Short Answers/oers (Open-Ended Responses) I. What Is a Short Answer?

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Short Answers/OERs (Open-Ended Responses)

I. What Is a Short Answer?

  • Short Answer: a written response of a few sentences (NOT a few words)
    • demonstrates not only your knowledge of a subject, but the use of your knowledge on that subject.
    • Require that you make a point and prove it.
  • Also known as O.E.R.’s!

II. Three Types of OER Questions

  • Expository OER – relates to an “expository” (non-fiction) passage
  • Literary OER – relates to a “literary” (fiction) passage
  • Crossover OER – asks for comparisons/ contrasts between literary and expository passages

III. Three Parts of the Short Answer (OER)

  • 1. Answer – Your analysis
  • 2. Textual Evidence (quote or specific details)
    • Snippets of quotes are more effective than large chunks of paragraphs.
  • 3. Meaningful connection between the answer and the evidence

IV. Strategies for Successful Responses

  • Read the questions BEFORE you read the selection.
  • Take notes as you read and read closely.
    • Mark anything that you think may help you to answer the questions.

IV. Strategies for Successful Responses

  • Plan your responses before you write them.
    • Make small prewriting notes to yourself just as you would when writing an essay.
  • Answer the question completely!

OER Scoring

I. How are OERs scored?

  • OERs use a rubric from score 0 to 3. To pass, a student must earn at least a “2.”
    • 0 = insufficient
    • 1 = partially sufficient
    • 2 = sufficient
    • 3 = exceeds expectations


The Chocolate Lesson

  • **You do not need to write this down!***

Score Point 0: Insufficient

  • Imagine that it is 3:00, you have not eaten since lunch, and you will not be able to have dinner until 7:00. If I told you that you were not allowed to have a snack, it would be an INSUFFICIENT answer to your hunger.

Score Point 0: Insufficient

  • Likewise, an INSUFFICIENT OER answer does nothing to address the question being asked. The response is either totally incorrect, too vague, or is simply a plot summary.

Score Point 1: Partially Sufficient

  • Now imagine that I tell you, “All right, you may have a chocolate Hershey’s kiss (which we’ll call analysis) and an almond (which we’ll call evidence).” This would be a PARTIALLY SUFFICIENT answer to your hunger in that it would trick your taste buds, but you would still be hungry.

Score Point 1: Partially Sufficient

  • Likewise, a PARTIALLY SUFFICIENT OER response provides ONLY analysis (chocolate), ONLY evidence (almond), or an unclear connection between the analysis and the evidence (the almond and the chocolate are separate).

Score Point 2: Sufficient

  • Now imagine that I say, “All right. You may have a Hershey’s bar with almonds.” You get both the salty and the sweet, and it is a full-sized and SUFFICIENT snack.

Score Point 2: Sufficient

  • Likewise, a SUFFICIENT OER response contains BOTH analysis (chocolate) and evidence (almonds) and the connection between them is clear (as in the chocolate bar, where they are two parts of a whole).

Score Point 3: Exemplary

  • Now let’s say that I give you a Toblerone bar. The chocolate and the almonds are both still there, but they are whipped up in a fancy manner and combined with sweet honey. This is an EXEMPLARY snack to satisfy your hunger.

Score Point 3: Exemplary

  • Likewise, an EXEMPLARY OER response involves the same “ingredients” as a sufficient one, but it takes it to a higher plane of thought. It is fun to read, and it is beautifully written.

OER Samples

  • **You do not need to write ANY of these down!!**

Let’s look at some student samples…

  • Here is the OER question:
    • Explain how the narrator’s actions reveal her feelings for her father in “In Search of Eels.” Support your answer with evidence from the selection.

What score should this receive?

  • The narrator cares about him in a way that no one at the nursing home or anywhere else could. “The nurses are supposed to cook for him daily, but they are always too busy.”

Did you say…a ZERO?

  • Never answers the question.
  • The quote is irrelevant.
    • Just because you provide a quote does not mean you’ll receive credit for it! The quote must be able to SUPPORT your answer. Do not just randomly choose a quote.

What about this one…

  • The narrator’s love shows through the persistence she exerts during the passage, signifying a level of commitment to her father and their love.

Did you say…a ONE?

  • Provides an answer to the question, but no textual support.

And this one…?

  • In “In Search of Eels,” the narrator’s actions reveal her love for her father. She encourages her father to walk just like he did when she was 5 and didn’t want to walk anymore. “Now—Forward March!” Also, she brought him smoked eel, which is the food she tried at 5 and ate it all without saving any for her father. Her actions show that she loves her father.

Did you say…a TWO?

  • Provides analysis/answer and evidence.
    • Did you notice the last sentence is just a restatement of the first? That doesn’t count!

And finally

  • The narrator does not reveal her feelings towards her father verbally, but through kind gestures and actions. The narrator takes her father out of the home because the lunch room is crowded, the TV too loud, and the food tasteless. Once out of the “home” she backtracks to help her father remember the good times like the climb up the Washington monument…She attempts to refuel his vitality by encouraging him to march: “Now—Forward March!” By going out of her way to find his favorite food, smoked eels, and providing a “beautiful picnic,” she shows her love.

Yes, it’s a three.

  • Analysis/answer the question, provided evidence, and further analyzed the previous two parts.

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