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How does Yes, MA’AM fit with RACE and CER?

february 25, 2020

There are lots of acronyms used by teachers to help students remember the key components of a constructed response.

And regardless of the acronym you may be using, a well-written constructed response always has three key components:

  1. An answer (which is an inference)
  2. A claim (with evidence or details from the text)
  3. An explanation (which provides elaboration and reasoning)

Yes, MA’AM

When generating a constructed response, students should write to the Test Lady™ using the Yes, MA’AM formula. This formula is rooted in Taffy Raphael’s QAR concept that certain questions require an Author & Me response. In other words, the reader’s own thinking (i.e., Me) has to be supported by the author’s ideas.

Here’s how the MA’AM acronym addresses the required elements of a constructed response:

Me and My thinking gives the answer.
Author’s details help to support the answer.
Author’s evidence also supports the answer.
Me and My thinking then explain the answer by giving reasoning.

We are fans of the Yes MA’AM strategy, but it’s not the only acronym that can work. RACE is another popular acronym that also addresses the required components.

Restate the question and provide the Answer.
Cite textual details that support the answer.
Explain the connection between the answer and the evidence.

The CER acronym covers all your bases, and is another common approach.

Claim: State the answer.
Evidence: Provide textual details.
Reasoning: Explain your thinking.

Generate Strong Constructed Responses UPDATED

The End Goal

Regardless of which acronym you’re using, the function of each is exactly the same. What is important is that students are providing the answer, evidence, and explanation in every constructed response.
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