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Study Guide

Field 068: Agriculture

Sample Constructed-Response Item

Competency 0009
Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Use the information below to complete the exercise that follows.

You are planning to teach a unit on landscape management to tenth-grade students.

Using your knowledge of landscape management concepts, principles, and practices, write a response of approximately
400–600 words in which you:

Sample Strong Response to the Constructed-Response Assignment (510 words)

One important learning goal for a tenth-grade landscape management unit is for students to develop understanding of the pruning needs of different varieties of trees and shrubs.

Pruning is crucial for overall plant health and growth and also contributes to the form and attractiveness of plants as they are used in particular landscapes. Students of landscape management need to understand the reasons for and benefits of pruning and the appropriate timing and techniques for pruning a specific plant, based on its condition and the desired results. Students should develop this knowledge and the observational skills for determining the needs of individual plants before involving them in actual pruning projects.

The instructional activity would be preceded by a classroom session in which lecture, discussion, and images illustrating pruned and unpruned plants are used to teach students what, why, and when plants should be pruned and the techniques that would be used to prune specific plants and achieve particular results. Students should be told that they will be expected to use this information as they discuss plants that they observe on a field trip. The instructional activity that can contribute to students' development of this knowledge is a walking field trip around the school campus or surrounding neighborhood in which students identify plants that need pruning or have been pruned. An appropriate time for this activity would be late winter or early spring when the structure of many plants is more visible. On the field trip, students are asked to observe various trees and shrubs and discuss whether they need pruning, what type of pruning would be appropriate, and when it should be done. They can be asked to identify examples of different styles of pruning and examples of good and bad pruning and to discuss the reasons a particular plant needs to be pruned and suggest how that would be accomplished. Because many plants are dormant at this time of year or just showing swollen buds, the class can discuss the timing of pruning and the importance of pruning when a plant is using little energy. Students can be asked to look for plants with broken or damaged branches to promote discussion of how pruning contributes to plant health and structure. At the end of the field trip, students will be asked to evaluate the pruning needs of three plants.

This field trip offers an authentic activity that reinforces the classroom learning about the needs and techniques for pruning in landscape management. The opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting can deepen students' understanding. Providing practical experience with actual plants in recognizing the need for pruning and examples of different types of pruning and identifying the pruning needs of particular plants will help develop students' abilities to identify pruning needs of specific plants in various landscapes.

Students will apply the knowledge and observational skills developed in this activity to prune the chapter’s grapevines, apple trees, and ornamental shrubs. Knowledge could be incorporated directly into an SAE placement with a local landscaper or used in the Nursery Landscape CDE.

Performance Characteristics for Constructed-Response Item

The following characteristics guide the scoring of responses to the constructed-response assignment.

Completeness The degree to which the response addresses all parts of the assignment
Accuracy The degree to which the response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills accurately and effectively
Depth of Support The degree to which the response provides appropriate examples and details that demonstrate sound reasoning

Score Scale for Constructed-Response Item

A score will be assigned to the response to the constructed-response item according to the following score scale.

Score Point Score Point Description
4 The "4" response reflects a thorough command of the relevant knowledge and skills:
  • The response thoroughly addresses all parts of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills with thorough accuracy and effectiveness.
  • The response is well supported by relevant examples and details and thoroughly demonstrates sound reasoning.
3 The "3" response reflects a general command of the relevant knowledge and skills:
  • The response generally addresses all parts of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills with general accuracy and effectiveness.
  • The response is generally supported by some examples and/or details and generally demonstrates sound reasoning.
2 The "2" response reflects a partial command of the relevant knowledge and skills:
  • The response addresses all parts of the assignment, but most only partially; or some parts are not addressed at all.
  • The response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills with partial accuracy and effectiveness.
  • The response is partially supported by some examples and/or details or demonstrates flawed reasoning.
1 The "1" response reflects little or no command of the relevant knowledge and skills:
  • The response minimally addresses the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills with minimum accuracy and effectiveness.
  • The response is minimally supported or demonstrates significantly flawed reasoning.
UThe response is unscorable because it is unrelated to the assigned topic or off-task, unreadable, written in a language other than English or contains an insufficient amount of original work to score.
BNo response.