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Study Guide

Field 46: Reading Endorsement K–8
Sample Written Performance Assignment

The following materials contain:

Sample Test Directions for Written Performance Assignment

This section of the test consists of a performance assignment. The assignment can be found on the next screen. You are asked to prepare a written response of approximately 300–600 words on the assigned topic. You should use your time to plan, write, review, and edit your response for the assignment.

Read the assignment carefully before you begin to work. Think about how you will organize your response. You may use the booklet of yellow erasable sheets to make notes, write an outline, or otherwise prepare your response. However, your score will be based solely on the version of your response typed in the on-screen response box.

Please note that symbols for long and short vowels are not available on the keyboard. A variety of symbols are available for insertion in the on-screen response box. To access these symbols, click on the ash symbol icon that appears in the upper left corner of the screen. Using the mouse, click on the symbol you wish to include in your response and then select “Insert”. The symbol will be inserted where the cursor is positioned in the response box.

As a whole, your response must demonstrate an understanding of the knowledge and skills of the field. In your response to the assignment, you are expected to demonstrate the depth of your understanding of the content area through your ability to apply your knowledge and skills rather than merely to recite factual information.

Your response to each assignment will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

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

QUALITY: quality and relevance of supporting details

RATIONALE: soundness of argument and degree of understanding of the subject matter

The performance assignments are intended to assess subject matter knowledge and skills, not writing ability. However, your responses must be communicated clearly enough to permit scorers to make a valid evaluation of your responses according to the criteria listed above. Your responses should be written for an audience of educators in this field. The final versions of your responses should conform to the conventions of edited American English. Your written responses must 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 topic. You may not use any reference materials during the test. Remember to review your work and make any changes you think will improve your response.

Sample Written Performance Assignment

Read the information below; then complete the exercise that follows.

A school's multidisciplinary intervention team meets for a third time to review the progress of a first-grade student whose primary language is English. The student has received a series of Tier 2 targeted interventions in vocabulary, including explicit review and guided practice in common words and conceptual categories. Progress-monitoring assessments indicate that none of the intervention strategies has provided her with adequate support to make sufficient and meaningful progress toward grade-level goals in vocabulary.


Use your knowledge of theoretical and research foundations of literacy—including knowledge of the continuum of reading development, knowledge of literacy assessment, and knowledge of the essential elements of evidence-based literacy intervention—to write a response in which you complete the following tasks.

  1. Identify one significant area of weakness in foundational reading skills that is likely a factor impeding the student's progress in vocabulary.
  2. Explain how mastery of this foundational skill contributes to a student's development in vocabulary.
  3. Assuming that the significant area of weakness you identified is the primary source of the student's difficulty in vocabulary, describe the key elements of an appropriate, evidence-based intervention plan to address her needs in this foundational skill. In your description, you must:
    • state a specific learning goal for the intervention;
    • describe two specific intervention strategies to be used; and
    • describe a plan for monitoring the student's progress.
  4. Explain how the intervention plan you described, in conjunction with ongoing classroom instruction, will effectively promote the student's development in vocabulary.

Sample Response for Written Performance Assignment: Score Point 4

One significant area of weakness that is likely a factor impeding this student's progress in vocabulary development is limited basic oral vocabulary knowledge. The fact that she has not made progress learning common words and conceptual categories during explicit classroom instruction and Tier 2 interventions strongly suggests she lacks knowledge of more basic words and concepts used by the teacher during instruction. For example, if the teacher explained, "a plant's roots grow under the ground and its leaves and stems grow above the ground," this description of plant parts would not be meaningful if the student didn't fully grasp the meaning of the prepositions under and above.

Being able to understand and use basic words such as prepositions (e.g., under, above, between, through) and descriptive adjectives (e.g., large, round, pointed, shiny) is foundational to the vocabulary development of first graders because these words are the building blocks of the language used both during instruction and during intentional classroom discussions designed to build language and knowledge. Vocabulary growth is dependent on students’ having multiple exposures to new words in a variety of meaningful contexts, so intentional classroom discussions play a critical role in supporting vocabulary development because they provide contexts for both indirect word learning and for reinforcing new vocabulary. But students without sufficient vocabulary development are unable to follow these discussions well enough to deepen their knowledge of known words or to learn new words indirectly.

A specific learning goal for an intervention plan for this student would be for the student to acquire basic vocabulary that is foundational to learning grade-level vocabulary. I would begin by assessing the student further, including administering a diagnostic vocabulary assessment beginning one grade level below the student's current level of class performance. Based on these results, I would target specific categories of basic words (e.g., prepositions) for intensive intervention.

One intervention strategy I would use to teach prepositions would be direct instruction using concrete demonstrations, illustrated word cards, and intensive guided student practice. For example, to teach the preposition "under," I would put a toy dog under a chair and say, "The dog is under the chair. Where is the dog?" After prompting the student to repeat the modeled statement, I would repeat this process, placing the dog under other things and using different objects. I would then use illustrated word cards (e.g., “under” with a picture of a ball under a table) to reinforce learning and expose the student to the target word in print. I would point to the printed word and say, "The ball is under the table. Where is the ball?" I would also have the student engage in guided practice (e.g., directing her to put the dog under various objects of her choice, having her say each time where the dog is). During each successive lesson, I would use these activities to regularly review and provide additional practice with prepositions previously learned.

A second intervention strategy I would use is small-group or one-on-one teacher read-alouds followed by intentional academic discussions designed to provide multiple practice opportunities using previously taught prepositions as well as to build the student’s background knowledge related to topics in the classroom curriculum. For example, I would read aloud an illustrated informational book that included target prepositions and ask questions that required the student to use them (e.g., "Where do the tadpoles live?" "The tadpoles live under the water.")

Informal progress-monitoring would be ongoing during the interventions (e.g., maintaining a checklist of words and conceptual categories the student has mastered and those requiring additional practice). Also, once a week, I would use a more formal assessment such as a scripted, curriculum-based oral interview to measure her progress. At the beginning of the intervention, I would develop a chart with an aim line showing the rate of progress needed for the student to reach grade-level vocabulary goals by year’s end, and then I would plot results from weekly CBAs on this chart.

Direct instruction of prepositions using demonstrations and word cards would be effective because it contextualizes the vocabulary and provides the student with opportunities for intensive guided practice using the vocabulary in meaningful, concrete contexts. The read-aloud/discussion strategy would be effective because it reinforces and deepens the student's understanding of the target words by providing her with additional exposure to the words in new printed contexts. Also, the small-group and individualized settings would give the student a significant number of opportunities to use newly learned words and would allow me to closely monitor and scaffold her comprehension. Finally, coordinating the interventions with content from the first-grade curriculum would help the student learn the target vocabulary while concurrently preparing her to understand and benefit from classroom academic instruction and discussions.

Scoring Rubric

Performance Characteristics

The following characteristics guide the scoring of responses to the written performance assignment.

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 test, is used by scorers in assigning a score to a response to the written performance assignment.

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 a 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.