School Improvement in Maryland
Sample Item Scoring Information Return

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 6. Determine important ideas and messages in literary texts

Objective a. Analyze main ideas and universal themes

Brief Constructed Response (BCR) Item

Read the play 'The Weeping Willow Wedding Day'. Then answer the following.

Explain a message about life that this play most helps a reader understand. In your response, use details from the play that help support your explanation. Write your response on the lines below.

Sample Student Response #1

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Annotation: The reader offers a message “that in life, sometimes you can make mistakes or mess up on something” and supports this idea with text about the children jumping from the willow tree into the grass and dirtying their clothes by accident. Support continues by sharing how Grandpa Singleton made the grass stains appear to be willow leaves. The reader concludes, “Messing up in life is just apart of learning to be more responsible.”

To improve this response, the reader might supply a reason from text about why the children began swinging from the willow branches. In addition the conclusion about mistakes leading to more responsible behavior might be more powerful if the reader could suppose how the lesson might be applied in other situations. For example, at future family celebrations, the children might consider more carefully how their actions might affect other family members.

Sample Student Response #2

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Annotation: In response, the reader offers a topic “cleverness” rather than a message, which is followed by a restating of the ideas in the first sentence. In the third sentence, the reader comes closer to a message by stating that “cleverness was used to solve a problem” which is followed by text support that “the children messed up their clothes but Grandpa’s cleverness thought of putting willow flowers on the stains in the clothes.” The remaining sentence offers a personal connection. To improve this response, sentences one and two might be better combined to form a message. The second sentence is unnecessary. The text support works well and could lead to a conclusion that because of his cleverness Mr. Singleton was a good grandparent.

Sample Student Response #3

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Annotation: The reader offers a double message “you can always have fun or look on the bright side of things” and then offers support for each message. Initially, the children did not believe the wedding would be fun, but while practicing for the ceremony and swinging from the willow branches, they began to enjoy the idea, which addresses fun. Next, even though they stained their clothes, their grandpa made the stains appear to be willow leaves, which addresses looking on the bright side. Within each instance of text support exists a clarification. The first appears when the reader states, “they (the kids) start to enjoy their thoughts about the wedding,” which signals a change in attitude. The second follows the stains becoming willow leaves with “anyone who knows the true story will find this amusing,” which suggests that what might have been an unhappy occurrence has turned into a fun, laughable moment. To improve this response, a better connection could be made between the fun of swinging off the willow branches, the accidental staining of the wedding clothes saved by grandpa’s skill, and the resultant notion that remaining positive can be a benefit.

Sample Student Response #4

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Annotation: The reader supplies the message “Family will always be there” followed by text support about the joining of two families, the gaining of a brother and a sister, and grandpa’s promise to take care of his family. The reader concludes with a personal reflection. To improve this response, a better connection could be made among the pieces of support that suggest this supportive family will now grow larger because of this wedding, a character’s wish will come true, and a more specific detailing of how grandpa takes care of his family on this special day.