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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2013, High School Biology

  Question 12: Open-Response  
Suppose a fire burns through the beetles’ habitat, leaving the trees, soil, and some rocks charred black for several years. Most of the beetles and their predators survive the fire and continue to live in the habitat.
  1. Identify which beetle phenotype or phenotypes will most likely be favored in the habitat after the fire. Explain your answer.
  2. Identify the type of natural selection (directional, stabilizing, or disruptive) that will most likely act on the beetle population.
The type of natural selection you identified in part (b) will change the phenotype distribution in the beetle population.
  1. Using your knowledge of natural selection, explain how the change in phenotype distribution will occur.

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

ScoreDescription
4 The response demonstrates a thorough understanding of how evolution through natural selection can result in changes in biodiversity through the increase or decrease of genetic diversity within a population. The response correctly identifies and explains which beetle phenotype or phenotypes are most likely favored after the fire, correctly identifies the type of natural selection that will act on the beetle population, and clearly explains how the change in phenotype distribution will occur via natural selection.
4
3
The response demonstrates a general understanding of how evolution through natural selection can result in changes in biodiversity through the increase or decrease of genetic diversity within a population.
2
The response demonstrates a limited understanding of how evolution through natural selection can result in changes in biodiversity through the increase or decrease of genetic diversity within a population.
1
The response demonstrates a minimal understanding of how evolution through natural selection can result in changes in biodiversity through the increase or decrease of genetic diversity within a population.
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: Evolution and Biodiversity
Question 23: Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Question 32: Anatomy and Physiology
Question 44: Genetics
Question 45: Ecology

Return to the MCAS 2013 Student Work Directory



Last Updated: July 19, 2017
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