The new Texas Principal Certification Exam (268) has what is being identified as a “constructed-response” answer section. While this is a very higher education type title, it is in all essence, what we have always called a “short-answer essay question.” So, let’s not panic over this. The new C-R is still an open-ended essay question that demonstrates cognitive knowledge and reasoning. If in doubt with the mechanics, contact any high-school English teacher, and he or she can help you.
Years ago, a fantastic English teacher taught me how to create and answer a “short-answer essay question,” I have never forgotten what she taught me. Now whether I have used the actual knowledge well is always an open question, but I do know how. Below is a quick example.
Define any terms and clearly state a topic sentence from the actual question. This means you will need to define any terms that may be within the question (this tells the reader you know what you are talking about). You will also begin with a topic sentence that will express the main idea of a paragraph used to explain the answer to the actual question. Try to blend the above into a well-organized group of sentences.
Explain how well you understand the question. This may be done by citing from the test question and then supply your own answer and examples fully.
Refer back to the original question and conclude the constructed-response with a well rounded and fully explained conclusion.
That is, it! The hard part is slowing down-especially during a testing environment-and doing it right. Think about the question, do a quick outline of how you wish to answer. Review what you want to type. Then do it. Then, go over it again. Make sure you have hit all the high points needed (that is referred to in the actual question) and then go to the next one.
You can do this! Just make sure you have a good basic knowledge of school policy, procedure, and law. Remember, based on what TEA wants and not what your district may be doing.
Finally, take it slow. You do not have Grammarly, spell-check, or any of the other excellent electronic supports we now depend on. I wish everyone luck and Dr. Sandy, and I are here for all of you.