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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

MCAS Grade 3 ELA Reading Comprehension

Short-Response Questions

Beginning in spring 2010, student scores on the MCAS grade 3 ELA Reading Comprehension test will be based on one open-response question worth four points, short-response (SR) questions worth two points, and multiple-choice questions worth one point. The two-point SR question is a new item type that assesses reading comprehension by requiring students to construct answers in a shorter format.

The following rubric guide will be used with the anchor papers to score short-response questions.

Score Description
2 The short-response (SR) completely answers…(text from item).
1 The short-response (SR) partially answers…(text from item).
0 The short-response (SR) is incorrect or irrelevant.
Blank No response.

Sample Short-Response Items:

The sample items that follow show what SR questions will look like and how students might respond. These sample items are not actual MCAS test questions but are based on The Snow Walker, a released reading selection from the spring 2009 grade 3 ELA Reading Comprehension MCAS test.

Sample Short-Response Question 1: Explain how Milton helped his family get the milk.

Sample two-point responses could include:

  • He makes snowshoes with his father so he can walk to the store during the storm.
  • He figures out a way to get to the store during the bad storm.

Sample one-point responses could include:

  • He makes snowshoes.
  • He goes to the store.
  • He goes outside.

Sample Short-Response Question 2: Tell how Milton feels during the snowstorm and explain why he feels this way.

Sample two-point responses could include:

  • He feels happy because he is able to help his family by going to the store to get milk.
  • Milton feels helpful because he figures out how to get to the store in the snowstorm by making snowshoes.

Sample one-point responses could include:

  • He feels happy and proud of himself.
  • He feels helpful because he wore snowshoes to the store.
  • He helps his family and neighbors by getting milk from the store and delivering it on his way home.

Sample Short-Response Question 3: Explain why Milton feels like "cheering" at the end of the story.

Sample two-point responses could include:

  • He made it through the storm to bring milk to his family.
  • He was happy because his idea to make snowshoes worked.
  • He felt like cheering because he got milk for his family and his neighbors.
  • He was glad to be home because he had been out in the storm a long time.

Sample one-point responses could include:

  • He was happy.
  • He got the milk.
  • He helped his family.
  • He found the store.


Last Updated: November 6, 2009
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