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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2013, High School Biology

  Question 45: Open-Response  
Lake Superior is on the northern border of the continental United States. The graph below shows changes in the size of the moose population on an island in Lake Superior from 1960 to 2005. The island is in a remote location several miles off the northwest shore of the lake.
Graph title is Moose Population, nineteen sixty to two thousand five. The X-axis title is Year and ranges from nineteen sixty to two thousand five in increments of five years. The Y-axis title is Number of Moose and ranges from zero to two thousand five hundred in increments of five hundred. The line on the graph starts at six hundred Moose in nineteen sixty. It increases to one thousand five hundred moose in nineteen seventy two and then decreases to eight hundred moose in nineteen eighty two. The line reaches a peak of two thousand five hundred moose in nineteen ninety five and decreases to five hundred moose in nineteen ninety seven. The line then increases to one thousand moose in two thousand three and decreases to five hundred moose in two thousand five.
  1. Explain why immigration and emigration are not likely to have an effect on the size of the island’s moose population.
  2. Describe what happened to the size of the island’s moose population from 1995 to 1997, and describe how the birth rate and the death rate must have compared during this time.
  3. Identify two different natural factors that could have contributed to the change in moose population size you described in part (b).
  4. Explain why each of the factors you identified in part (c) contributed to the change in moose population size.

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 birth, death, immigration, and emigration influence population size. The response clearly explains why immigration and emigration are not likely to have an effect on the moose population size. The response also correctly describes what happened to the size of the moose population from 1995 to 1997 and how the birth rate and the death rate must have compared during that time, and correctly identifies and clearly explains two natural factors that could have contributed to the change in the moose population size.
4
3
The response demonstrates a general understanding of how birth, death, immigration, and emigration influence population size.
2
The response demonstrates a limited understanding of how birth, death, immigration, and emigration influence population size.
1
The response demonstrates a minimal understanding of how birth, death, immigration, and emigration influence population size.
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 24, 2017
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