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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2017, High School Biology

Download PDF Document  Question 45: Open-Response  
Some plants in an area produce a toxin that protects them from being eaten by a variety of insect species. The toxin decreases reproductive rates in insects. Because of a genetic mutation, some fruit flies can detect the plant toxin and therefore avoid eating the plant.
  1. Describe how the number of fruit flies in the population that can detect the toxin will most likely change over the next 25 years.
  2. According to the mechanism of natural selection, explain how the change you described in part (a) will occur.
  3. Based on the changes in the fruit fly population, describe what will most likely happen to the plants' production of the toxin. Explain your answer.

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 evolution through natural selection. The response clearly describes how the number of fruit flies that can detect the toxin will most likely change and clearly explains how this change will occur via natural selection. The response also clearly describes what will most likely happen to the plants' production of the toxin and clearly explains the answer.
4
3 The response demonstrates a general understanding of evolution through natural selection.
2 The response demonstrates a limited understanding of evolution through natural selection.
1 The response demonstrates a minimal understanding of evolution through natural selection.
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.

High School Biology

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

Return to the MCAS 2017 Student Work Directory



Last Updated: April 20, 2010
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