School Improvement in Maryland

Sample Item
Brief Constructed Response Item for Grade 3

Standard 2.0 Comprehension of Informational Text

Topic A. Comprehension of Informational Text

Indicator 5. Identify and explain the author's use of language

Objective a. Identify and explain specific words or phrases that contribute to the meaning of a text

Assessment limits:

  • Significant words and phrases (e.g., similes, metaphors, personification, etc.) in the text or a portion of the text
  • Denotations of above-grade-level words in context
Read the article 'Protecting the Pandas' and answer the following question.


The author says that giant pandas are "special creatures." Explain whether the word special is a good word to use to describe the giant panda. In your response, use information from the article that supports your answer. Write your answer on your answer document.


Sample Student Response #1

Annotation: The reader answers the question stating that "special" is a good word because pandas "must be very inportant." The reader explains that pandas are important "to the reader and to China and the people there, & maybe even the whole world..." To improve this response the reader could have explained how special the pandas are by including the amount of bamboo a panda eats, the high price of a panda's skin, or the reserves established for panda safety.


Sample Student Response #2

Annotation: The reader answers the question stating that it is "bad" to be special because that means that "there's not many giant pandas in china." To improve this response the reader could have used information which shows why their being special has caused them to die out. For example, poachers hunt pandas for their skins, and their diet of bamboo is less available.


Sample Student Response #3

Annotation: The reader answers the question stating special "is a good word to use" and explains that because pandas "will be gone soon" they are "rare and rare is special." To improve this response the reader could explain why the pandas are and how eating bamboo makes them special.


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