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Essay responses to test questions. Uses and Abuses Prof. Judith Vandegriff UMUC/GVPT/History.  Vandegriff Research 2008. Abstract for Writing Conference Presentation:

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Essay responses to test questions

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Essay responses to test questions l.jpg

Essay responses to test questions

Uses and Abuses

Prof. Judith Vandegriff

UMUC/GVPT/History

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Vandegriff Research 2008


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Abstract for Writing Conference Presentation:

The presentation “Essay Responses to Test Questions: Uses and Abuses” is designed to help students and faculty refresh their memories on writing responses to questions using complete sentences. It covers 3 or 4 sentence response to an identification question, a 1-3 paragraph short essay response and a long essay 1000-1500 words) response. It includes uses/abuses of a short essay response. Also,key words to look for in an essay question as a guide to the response, and helpful long essay writing tips such as an executive summery in a long essay response.

Prof. Judy Vandegriff,

UMUC GVPT/History, May 25, 2008

Vandegriff Research 2008

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The 1 paragraph essay response:

can be used to answer Identification (IDs) and information questions. The paragraph has three parts

I.Topic sentence - why - pull from key word in question

II. Body of paragraph -facts

who

where

what

when

III. Summary sentence

Vandegriff Research 2008

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Look for Key words in question:

define: provide an exact meaning

.

state: present something with confidence (usually requires support with facts and examples).

identify: define or describe something so it cannot be confused with anything else.

describe: show what something looks like (including physical features).

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Vandegriff Research 2008


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Short Essay - 1-3 paragraph response - usually written in expository essay format

Expository: 3 functions: can explain, describe, or inform

Grammar essentials:(source: Center for Independent Language Learing http://elc.polyu.edu.hk/cill/exercises/sva.htm/)

Sentences - What is a sentence?

A group of words containing a subject and a predicate that expresses a complete thought.

Must Have: agreement of subject, verb, tense and voice

Example: People in the bar often (order, orders) beer. People is a plural noun so correct verb is order.

source: http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/sentences.htm

Vandegriff Research 2008

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4 Types of sentences according to function. Most of the sentences we use have a subject (noun) and verb and object

Declarative -statement

“Mary caught the ball.”

Interrogative - asks a question

“What is your name?”

Imperative - gives a command

“Don’t Drink That!”

Exclamatory - out cry

“There’s a fire in the kitchen!”

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Vandegriff Research 2008


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- Occasionally acceptable in writing is the stylized sentence fragment where the subject or verb is understood

Mary?

Go!

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Vandegriff Research 2008


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Uses of a short essay response

- for the student - response to a short question in English, Social Studies, Math, Science

- for the teacher - evaluate if the student has mastered the subject matter.

- evaluate if the student has mastered the mechanics of correct grammar in writing.

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Vandegriff Research 2008


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Abuse of a short essay response

- For the teacher, over emphasis on sentence and paragraph format than with paragraph content

- For the student, well developed sentence and paragraph structure devoid of factual content

Vandegriff Research 2008

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Elements of the long essay response

Utilizes any one of the several types of essays

Narrative, Informative, Compare/Contrast, Descriptive, Analysis, Argumentative

Grammar essentials are the same as for the short response

First:Write outline for the 3 parts

I. Introduction-respond to key words in question.and include a sentence on each of the topics covered in the body of the essay

II. Body - It differs from the short essay in that each topic supported by facts is a separate paragraph

III. Conclusion-guided by the type of essay format

Second: write the essay following the outline

Vandegriff Research 2008

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Key words to look for in essay questions

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Vandegriff Research 2008


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Long essay writing tips - First - write the body paragraphs, topic by topic.

Second- write the introduction - topic sentence and statement of the topics that appear in the body paragraphs. Use a sentence for paragraph.

Third - Write the conclusion summarizing the facts, process of research, viewpoints and writer opinions.

Uses:Long essay gives the instructor a chance to ask a question that tests a student’s knowledge of facts, analysis of concepts, critical thinking skills, ability to utilize creative thinking and cognitive organization.Givesstudent a chance to demonstrate lessons learned and the extent to which the informative has been valuable (internalized).

Abuses: Runs the risk of student not understanding the question and writing 1000-1500 words reflecting student’s own opinion on a topic and not analysis or criticism of factual content.

Vandegriff Research 2008

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