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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2015, Grade 5 Science and Technology/Engineering

  Question 7: Open-Response  
Earthworms live underground in burrows. They stay underground unless it is cloudy or dark, and the air is damp. Earthworms must have wet skin to breathe.
An earthworm’s waste is called castings. An earthworm deposits castings at the top of its burrow, as shown in the picture below.
Picture shows an earthworm in a burrow in soil below ground. The earthworm’s castings are labeled above the ground.
  1. Describe one way that earthworm castings help an ecosystem.
Earthworm burrows are small tunnels that may be many feet long.
  1. Identify two ways that burrowing in soil helps earthworms survive.
  1. Describe two ways that earthworm burrows might help an ecosystem. Explain each of your answers.

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 organisms can cause changes in their environment to ensure survival and explains how these changes may affect the ecosystem. The response clearly describes one way that earthworm castings help an ecosystem. The response also correctly identifies two ways that burrowing helps earthworms survive and clearly describes and explains two ways that earthworm burrows might help an ecosystem.
4
3 The response demonstrates a general understanding of how organisms can cause changes in their environment to ensure survival and explains how these changes may affect the ecosystem.
2 The response demonstrates a limited understanding of how organisms can cause changes in their environment to ensure survival and explains how these changes may affect the ecosystem.
1 The response demonstrates a minimal understanding of how organisms can cause changes in their environment to ensure survival and explains how these changes may affect the ecosystem.
0 The 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.

Grade 5 Science and Technology/Engineering

Question 7: Life Science
Question 8: Technology/Engineering

Return to the MCAS 2015 Student Work Directory



Last Updated: October 22, 2014
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