Content Literacy

Require Textual Evidence in Constructed Responses

Posted on February 23, 2012
Require Textual Evidence in Constructed Responses

Require Textual Evidence in Constructed Responses

Posted on February 23, 2012

Require Textual Evidence in Constructed Responses

Yes, MA'AM DiagramConstructed-responses are a specialized type of writing that requires explicit, formulaic instruction. Smekens Education utilizes the Yes MA'AM strategy to teach students the essential facets of the formula.

This simple acronym acts as a frame, ensuring all components are included. Strong responses require a combination of reader inferring (ME) and textual support (AUTHOR). Utilizing the concepts learned during Smekens Education workshops, Break-O-Day Elementary (Whiteland, IN) teacher Sara Ambler crafted the acronym Yes MA'AM. Each letter of MA'AM reminds students of the type of information required (M=Me, A=Author, A=Author, M=Me).

M--Me
The first sentence of the response should reword the question and state a personal opinion or direct response to the question.
A--Author
The first "A" prompts the student to look at what the author said and to include a detail from the text to support his answer. Here are some suggested sentence starters:
  • In the text...
  • The text states...
  • According to the passage...
  • One example from the text...
  • The author states...
A--Author
The second "A" reminds the student that a constructed response requires multiple supporting details from the author.
  • In the text...
  • The text also states...
  • According to the passage...
  • A second example from the text...
  • The author also states...
M--Me
The response ends with the student (me) explaining or interpreting the significance of the evidence. One of these sentence starters might help:
  • This shows...
  • This demonstrates...
  • I believe...
  • Now I know...
  • This proves...

Additional Resources

Yes, MA'AM Constructed ResponseYes, MA'AM Constructed Response

Class Rubric

In addition to practicing the strategies listed above, build a class rubric for well-written constructed responses. Criteria might include the following:

Ideas

  • Fully addresses the topic/answers the question.
  • Goes beyond the text to say something new (gives an opinion, draws a conclusion, offers a prediction, makes an inference, etc.).
  • Provides at least two different and specific details from the text to support opinion/conclusion/inference.

Organization

  • Restates the question in the opening sentence of the response (introductory sentence).
  • Concludes the short response with a sentence that interprets the evidence (explains what the details from the text prove).

Conventions

  • Avoids pronouns. (Defines all nouns in this short response to avoid confusion.)
  • Writes a complete, coherent response. (The scorer only reads what is written--not the original question. The response must be complete, giving context.)
  • Uses basic conventions (capitalization, spelling, grammar, etc.).

Great Teacher Comments:


Student using Yes MA'AM StrategyTo help her third graders understand how to respond to a constructed-response prompt, Burkhart Elementary (Indianapolis, IN) teacher Melissa Sylvester introduced her students to RUPR and the Yes MA'AM strategy. She even brought in a little stuffed dog (RUPR) to encourage the students to write complete responses.