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Techniques for Answering OSSLT Open-response Questions

By Patrick Lashmar October 28, 2015

In answering written answer questions, consider the following:

  • Read the entire question before answering
  • Be sure to write on the assigned topic, and in the format requested; off-topic responses may be labelled “non-compliant,” and will result in a lower score
  • Answers must be written in full and correctly written sentences; incomplete or poorly written sentences may result in a lower score
  • Make connections between the ideas and information in the selection and your own knowledge and experience
  • Responses with excessive and/or confusing spelling and sentence structure errors may interfere with communication and lead to a low score
  • Your response should have a definite structure and organization:
    • Start with a topic sentence which states the main idea of your response
    • Support your topic sentence with details from the reading selection and/or your own ideas, as requested in the question; be sure to explain where required
    • End your response with a closing sentence that concludes the paragraph
  • Look for keywords, such as identify, explain, summarize and describe in formulating your answer
  • Responses the markers cannot read may be labelled “illegible” and could result in a lower score
  • The answers to open-response questions are expected to fill the six lines provided with “regular-sized” handwriting; markers will not be fooled by oversize writing

Learn More

Improve student test results by ordering a class set of the OSSLT Workbook for your students and the OSSLT Workbook Answer Key with Exemplars teacher guide for yourself.

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