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MarylandFine Arts Education Instructional Tool Kit
All Fine Arts Content Areas Dance Music Theatre Visual Arts
Maryland Fine Arts Education
Developing Fine Arts Assessments
Integrating Fine Arts Across the Curriculum
Assessment Outcomes and Implications

Brief Constructed Response Item Formats and Examples
Fill in the blank  Short answer  Label a diagram
Visual representation  Show your work

Show Your Work

"Show your work" items take the form of preparatory work for the creation of a product, performance, or extended text.   These items may be treated as one component of a task leading to a final product or may be stand-alone, as evidence of preliminary thinking and problem-solving.   A response to these items may take the form of label a diagram or visual representation, and may also take the form of a synthesis of multiple brief constructed response item types.


  • Less dependent on writing skills than some other types of brief constructed responses
  • Allows for an alternative evidence of learning or understanding
  • Novelty of item type encourages interest and engagement


  • Lack of familiarity with item type may impact performance


  • Ensure that evidence of understanding lends itself to response through words, images, symbols, and diagrams
  • Ensure that the range of anticipated responses is open-ended; if there is truly only one possible response, consider re-crafting as a selected response item
  • Word items so that while students may not respond in identical ways, the expectations for that item are clear

View Example:

Example (PDF: 16KB)

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