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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2011, High School Biology

  Question 44: Open-Response  
Researchers studied a typical hardwood forest containing a variety of trees, other plant species, fungi, and animals. The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations around the forest were measured in the middle of the day. The carbon dioxide concentration was lowest right next to the forest and steadily increased as the researchers measured farther away from the forest.
  1. Identify and describe one biological process that raises carbon dioxide concentrations by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
  2. Explain why the lowest carbon dioxide concentration occurs closest to the forest. Be sure to include a biological process in your answer.
  3. Describe how nighttime carbon dioxide concentrations near the forest should compare with the midday concentrations near the forest. Explain your answer using two biological processes.

Scoring Guide and Sample Student Work
Select a score point in the table below to view the sample student response.

ScoreDescription
4 Response demonstrates a thorough understanding of the interrelated nature of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. The response correctly identifies and describes a process that raises carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, clearly explains why the lowest carbon dioxide concentration occurs closest to the forest, and correctly describes and explains how nighttime carbon dioxide concentrations near the forest should compare with midday concentrations.
4
3
Response demonstrates a general understanding of the interrelated nature of photosynthesis and cellular respiration.
2
Response demonstrates a limited understanding of the interrelated nature of photosynthesis and cellular respiration.
1
Response demonstrates a minimal understanding of the interrelated nature of photosynthesis and cellular respiration.
0
Response is incorrect or contains some correct work that is irrelevant to the skill or concept being measured.

Note: There are 2 sample student responses for Score Point 4.

High School Biology

Question 12: Anatomy and Physiology
Question 23: Genetics
Question 32: Evolution and Biodiversity
Question 44: Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Question 45: Ecology

Return to the MCAS 2011 Student Work Directory



Last Updated: January 12, 2016
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