Constructed Response


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Constructed Response
Thematic Essay

A.  Constructed response questions:

are open ended, short answer questions that measure application-level cognitive skills as well as content knowledge. No opinion questions.

use a range of primary and secondary stimuli and authentic "real world" examples including time lines, maps, graphs, cartoons, charts, and short readings.

are graded against specific criterion (employ a scoring rubric).

B. Constructed response questions should be based on a given stimulus and include a series of questions which build from simple to complex.

First question: A general or specific question with the answer found in the stimulus. "What was the population in the year?"

Second question: Make connections between and among the different parts of the stimulus. "In which year was the immigration the greatest?"

Third question: Require the student to respond with information related to (but not included in) the stimulus. "State a historic trend that explains the data?"

C. Constructed response questions can assess higher level thinking:

  • comparisons, contrasts, causes, effects, changes
  • identify patterns or conflicting points of view
  • categorize or summarize information
  • construct graphs or charts from data
  • state a generalization, conclusion, explanation or prediction

D. Scoring: Each constructed-response question should be scored according to a rubric (scoring guide) that gives varying degrees of credit for correct or partially correct answers. The rubric should include enough information or examples to allow different raters to arrive the same score for a given student response.

1. A rubric for a short constructed-response question can be:

"Complete" score (2) represented a complete and appropriate answer.

"Partial" score (1) indicated that the response had some, but not all, of the components of an appropriate response.

"Inappropriate" score (0) represented an answer that had none of the components of an appropriate response.

2. Extended constructed-response questions are lengthier and more complex exercises that allow for a finer level of discrimination in scoring the responses. Their rubric can be:

"Complete" score (3) was assigned to a response that was complete and appropriate.

"Essential" response (2) was less complete but included the most important components of an appropriate response.

"Partial" response (1) included some appropriate components, but fewer or less central ones than those required for an "Essential" score.

"Inappropriate" (0) response included only inappropriate material.

Links to samples

Grade 3 Series 1 

Grade 3 Series 2

Grade 3 Series 3

Grade 4 Series

Grade 5 Rainforests

Grade 6 Series

Grade 8 Native Americans

* Special thanks to: Kate Gillan, K-8 Social Studies Director at  East Irondequoit and all the district teachers who produced the fine series of DBQ's and CRQ's.