The Anatomy (and Purpose) of a Constructed Response

With the shift away from the CRCT and the 8th grade Georgia Middle Grades Writing Assessment to the Georgia Milestones (the new, end-of grade standards-based assessment), students need to be informed of how to more clearly show what they know through their writing.  In essence, the CRCT provided standards-based questions for Social Studies, Math, Science, Reading, and English Language arts in multiple choice format only.  The 8th grade Georgia Middle Grades Writing Assessment, on the other hand, required 8th graders (this assessment was also given at the 5th grade level) to read a writing prompt and construct a timed essay in roughly 100 minutes.  The Georgia Milestones provides a hybrid of these two testing formats and issues them to all students of all grade levels (with grade-appropriate questions, passages, etc.).

Today’s lesson used yesterday’s “Response to a Response” assignment as a segue into understanding the constructed responses (student-created answers) the students will be asked to provide on the upcoming Georgia Milestones.

So, what is a “constructed response”?  According to the ASCD (The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), a “constructed response” is where students provide their own answer to a question as opposed to multiple choice questions where students are provided with four or five answer choices or “fill-in-blank” questions where students have to, well, fill in the blank based upon their accumulated content knowledge.  The goal is to provide an assessment that helps students show what they know as accurately as possible.

I took time to show the students examples of constructed response questions (a.k.a. prompts) and actual student answers from published tests ( example below).  Not only will knowing how to answer constructed response questions benefit students on the upcoming Georgia Milestones, but will help students better address similar assessment questions in high school and college.  Furthermore, it will help students better cite and expound upon any evidence they draw from outside sources when communicating through any media (especially written media).

Constructed Response Example



  • Read for 30 minutes.


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