Elementary Table of Contents

Brief Constructed Response (BCR)
"Good writing is clear thinking made visible."
~ Bill Wheeler

What is a reading BCR?
How are BCRs scored?
How are BCRs and writing related?
How might teachers help students write
a proficient response to a BCR prompt?

What assessment resources are available for MSA?

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What is a reading BCR?

 

BCR is an acronym for brief constructed response. On the Maryland State Assessment (MSA), the Brief Constructed Response (BCR) is a response to an open-ended prompt that assesses a single Maryland State Curriculum (MSC) reading indicator. Optimal student responses are well-supported and brief (several sentences). The following public release item represents a BCR prompt that follows the reading of “A Real Grandma” to assess characterization.

Explain what Grandma’s words and actions in this story show about her.
In your response, use details from the story that support your explanation.

How are BCRs scored?

A BCR is scored on a scale of 0 to 3 using the BCR rubric. Each score point on the rubric describes a student’s ability to select evidence to support ideas and to synthesize ideas into an explanation. Students who write well are generally adept at explaining their thinking in a BCR; however, the BCR should not be scored using a writing rubric. The BCR assesses proficiency in reading, not writing.

How are BCRs and writing related?

BCRs are written responses that assess student proficiency on a reading indicator and objective. Students who can write well and clearly represent their thinking in writing often make proficient responses. BCRs should not be scored using a writing rubric. Errors in grammar and spelling do not affect a BCR score.

How might teachers help students write a proficient response to a BCR prompt?

Mnemonic devices, such as ACE, SURE, and BATS, produce formulaic responses to BCRs that seldom demonstrate the level of understanding necessary for a proficient response.

The What Do You Think?, Why Do You Think It? organizer may be used to help students write a well-supported answer. Consider the BCR prompt for “A Real Grandma.”

Explain what Grandma’s words and actions in this story show about her. In your response, use details from the story that support your explanation.

What Do You Think?

Why Do You Think It?

Upon reading the passage and the question, the student might conclude that Grandma loves to be outdoors. This response is inferential since the author does not state that Grandma likes to be outside. The student might enter the following in the thinking organizer.
Her actions show that she loves to be outdoors.

The answer is strengthened and supported by relevant details from the text. The student might extract any of Grandma’s words or actions to prove that she liked to be outdoors.

  • She goes bike riding.
  • She works in the garden.
  • She walks her dog.
  • She builds bird houses.

To clarify the student might add that all of these activities take place outside, so Grandma must like being outdoors.

What assessment resources are available for MSA?

maryland

 

 

 

BCPS

 

MSDE Resources:
The Maryland State Department of Education provides Assessment Resources: MSA in its online toolkit. These public release items are available.
  • Print version (PDF) – Links for Grades 3 through 8 open public release passages and assessment items, selected response (SR) and brief constructed response (BCR) that are in MSA format.
  • Answer keys for print version – These links provide answer keys for selected response items.
  • Sample assessment items – These links provide a view of the questions on the print version with hyperlinks for scoring information. This information identifies the correct response for each SR along with the corresponding State Curriculum Indicator and Objective. Scoring information for BCRs includes the State Curriculum Indicator and Objective along with annotated student responses.

BCPS Resources:
The BCPS Office of Elementary Language Arts posted BCR Instructional Supports to assist teachers in teaching students to effectively answer a BCR and to analyze student responses. These resources include the following.

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