Learning Center


Restate the Question in a Constructed Response

february 17, 2016

FAQ: Do students have to restate the question when writing a constructed response?

ANSWER: A common expectation of standardized assessments is for students to write brief constructed responses that articulate their thinking about the reading. To support students in writing a succinct yet complete response, teachers often provide them with an acronym. Here are three common examples:

Constructed-Response Formula: R.A.C.E.
Constructed-Response Formula: R.A.P.
Yes, MA'AM Logo

Each of these three approaches starts with the students restating part of the question. Thus, we do value this facet of a short response. But the big question is whether standardized assessments expect this, too.

No! Most constructed-response rubrics do not require students to restate the question. In fact, the typical constructed-response question is worth two points.

  • 1 point for answering the question.
  • 1 point for providing textual evidence that supports the inference.

So, no, students do not have to restate the question. However, more than teaching to the test, we need to remember that we are building lifelong, literate writers. This includes teaching them to always write cohesively with an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Without restating part of the question, there is no context for the answer. It’s out of the blue. If a student writes I think he is because he didn’t know, the scorer is clueless as to the “he” and what “he didn’t know.” Teaching students how to incorporate a couple of key words from the original question provides context for the answer and evidence to follow.

Katie Cadle, 2nd grade teacher at Throop Elementary (Paoli, IN) asked Kristina: “My principal has decided to use RACE for constructed response building wide. Do you have a tutorial on that?”

Kristina responded with this video and MAAM = RACE downloadable.

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