just state the
    strength in a few words. Write why this is a
    strengthperhaps because of a particular
    principle of effective instructional design,
    which you should briefly summarize, or perhaps
    because of a good outcome described in the case,
    to which you should refer.

The last from the experts
  • Do not change the question or challenge the basis
    of the question. Stay focused on the question
    that is asked and do your best to answer it. You
    will receive no credit or, at best, a low score
    if you choose to answer another question or you
    state that, for example, there really arent any
    activities that could be proposed, or there
    arent any strengths to mention, or in some other
    way deny the basis of the question. (p. 99)

In other words
  • They believe their questions are answerable. You
    may have a different philosophical perspective,
    but unless you want to pay for taking the Praxis
    again, you will have to adopt whatever stance is
    represented by the test. In other words, you
    will have to find a strength or two activities or
    whatever else they ask.

What now?
  • What follows is a series of slides that have
    content-based questions on them. These slides
    will give you an idea of the types of questions
    you may be asked on Praxis.
  • One purpose of reading them is to get them into
    your mind so that when you read the real thing,
    it will seem familiar.
  • There is not enough information to form an actual
    response, but you might be able to think about
    some general principles related to the subject

Content to think about
  • Identify and describe a strength and/or weakness
  • A lesson plan for meeting needs of individual
    students with identified special needs, as
    described in the case.
  • The interaction described in the case between the
    teacher and students in terms of culturally
    responsive teaching.

  • Propose a strategy for
  • Helping a student with attention deficit problems
    described in the case stay on task (e.g.,
    listening to a lecture, following a
    demonstration, doing written work)
  • Improving performance of students in the case who
    do not perform well on homework, original
    compositions, or other assignments

  • Propose a strategy for
  • Helping students in the case for whom English is
    not the first language build literacy skills
    and/or improve in academic areas
  • Meeting needs of a wide range of students
    (especially students with learning difficulties
    and students who are accelerated)

  • Propose a strategy for
  • Building a positive relationship with a student
    the case shows is very turned off in school
  • Adapting instruction and/or assessment for an
    individual student with identified needs
    described in the case
  • Helping the students described in the case see
    issues from different points of view

  • Identify and describe a strength and/or weakness
  • The communication with parents used by a teacher
    described in the case
  • The approach used by a teacher described in the
    case to involve parents

  • Propose a strategy for
  • Using parent volunteers during a lesson that is
    described in a case
  • Involving all parents or other caregivers in
    helping students in areas specified in the case
  • Helping the family of a student described in the
    case work with the students learning or other

  • Identify and describe a strength and/or weakness
    in the teachers oral or written communication
    with the students in the case (e.g., feedback on
    assignments, interaction during class)

  • Propose a strategy for
  • Improving the self-image of a student described
    in the case or the students sense of
    responsibility for his/her own learning
  • Involving all students in a class discussion
    described in the case in a positive way, showing
    respect for others
  • Helping a student described in the case to
    develop social skills in a specified situation

  • Propose a strategy for
  • Assessing progress for students described in the
    case who are working toward specified goals or
  • Assessing class progress toward achievement of
    specified goals or objectives
  • Gathering information to use to help understand
    classroom performance that is different from what
    was expected at the beginning of the year.
  • Assessing language fluency of a student for whom
    English is not the first language

  • Propose a hypothesis or explanation for
  • A students strengths and/or weaknesses as a
    learner based on the evidence presented
  • What might be important to explore in working
    with a student described in the case who is
    having difficulties academically, socially, or

  • Identify a strength and/or weakness in
  • A unit plan that is described in the case
  • Specific strategies used in instruction (e.g.,
    lecture, class discussion) in the case
  • A sequence of lessons described in the case
    designed to achieve a goal or a set of objectives
  • One or more written assignments given to students
    in the case.

  • Propose a strategy for
  • Meeting what may appear to be conflicting goals
    or objectives described in the case
  • Incorporating activities that will have students
    described in the case draw on their own
    experiences to understand the instruction
  • Stimulating prior knowledge in the situation
    described in the case

  • Propose a strategy for
  • Teaching critical thinking skills in a specific
    lesson described in the case
  • Achieving effectiveness with group work in a
    particular situation described in the case
  • Helping students stay on task in the situation
    described in the case
  • Helping students learn material presented through
    various media introduced in the case

  • Propose a strategy for
  • Assigning students to group work appropriate to
    the case
  • Bringing closure to a lesson that stops abruptly
    as presented in the case
  • Improving student interaction during class
    discussion as described in the case
  • Addressing a missed opportunity during
    instruction that is described in the case

  • Propose a strategy for
  • Revising a lesson that is described in the case
    for improving student engagement and motivation
  • Improving motivation through means other than
    negative strategies described in the case
  • Addressing behavioral problems that are described
    in the case

  • Identify and describe a strength and/or weakness
    in a lesson plan or instructional strategy
    described in the case with the intention of
    building a positive classroom environment.
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