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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2013, High School Biology

  Question 32: Open-Response  
Sarah and her biological sister Danielle have some physical characteristics that are the same and some that are different, as shown in the table below.
SarahDanielle
Eye Colorbluebrown
Natural Hair Colorlight browndark brown
Ring Finger Lengthshorter than indexshorter than index
Skin Toneoliveolive
  1. Identify the molecule that stores the hereditary information for these characteristics in the chromosomes of every body cell.
  2. Identify the total number of chromosomes that should be in one of Sarah’s body cells and the number of chromosomes that should have been contributed by each biological parent.
  3. Explain the roles of meiosis and fertilization in achieving the chromosome numbers you identified in part (b).
  4. Explain why Sarah and Danielle have some physical characteristics that are different from each other, even though they have the same biological parents.

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 sexual reproduction allows organisms to produce offspring that receive half of their genetic information from their mother and half from their father. The response correctly identifies the molecule that stores genetic information, the total number of chromosomes in each body cell, and the number of chromosomes that were contributed by each biological parent. The response also clearly explains the roles of meiosis and fertilization and why offspring of the same biological parents have some physical characteristics that are different from each other.
4
3
The response demonstrates a general understanding of how sexual reproduction allows organisms to produce offspring that receive half of their genetic information from their mother and half from their father.
2
The response demonstrates a limited understanding of how sexual reproduction allows organisms to produce offspring that receive half of their genetic information from their mother and half from their father.
1
The response demonstrates a minimal understanding of how sexual reproduction allows organisms to produce offspring that receive half of their genetic information from their mother and half from their father.
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: October 5, 2012
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