TASK 1 MATERIALS

DESCRIPTION OF THE EXAM—TASK 1

You have been given a reading.At the exam you will be given a second, shorter text to read that is related in some way to the first.You will also be given a writing assignment that directs you to write a “clearly focused and organized essay” discussing the readings.It is essential that you respond to all parts of the assignment. The assignmThe writing assignment typically asks students to:

SAMPLE CPE WRITING ASSIGNMENTS

 

Writing Assignment for “The Central Puzzles of Learning” by Howard Gardner and “To Err Is Human” by Lewis Thomas

 

With these reading selections by Howard Gardner and Lewis Thomas in mind, write an essay in which you discuss error and learning.In your essay summarize Howard Gardner’s criticism of the schools.  Draw a relationship between Gardner’s ideas and what you have just read about the value and utility of error.  In light of the reading selections, describe your own experience or observations of learning, either in school or out.  Discuss the degree to which your experience does or does not reflect the ideas of Gardner or Thomas or both. 

 

 

 

Writing Assignment for “Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of Dinosaurs” by Stephen Jay Gould and “The Naked Source” by Linda Simon

With these reading selections by Stephen Jay Gould and Linda Simon in mind, write an essay in which you discuss the way scientists and historians work to discover and analyze new ideas.  In your essay summarize Gould’s thinking about testable hypotheses in science.  Draw a relationship between Gould’s ideas and what you have just read about the way historians work.  In light of the reading selections, discuss your own experience of learning new ideas or skills and the degree to which students need to understand the methods described by either or both of these authors.

 

 

DESCRIPTION OF THE SCORING

 

The essay is scored by two readers.Each reader grades each category on a scale of 1 to 6, giving four grades to each paper.The paper is judged on these four points: coherence and organization, understanding the text, use of source material, and clarity and correctness of expression.

 

            Coherent, well-             Understands the            Uses source                  Writes clearly

organized essay                    texts                        material                      and correctly

 

6                                                          S  u  p  e  r  i  o  r       

 

5                                                                  G  o  o  d

 

4                                                          A  d  e  q  u  a  t  e

 

3                                     F  l  a  w  e  d    o r    I  n  c  o  m  p  l  e  t  e

 

2                                                            L  i  m  i  t  e  d

 

1                                                                  P  o  o  r

 

Your Task 1 score will be the sum of the eight scores given by the readers.  There are 48 possible points for Task 1. 

 

 

 

PREPARING FOR THE EXAM

 

HOW TO APPROACH READING SELECTION A

 

You should have obtained a copy of the long reading selection (Reading Selection A) that you should thoroughly understand before the exam.  It is yours to keep and mark up.  If you want to make sure you have a neat copy for the exam, photocopy Selection A, mark it up as much as you want, and then copy what you feel you need on your fresh copy.  Bring your copy of Reading Selection A to the exam.

 

PREVIEW: Read the title, introduction (if there is one), and headings.  What do you think the selection is about?   What do you already know about this subject?

 

READ: Read through the whole selection quickly to get a general idea of what it is about.  Underline vocabulary or phrases that you do not understand so that you can look these up later.  Put question marks next to sections that are unclear.

 

CHECK THE VOCABULARY: Use a dictionary to look up any words you did not understand.  Make sure that the meaning you have found makes sense in the passage.  Try to paraphrase difficult sections in your own words so that you understand them.

 

READ AGAIN: Read the selection slowly and carefully the second time.  Try to understand all of the points; try to figure out what the thesis or main point is and what examples or details are used to support the thesis.

 

ANNOTATE: At this point you might want to make notes in the margin to indicate the main point and/or function of each paragraph.  Sometimes the main point is clearly indicated in one sentence and you can underline or highlight it; other times you need to write the main idea in your own words.  In either case, try to determine what the author is doing with each paragraph: stating a main point, expanding and supporting the previous point, presenting an opposing view, making a comparison or analogy.

 

PREPARE A “MOCK” EXAM: Use the typical prompt format below as an aid to generating ideas and organizing data that are likely to be demanded in the actual prompt.  (see page 5)

 

READ YET AGAIN:Read the selection for the third time.  The ideas should be familiar; the thesis, support and organization should be clear.  Make any additional notes necessary in the margin.

 

 

 

PREDICTING YOUR WRITING ASSIGNMENT

 

WRITING ASSIGNMENT

 

With these reading selections by _______________ and _______________ in mind,

                                                                                       A1                                             B1

write an essay in which you discuss __________________________ .  In your essay

                                                                                              A BIG IDEA2              

summarize ____________________________________________________.  Draw a

                               A’s DISCUSSION OF SOME ASPECT OF THE BIG IDEA3

relationship between _________________________ and what you have just read about

                                                             A’s IDEAS3

 ________________________.  In light of the reading selections, describe your own

     SOME IDEA OF X’s4

experience or observations of __________________________________.  Discuss the

                                                  THE BIG IDEA MADE MORE SPECIFIC5  

degree to which your experience does or does not reflect the ideas of _______________

                                                                                                                          A6

or _______________ or both.                                                                                                     

               B6             

 

1 A is the author of Reading Selection A.  B is the author of Reading  Selection B.

2 Make a list of some logical themes (“big ideas”) for the writing assignment, and fill in this blank with each.

3 What portion of the text might you be asked to summarize?  It will be some aspect of the BIG IDEA that is discussed at length in Reading Selection A or a general theme that appears throughout the selection.  Make a list of possible topics for summary and try to outline some of them.

4 B and B's ideas are unknown.  However, the more possible themes that you investigate, the more likely it is you will touch upon ideas that will appear in Reading Selection B.

5 How can you relate this reading and its themes to your own personal experiences,observations and acquired knowledge?  Even without Reading Selection B, you can be at least partially prepared by responding to your predicted themes.

6 In the previous part of the assignment, you describe your personal experiences,observations and  acquired  knowledge related to the theme.  Here you reflect on them in relation to the  authors' ideas and give your own opinion about those ideas.

 

Filling in the blanks above as best you can, you will have created a possible writing assignment.  Look at the text and make notes as to how you would answer each part.  Decide what information from the text you could use in your answers.  If you can, do this for a number of themes.  Even if you don't guess the BIG IDEA correctly, your familiarity with the material will make it easier for you to think in your seat at the exam. 

 

If you have time, you might use a possible prompt as a practice exam.  If you do so, write and proofread your essay within the 2-hour time period you will be allowed at the actual test.

 

 

HOW TO APPROACH READING SELECTION B & WRITE YOUR ESSAY

 

At the exam you will receive a shorter reading that is related in some way to Reading Selection A and the Writing Assignment that you are to address for Task 1.  You must include information from both reading selections in your essay.

 

READ THE WRITING ASSIGNMENT: Read the entire Writing Assignment.  Underline the key words that indicate the topics you are to deal with in your essay.  Notice the general theme for the essay, the portion of Reading Selection A you will be summarizing, and the aspect of Reading Selection B you will be comparing to Selection A.

 

READ SELECTION B: Read through the whole selection quickly.  Check the meaning of words you do not understand in the dictionary that you have brought.  Underline main points and mark sections that relate to the writing assignment.

 

PLAN YOUR ESSAY: Begin planning your essay by planning the body.  Review the writing assignment and consider what sections of the readings you will use to complete each part of the assignment.

 

Now prepare your essay’s introduction.  The first sentence of the “Writing Assignment” indicates the general theme that your essay is supposed to comment on.  Thinking about the ideas in that first

sentence and what you have planned to write in the rest of the essay, write a few sentences that relate the theme of the two passages and your own ideas.

NOTE: This is ONE WAY, BUT CERTAINLY NOT THE ONLY WAY, to organize the essay.

 

WRITE YOUR ESSAY: Try to make your writing neat and legible; leave larger spaces between words or print if you know your handwriting is especially difficult to read.

 

PROOFREAD: Read over your work and edit to make sure that your writing is clear and correct.

 

DESCRIPTION OF THE EXAM—TASK 2

 

Task 2 consists of a short reading (about a half page) and two figures (graphs, tables, charts, maps, etc.). You are asked to:

 

You must use both figures. Your claims, your statements about the relationships, and the data you use to show the relationships must be accurate. You should assume that the reading and the figures come from different sources and are not necessarily in agreement. You have one hour to complete Task 2.

 

DESCRIPTION OF THE SCORING

 

The essay is scored for accuracy, completeness and clarity.A scale of 1 to 6 is used. To receive an “adequate” grade (4) you must:

To obtain a higher score (5 or 6) you must:

 

Your Task 2 score is the sum of two readers’ scores doubled.There are 24 possible points for Task 2.

 

AT THE EXAM

 

Reading the Passage and Graphics

  1. Read the text quickly to get a general idea of what it is about.
  2. “Read” the figures; what do the figures have to say about the information in the reading?

 

How can you understand graphic material?

  1. Read the title and subtitles to get an overview.What is it about?
  2. Read all of the labels.
  1. Consider the details.
  1. Notice the trends (general direction) and find the extremes.
  1. Draw conclusions. What does the information mean?

 

3. Reread the text and mark claims that deal with the figures. Notice the details of the claims made in the reading: who or what, when, where, and how much.

4. Compare claims made in the reading with data presented in the figures.

5. Write a claim from the reading that relates to the data in Figure 1. State the relationship of Figure 1 to the claim (supports/contradicts).Write some of the data from Figure 1 that illustrate the relationship. Give specific numbers if possible.

6.Repeat #4 and #5 for Figure 2.

7. If time, find additional claims and relate the data from the figures to them.

 

Writing the Exam

  1. Make sure to use all three sources of information in your answer.
  2. Organize your response. It is probably easiest to discuss each claim in a separate paragraph that includes how the figure relates to it and the supporting data from the figure.
  3. Proofread and edit your answer; check the accuracy of your statements about the graphs.

 

Responses to Task 2 can be simple. For example:

 

The reading passage and the figures all deal with the subject of ______________.

The passage makes the claim that _____________________________________.Figure 1 supports (does not support) this claim because __________________________.

The reading claims that _____________________________________________. Figure 2 supports (does not support) this claim by showing _______________________.

Repeat this for additional claims.

 

If figures contain some data that support and other data that contradict a claim, you can write that figure “partially supports,” “supports,” or “contradicts” the claim, but you must use data (numbers) from the figure that explain your position. There is no penalty for incorrect information, so write and discuss as many claims as you can .

 

 

 

CUNY Proficiency Examination Task 2 Scoring Guide

 

Score

 

  1. Accurately identifies two or more claims from the reading selection and explains the relationship of Figure 1 and 2 to these claims with accuracy, a high degree of complexity, and insight. Examinees can demonstrate a high degree of complexity or insight by successfully meeting the standards for a "5" AND by:

 

  1. Accurately identifies two or more claims from the reading selection and explains the relationship of Figure 1 and Figure 2 to these claims with accuracy and a degree of complexity. Examinees can demonstrate a degree of complexity by successfully completing one of the following:

 

  1. Accurately identifies two claims from the reading selection and adequately explains the relationship of Figure 1 to one of these claims and Figure 2 to the other.

 

  1. Accurately identifies two claims from the reading selection and adequately explains the relationship of one claim to one figure, but the connection between the other claim and a second figure is missing or inadequate (e.g., the connection is based on a misreading of the figure or simply repeats the language of the claim).

 

  1. Accurately identifies one claim from the reading selection and adequately establishes a relationship between that claim and one or both of the figures.

 

  1. Makes an attempt but does not accurately identify any of the claims or identifies one or more claims without establishing an adequate connection to either of the figures.

 

  1. Blank, completely off-topic, illegible, or written in a language other than English.

 

Mini-Practice Task 2

 

READING :

 

In the past most Americans got their news from the morning newspapers. Then when television came into most homes, the nightly news on the three major networks became the prime source of news for most people. Since the early 1990's, ABC, NBC and CBS have lost a significant portion of the viewership for their evening news programs. In 2003, fewer than 30 million people viewed the evening news shows on these major networks. While some of the viewers may have switched to the networks' morning news shows, fewer people are watching network news shows (morning and evening) than in 1991.

FIGURE:

Source: Nielsen Media Research (Based on 33-week periods from the beginning of each broadcast season for ABC, CBS, and NBC)

 

 

Claim: __________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Relationship: ____________________________________________________________

Relevant data: ____________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

Practice Task 2

Analyzing and Integrating Information from Graphs and Text (1 Hour)

 

DIRECTIONS

On the following pages, you will see a brief reading selection and two graphs. You should assume that the reading and graphs come from different sources and therefore may not be consistent with one another.

 

Your task is to identify the claims made in the reading selection and to determine how relevant data in the graphs support, partially support, and/or contradict claims in the text. In your response, you should describe two or more claims from the reading and explain how specific numerical data in the graphs support, partially support, and/or contradict the claims. At least one claim must be discussed using relevant numerical data from the first graph, and at least one other claim must be discussed using relevant numerical data from the second graph.

Time Allotted

You will have one hour to read the test, examine the figures, and write your response. You may use your dictionary at any time.

 

How to Prepare Your Response

You should use your time in this way:

 

How Your Response Will Be Evaluated

Your response on the lined pages will be evaluated based on your ability to:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drug Testing

 

The following is an excerpt from a newspaper report.

Many people feel that drug use among junior high and high school students has become a troubling problem in the United States . In the past few years several schools have instituted a drug testing program to combat drug use.

Recent surveys of junior high and high school students have shown that schools with mandatory, random drug-testing policies have lower rates of illicit drug use than schools without such testing. In schools with drug testing, there was reduced drug use among the youngest students. In schools with drug testing, eighth graders had less than one-third of the drug use of 12 th graders; while in schools without testing, eighth graders admitted to using drugs at half the rate of their 12 th grade counterparts. Drug usage rates among male athletes showed a greater reduction than any other group, with five percent fewer using drugs in schools that had drug testing than in schools without testing. Drug testing was ineffective in discouraging drug use by older students (those in grade12) and students who categorized themselves as “regular drug users.”

Most schools are anxious to reduce drug use, in part, because they believe that drug-free students perform better academically. A comparison of grades earned by all high school students with grades of students who reported using drugs confirmed that students who used drugs received consistently lower grades. Students who used drugs were more than five times as likely as the general student body to obtain grades below C. They were also much less likely to have grades in the A and B range. The percent of all high school students who earned A's was more than triple the percent of drug users who earned A's. Interestingly, similar percentages of all high school students and students who reported using drugs had grades in the C range.

 

 

Figure 1: PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS WHO ADMITTED TO USING DRUGS IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS

 

 

Source: Journal of School Health

 

 

Figure 2:STUDENT GRADES

 

 

 

 

 

Source: The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse

 

 

 

 

 

TASK 2 MODELS

 

EXAMPLE OF A STRONG RESPONSE (SCORE 6)

 

The reading selection, "Drug Testing," and Figures 1 and 2 all deal with the troubling problem of drug use among junior high and high school students.

According to the passage, surveys comparing schools that had drug testing program with schools without drug testing found “lower rates of illicit drug use compared with schools without such testing.” However, Figure 1 only partially supports this claim. The graph shows that there was less drug use in schools with drug testing in the eighth grade (10 percent with testing and 15 percent without testing) and among male athletes (30 percent with testing and 35 percent without testing). But sometimes the schools with no drug test have the same percent of admitted drug use or even less. For instance in the 10 th grade, both schools with drug tests and schools without drug tests had about 25% of the students who admitted drug use, and in the 12 th grade more students used drugs in schools with drug testing (35%) than students in schools without drug testing (30%).

The passage makes other claims that relate to Figure 1 as well. It states that “In schools with drug testing there was reduced drug use among the youngest students.” This is supported by the data from eighth graders—10% used drugs when there was testing in school and 15% used it when there was no testing.

The passage states that “In schools with drug testing, eighth graders had less than one-third of the drug use of 12 th graders; while in schools without testing, eighth graders admitted to using drugs at half the rate of their 12 th grade counterparts.” Figure 1 supports this because 10% of eighth graders in schools with testing used drugs while 35% of 12 th graders did. This is less than one-third. Also, 15% of eighth graders in schools without testing used drugs, but 30% of twelfth graders did. This is half, as claimed in the passage.

Drug use may also affect students' grades. The reading claims that “students who used drugs received consistently lower grades.” This is supported by Figure 2 which indicated that students who reported using drugs did much more poorly in school: only 7.1% got A's compared to 23% for all high school students and only 13.5% got B's compared to 45%. Also, there were more low grades among the drug users; 32.7% got D's or lower, while the percent among all high school students was only 10%.

Another claim made by the passage was that students using drugs were five times more likely to get grades below C. This is not supported by Figure 2. They were only three times more likely (32.7% of students using drugs compared to 10% of all high school students had a D average or below).

Since there is no data given for 26.5% of drug-using students, this might suggest that the percentages given in the second pie chart are not accurate and therefore do not support the passage's claims conclusively. However, even if this information were known, it would not alter the fact that the percentage of drug users receiving grades of D or lower is nearly a third of all those students reporting.

 

Explanation: The writer mentions three claims from the passage that directly relate to Figure 1 and gives data to correctly explain the relationships. Still, if the writer had not included information from Figure 2, he would have only gotten a score of 3. The writer mentions two claims from the passage and gives data that show their relationship with Figure 2. FOUR claims accurately stated and related to figures would be sufficient for a score of 6. The writer also attempts to do some “insightful analysis” by discussing the “no data” section of Figure 2.

EXAMPLE OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE (SCORE 4)

 

The passage concerns a drug testing in schools in an effort to reduce drug use in junior high and high schools.

The passage claims that “In schools with drug testing, there was reduced drug use among the youngest students.” Figure 1 supports this claim. The graph shows that for eighth graders in schools with drug testing only 10% used drugs, but in schools without testing 15% admitted using drugs.

The reading also claims that “students who used drugs received consistently lower grades.” This is supported by Figure 2 which indicated that students who used drugs did much more poorly in school: only 7.1% got A's compared 23% for all high school students and only 13.5% got B's compared to 45%. Also, there were more low grades among the drug users; 32.7% got D's or lower, while the percent among all high school students was only 10%. Clearly the students using drugs received worse grades than high school students in general.

 

Explanation: Two claims from the passage that directly relate to the figures are accurately stated; the relationship of each figure to one of the claims in the passage is stated clearly; data from the figures are correctly cited and serve to illustrate the relationship between figure and claim.

ALTERNATE FORMAT – EXAMPLE OF A SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE (SCORE 4)

 

The passage and the figures concern drug use by students in junior high and high schools.

 

Explanation: The information is the same as the previous response, but it is presented in bullets instead of paragraphs. Still, it accurately states two claims that directly relate to the figures, the relationship of each figure to one of the claims, and data from the figures to support the relationship.

EXAMPLE OF AN ALMOST SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE (SCORE 3)

According to the passage, there are surveys comparing drug use at schools that have a drug testing program with those that don't. They hope this will solve the troubling problem of drug use in the United States .

The passage claims that with male athletes five percent fewer used drugs in schools that had drug testing than in schools without testing. Figure 1 agrees with this.

The reading also says that students who use drugs “were much less likely to have grades in the A and B range.” Figure 2 supports this because you can see a lot fewer A's and B's in the circle with “students who reported using drugs.” But another claim is wrong. “Students who used drugs were more than five times as likely as the general student body to obtain grades below C.” This claim isn't supported by Figure 2. In Figure 2, 32.7% of students who use drugs got D average or below and only 10% of all high school students did. This is not five times as many—only about 3 times as many.

 

Explanation: The writer correctly states three claims from the passage: one that relates to Figure 1 and two that relate to Figure 2. But since the writer only gives supporting data for the third claim, he cannot get more than a three. He gets two points for the claim about grades below C that is correctly related to Figure 2, and one point for including at least one other claim that he fails to relate to a figure.

 

 

 

EXAMPLE OF A VERY POOR RESPONSE (SCORE 1)

 

The reading discusses the serious problem of drug use in our schools. There are surveys that compare schools with drug testing programs with schools that do not test for drugs, and those that test have “lower rates of illicit drug use.”

Figure 1 shows drug use at schools with a drug test compared to schools with no drug test. In some grades, like eighth, fewer students used drugs when there was testing, but for the other grades there was not much difference. Figure 2 shows average grades of all high school students and average grades of students (12 to 17) who reported using drugs. “All high school students” got better grades. The second graph shows the percents of students earning each grade. Students who reported using drugs had worse grades, and there is no data for 26.5%

 

Explanation: The writer's information is accurate, but the task is not addressed. Although the writer states a claim by writing “those that test have ‘lower rates of illicit drug use,'” it seems almost accidental. There is no attempt to relate the data from the figures to claims in the reading.