Tips for Teaching the RACE Constructed Response Strategy - Teaching with Jennifer Findley (2023)

I remember the switch from multiple-choice reading assessments to constructed-response reading questions like it was yesterday. When we first made the switch, we got everything from blank stares (because they didn't understand the question), to one-word answers, to simple sentences, to off-topic answers, and let's not even talk about grammar and spelling. Hint: it was hard. 🇧🇷

My grade level team and I had to come up with a plan, and fast. One strategy we implemented that made a big difference was teaching students to use the RACE acronym when answering constructed response questions. However, there were some learning curves, as with any new strategy. This post will detail the RACE strategy, why I chose this strategy, and tips for each part of the strategy.

Tips for Teaching the RACE Constructed Response Strategy - Teaching with Jennifer Findley (1)

Why use the RACE strategy for constructed response reading questions?

First, RACE is an acronym that helps guide students through the process of answering questions embedded in reading. The acronym RACE stands for:

A – Rephrase the question.

A - Answer the question completely.

C – Cite evidence from the text.

E - Explain the evidence from the text.

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There are many different constructed response strategies and acronyms available to students. I chose to use the RACE strategy because of the importance placed on restating the question and the fact that students need to go a step further in their answers by explaining how the cited evidence supports their answer.

That being said, any acronyms and constructed response strategies you teach will work if you teach each step strategically and support students as needed. How do you do that? Glad you asked... read on for all my tips and recommended resources, including freebies.

Tips for Teaching Constructed Responses with RACE Acronyms

1.) Practice with short texts specifically for teaching the RACE FIRST strategy. Presenting it in a non-threatening way with short texts will allow students to learn the process and importance before moving on tolong grade level texts.

Tips for Teaching the RACE Constructed Response Strategy - Teaching with Jennifer Findley (3)

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Click here to see the RACE practice booklet in my TpT store that I use to introduce the RACE strategy to my students.

2.) Start the year by teaching the RACE strategy (or whatever constructed response strategy you choose), so your students have the entire year to practice it. The sooner the better. Do not try to implement this in the weeks leading up to the test. #spokenbyexperience

3.) Incorporate the use of the RACE strategy into read alouds and guided reading throughout the year. An easy way to do this is through evidence collection with sticky notes. For example: “In this section, we learn how greedy the character is. Look for evidence in the text to support this conclusion.” Students mark or write the evidence and we then discuss it and sometimes compile it into written responses using the acronym RACE.

4.) Teach each step of the RACE strategy on its own and allow them to build on each other. I teach R (paraphrasing the question) and we practice. We then move on to A (answer the question completely) and practice and talk about the importance of using complete sentences, making sure to answer all parts of the question, using key vocabulary, etc. This usually takes a day, but sometimes two. The next 2-3 days are focused on teaching C&E (how to extract relevant evidence, cite that evidence, and then explain it). C and E are the ones we spend ALL YEAR practicing and refining.

5.) Teach students to write the acronym on their paper next to each question AND mark each part as they complete it. I give my students posters and markers to remind them of each part (see Tip #7 for giveaways), but ultimately the onus should be on students because they can't use these resources for state assessments.

6.) Another tip I have given is to have students color code the different parts of their answer. This is an engaging way for students to make sure they include everything they need. I like to do this from time to time throughout the year, and my students love it.

Tips for Teaching the RACE Constructed Response Strategy - Teaching with Jennifer Findley (4)

Get the RACE Strategy printables shown here for FREE!

7.) Empower students with reminders. This can be done using bookmarks, RACE strategy posters pasted in reading notebooks, hanging RACE anchor graphics in a prominent location, or creating RACE toolkits with bags, containers, or placing the RACE strategy posters on a ring.

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Click here to get all the RACE tools shown above for FREE in my TpT store. Many of these tools will be mentioned in the next section as we go through each step.

A – Rephrase the question

I learned several years ago that my students need explicit practice with this part of the RACE. One way to do this is through lots and lots of practice, but I also like to incorporate some fun activities.

One of the activities I use are these Reframe the Question puzzles. Students must read the question puzzle piece and find the corresponding restatement. All the questions focus on reading patterns, so this will also be a good review of key vocabulary.

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To get these Reframe Question riddles for free, simply sign up for my email list using the form below. Due to the nature of the questions and reading vocabulary, they are best for 4th and 5th grade students.

Free rephrased question puzzles

Join my email list to get Restate the Question puzzles for FREE!

Another activity that my students really enjoy is my Reframe the Question bingo. The students really enjoy playing this and even request it when we have a few extra minutes to spare.

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Click here to see the Restate the Question Bingo game in my TpT store.

In addition to explicitly teaching this skill and reviewing it with the activities above, here are two other ways I help my students:

  1. Ask them to answer the questions verbally in complete sentences. Just doing this simple strategy throughout the year will make a big difference in your ability to rephrase questions into full sentences in written form.
  2. Ask students to rephrase the question orally and in writing (leaving the answer part blank) before they even begin to answer the question. we do it withconstructed response math tasks, too, and it makes a world of difference in making sure students understand what the question is asking.

A – Answer the question completely

This one is self-explanatory, but one thing I do for this that really helps is ask my students to mark the question as they answer it. This really helps ensure that they answer the question completely if there is more than one part. They just put a little check mark over the part of the question after you answer it.

I also teach my students the importance of making sure they use vocabulary from the text and don't use pronouns for characters until they introduce them in their responses.

C- Cite evidence from the text

Citing textual evidence is the part of answering constructed reading response questions that can be the trickiest. These are the strategies we use:

1. I teach several mini-lessons that focus specifically on finding and collecting textual evidence to support points, inferences, or answers. I do this mostly through our read alouds so it blends in well. I use these two text evidence printables that are included inRACE Tool Setalso linked above.

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2. By using passages, my students are taught to underline evidence from the text that supports their answers.

3. I explicitly teach the different ways to cite evidence from the text. I teach both types, but honestly, I prefer my students to paraphrase the evidence in their own words. This prevents them from plagiarizing and having an answer other than their original thought.

Tips for Teaching the RACE Constructed Response Strategy - Teaching with Jennifer Findley (9)The citation text evidence posters shown above are also included in theRACE toolbox.

4. Provide phrases for students to use when citing their evidence.

5. Teach my students the power of 3. This means that they try to provide three pieces of evidence to support their answer. We talked about how sometimes three pieces of evidence might not be available. However, teach them the power of 3 and that the more evidence you provide, the harder it is to disprove the answer, keeping them looking for more relevant evidence to use.

If you need lots of engaging resources in a variety of formats to teach students how to find and summarize text evidence, check out this resource!

buy this post

Tips for Teaching the RACE Constructed Response Strategy - Teaching with Jennifer Findley (10)

Text Evidence Activities | cite text evidence

Finding text evidence and citing text evidence are two reading skills that must be modeled, practiced, and improved throughout the year for our students to be truly successful. This massive resource is a bundle of SEVEN text evidence resources. Each resource provides rigorous practice with inferring, finding textual evidence, and summarizing that textual evidence.

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E – Explain the evidence

This step was the bane of my existence for a long time. I couldn't for the life of me find a way to help my students explain their evidence without just restating it.

Finally, I had a lightening moment and came up with two strategies to help.

1. I taught the importance of not only providing valid evidence, but also explaining it using a detective analogy. In class, we discussed how a detective collects all the evidence, but doesn't just dump the evidence on his boss's desk. He has to explain how each piece of evidence proves his case.

2. I also came up with some simple sentences that would help my students explain their evidence and show the importance of explaining it up front. The radicals helped them understand that they need to show why the textual evidence is important through their explanation.

Tips for Teaching the RACE Constructed Response Strategy - Teaching with Jennifer Findley (11)

Click here for the posters I use to help my students explain their evidence.


Want more tips for answering constructed response reading questions?Click here to read even more tips to help your students master the answers to constructed response reading questions.

Do you use the RACE strategy for constructed response reading questions? Or another constructed response strategy?Let me know in the comments. I love hearing about the different strategies teachers use.

And don't forget to get the free charts and posters to create your own.RACE Toolkits to help your students master reading Constructed Response Questions by clicking here.


What is the strategy you need to use on constructed responses explain what it stands for? ›

The RACE strategy is a method for teaching students to write well-developed constructed responses. RACE stands for: Restate, Answer, Cite Evidence, Explain.

What does the R in race stand for in writing? ›

It stands for the following key components: Restate the question. Answer the question. Cite evidence. Explain your answer.

What is an example of the race strategy? ›

Each step in the RACE strategy=25%, with successful use of all parts of the RACE strategy equaling 100%. For example: if a student re-states the question, answers it, provides one citation, and explains, that would be 100%.

What are the 5 steps in planning a constructed response? ›

How Do I Write My Response to a CRQ?
  • Read and reread the question or prompt carefully. Understanding what the question is asking is the critical first step to planning your answer. ...
  • Make a sketch or outline. Jot down the key points you want to make in your response. ...
  • Write your response. ...
  • Check your work.

What is an example of a constructed response format? ›

The simplest forms of constructed response questions are fill-in-the-blank or short answer questions. For example, the question may take one of the following forms: Who was the 16th president of the United States? The 16th president of the United States was ___________________.

What are the examples of constructed response? ›

Extant studies identified the following numerous constructed-response item formats: anecdotal, cloze (embedded answers), demonstration, discussion, essay, exhibition, experiment, fill in the blank, grid in response, interview, observation, oral report, performance, portfolio, project, research paper, review, self/peer ...

What are the 4 steps under construct and test? ›

(i) Preparing the Test Items:
  • Test items must be appropriate for the learning outcome to be measured: ...
  • Test items should measure all types of instructional objectives and the whole content area: ...
  • The test items should be free from ambiguity: ...
  • The test items should be of appropriate difficulty level:

What are two disadvantages of a constructed response? ›

  • Can be time consuming for students to write.
  • Can be time consuming for teachers to grade.
  • Tend to promote subjective inaccuracies in scoring.

When should you use the race strategy? ›

What is the RACE Strategy used for? RACE is a mnemonic device that helps students write open-ended constructed responses. This strategy is especially helpful for struggling writers and students with disabilities, but it can also be helpful scaffolding for all students.

What does the E stand for in race response? ›

RACE: Remove, Alarm, Confine and Extinguish or Evacuate

Particularly in the hospital, every staff member is trained to recognize and respond appropriately in the case of a fire using this term.

Why use the race strategy? ›

The RACE written response strategy may not improve students' reading comprehension, but rather helps educators understand students' thinking about a particular text. The strategy allows students to better organize and elaborate their written responses clearly showing their thinking on paper.

How do you answer a constructed response question? ›

Constructed Response Answer

A strong answer should: Restate the question while providing the Answer (your opinion of the teacher). Cite(list) specific details from the text to support your opinion of the teacher. Explain how those details prove your conclusion.

How does the race strategy work? ›

Restate the question - use the question stem to write your topic sentence. Answer the question - make sure to answer all parts of the question. If there are two questions, you should answer each question in its own paragraph. Cite evidence from the text.

How do you write a constructed response paragraph? ›

How to Write a Constructed Response
  1. R is for Restate the question: Put the question in your own words and include it in the response. ...
  2. A is for Answer the question: Clearly state your answer to the question. ...
  3. C is for Cite evidence: Give evidence and reasons for your chosen answer.
Nov 29, 2021

What does the C mean in race strategy? ›

Use the words from the question or prompt to begin your answer. A- Answer. Answer the question or prompt. Sometimes this is an inference and sometimes it's stated directly in the text. C- Cite Evidence.

What are the possible ways of solving race conditions? ›

Two ways programmers can prevent race conditions in operating systems and other software include:
  • Avoid shared states. ...
  • Use thread synchronization.

What is a constructed response? ›

The required response can be as simple as the writing of a single word or as complex as the design of a laboratory experiment to test a scientific hypothesis. These types of test questions, taken together, are referred to as constructed- response questions.

What are the steps to writing a constructed-response? ›

  1. Step 1: Interpreting the Prompt. • Read/underline important words and phrases to. ...
  2. Step 2: Analyzing the Text to Find Evidence. • Skim text to find evidence to support the. ...
  3. Step 3: Making a Plan to Organize Evidence. ...
  4. Step 3: Making a Plan to Organize Evidence. ...
  5. Step 4: Writing the Response. ...
  6. Step 5: Revising.

What are the components of a constructed-response? ›

A well-designed constructed-response item usually contains four parts: an item number, directions, a prompt and response space. It is good practice for the directions to include both BLANK and BLANK.

How long should a constructed-response be? ›

Directions for the Constructed-Response Assignment

You should prepare a response of approximately 400–600 words. You may use the word-count feature in the lower left-corner of the response box to monitor the length of your response. You will not be allowed to type more than 1,000 words.

What is a primary benefit to using constructed responses? ›

Gives the student a chance to apply knowledge, skills, and critical thinking abilities to real-world, standards-driven performance tasks. Constructed-response questions are assessment items that ask students to apply knowledge, skills, and critical thinking abilities to real-world, standards-driven performance tasks.

What information must be within the first sentence of a constructed response? ›

The first sentence of the response should reword the question and state a personal opinion or direct response to the question. The first “A” prompts the student to look at what the author said and to include a detail from the text to support his answer.

How do you write a conclusion for a constructed response? ›

Cite textual evidence to support the answer/inference. End with an explanation (concluding statement).
To support students, dissect the three facets of this last statement.
  1. Restate the initial answer/inference. ...
  2. Connect the answer and the explanation. ...
  3. Provide a personal interpretation.
Feb 19, 2018

What are the three 3 types of responses? ›

In order to better understand what emotions are, let's focus on their three key elements, known as the subjective experience, the physiological response, and the behavioral response.

How many paragraphs is a constructed response? ›

Constructed responses, like so many other terms, have become standard with the spread of the Common Core Curriculum. But what are they? They are written answers—not multiple choice answers or matching answers or fill in the blank answers, but written answers, usually one paragraph long.

Which is the best example of active constructive response select an answer? ›

4. Active Constructive. Example: “that's amazing, I'm so happy for you – tell me how you felt when you found out!” Now, of course, we all aim to ACR when anyone shares good news with us but sometimes we get too tired, distracted, or busy to do so.

What are the tips on constructing tests? ›

Start questions with words such as “compare,” “contrast,” “explain why.” Don't use “what,” “when,” or “list.” (These latter types are better measured with objective-type items). Write items that define the parameters of expected answers as clearly as possible.

What are the key factors to keep in mind when constructing tests? ›

Factors Influencing the Validity of the Tests In General 1. Appropriateness of Test – it should measure the abilities, skill and information it is supposed to measure. 2. Directions –it should indicate how the learners should answer and record their answers.

What are the three principles of test construction? ›

Using these principles, the authors offer specific suggestions for modifications in 3 classic test construction approaches; (a) criterion keying, (b) inductive test construction, and (c) deductive test construction.

What are the types of constructed response questions? ›

Two primary types of constructed response items:
  • Short- or Brief-Constructed Response.
  • Extended Constructed Response.

How many points is a constructed response? ›

Constructed-response items are worth up to 3 score points. The three-point constructed-response question assesses reading comprehension by requiring students to construct an answer in a shorter format. ELA essays in grades 3–8 and 10 are scored using a rubric, scoring notes, and student responses.

What's a key difference between selected and constructed response? ›

Selected-response items ask students to select the correct answer from a list of options included in the item, while constructed- response items ask students to write, or construct, the correct answer instead of selecting it.

Which is the correct order of steps in test construction? ›

Steps Involved in Test Construction:
  • Step 1: Planning for the Test.
  • Step 2: Preparing the Preliminary Draft of the Test.
  • Step 3: Trying Out the Preliminary Draft of the Test.
  • Step 4: Evaluating the Test.
  • Step 5: Construction of the Final Draft of the Test.

How do you start a response paper example? ›

Start by writing down your thesis statement and an idea that you want to follow. Write down the core points of your idea that you want to respond to. Add quotes, examples, and references to author's work and/or your own experiences. Use topic sentences to make the logical flow of your response paper work.

How do you teach a race reading strategy? ›

R – Restate the question. A – Answer the question completely. C – Cite evidence from the text. E – Explain the text evidence.

What does S stand for in races? ›

Next, Secondly, Second, Another.

How do you restate a question example? ›

Reword the question means that you are to restate the question and make it into a statement as a part of the answer you provide. If you were to be asked "What color is the sky?", you would not simply answer "blue" - instead, the correct answer would be "The color of the sky is blue," or words to that effect.

How do you explain text evidence? ›

What is Textual Evidence? Textual evidence uses information from an originating source or other texts to support an argument. Think of textual evidence as the driving force behind debates. Debates take a position and then use facts as supporting evidence.

What does the R in acronym race stand for when fire occurs in the OR? ›

– R.A.C.E. is the standard acronym for the steps of the fire response plan. They stand for: R - Rescue persons in the room or where the fire is located (press emergency call button in patient room prior to removing patient).

What is good strategy for teaching ethnically diverse students? ›

Give Students Freedom and Flexibility

As a teacher, you can act as a facilitator and encourage conversation and healthy debate between diverse opinions. Group assignments are also a great way to expose students to diverse perspectives, allowing them to work together to explore and solve a problem.

How do I create a race plan? ›

  1. Set a Realistic Goal Time. Having an idea of how long it will take to finish your event will help you plan your race pace and your strategy. ...
  2. Plot Course-Specific Splits. ...
  3. Have a Fuel, Hydration, and Wardrobe Strategy. ...
  4. Make a Race-Morning Schedule. ...
  5. Have a Backup Plan.
Oct 10, 2013

How do you run a 5K race strategy? ›

What Is The Best 5K Race Strategy?
  1. Negative Splits. ...
  2. Even Pace. ...
  3. Go Hard and Ride The Pain. ...
  4. Plan Your Splits Carefully. ...
  5. Bottlenecks and Fast Starts. ...
  6. Resist the Adrenaline In The First 400 Meters. ...
  7. Get Up To Pace In The Warm Up. ...
  8. Remember: The Work Is Done Before The Race.
Feb 21, 2022

How do you teach nationalities? ›

Give them the handout with nationality adjectives and nouns. For example: Spanish – a Spaniard; Swiss – a Swiss; Greek – a Greek; Swedish – a Swede; etc. Ask them to put the words into two different categories. It is not that difficult to see that some adjectives and nouns are the same but some are different.

What are the six 6 best strategies for working with diversity? ›

Six Strategies for Embracing Diversity in the Workplace
  • Start the conversation. ...
  • Increase accountability and transparency. ...
  • Develop inclusive leadership skills. ...
  • Notice the diversity (or lack of it) during discussions and decisions. ...
  • Pay attention to how all people are treated. ...
  • Act as a vocal ally.

How can teachers use culturally responsive teaching strategies? ›

7 Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies
  1. Activate students' prior knowledge. ...
  2. Make learning contextual. ...
  3. Consider your classroom setup. ...
  4. Form relationships. ...
  5. Discuss social and political issues. ...
  6. Tap into students' cultural capital. ...
  7. Incorporate popular culture.
Nov 19, 2020

How do you build a running base for beginners? ›

Create the Perfect Base Phase
  1. Gradually build your mileage and long run.
  2. Run strides or hill sprints regularly.
  3. Complete an aerobic workout every 7-14 days.
  4. Run a faster fartlek workout every 10-14 days.
  5. Include strength training to prevent injuries and tune the nervous system.
Feb 12, 2018

How to run 20 miles a week? ›

20 Miles Per Week
  1. Monday: 4 miles.
  2. Tuesday: REST.
  3. Wednesday: 5 miles.
  4. Thursday: 3 miles.
  5. Friday: REST.
  6. Saturday: 8 miles.
  7. Sunday: REST.
Mar 14, 2022

How do you host a fun run? ›

We recommend that you start planning two to three months prior to your event.
  1. Recruit Volunteers. Start early in gathering a group of take-charge volunteers to help plan and coordinate race day activities. ...
  2. Communicate Your Goals. ...
  3. Save the Date. ...
  4. Pick a Location. ...
  5. Map the Route. ...
  6. Obtain Permits. ...
  7. Promote the Event. ...
  8. Registration.

What is the average time to finish a 5K? ›

Factors such as age, sex, and fitness level can influence your 5K time. Many runners complete a 5K in 30 to 40 minutes, and many runners are satisfied with their time if it's around this benchmark. The average walker finishes a 5K in 45 to 60 minutes.

What is a reasonable pace for a 5K? ›

For more experienced runners, running blogs and websites suggest an average 8-minute-per-mile pace, resulting in a finish time of about 26 minutes. Very advanced runners may be able to complete a 5K in less than 20 minutes.

How do you pace a 5K for beginners? ›

Time your 1-mile run/walk with a stopwatch. Run or walk easily the rest of the distance assigned for the day. On each successive Magic Mile, warm up as usual, and then try to beat your previous 1-mile run/walk time. Your 5K race pace should generally be about one to two minutes slower than your fastest Magic Mile time.

How do you teach someone culture? ›

How to Teach Your Child About Different Cultures
  1. Prepare a Food to Try. ...
  2. Learn Some of a Different Language. ...
  3. Find Out About a New Holiday. ...
  4. Discover a Custom. ...
  5. Listen to Traditional Music. ...
  6. Learn About a Role Model. ...
  7. Find the Country or Region on a Map. ...
  8. Make a Photo Collage.
Dec 16, 2021

How do you teach foreign culture? ›

6 Slick Techniques for Teaching Culture in the Foreign Language Classroom
  1. Expose Your Students to Authentic Materials. ...
  2. Compare Students' Own Culture with That of the Target Language. ...
  3. Introduce Your Students to Live Native Speakers. ...
  4. Food: Always a Good Idea! ...
  5. Teach Memory-friendly Songs.
Dec 15, 2022

What is the best way to learn about other countries? ›

7 Simple Ways to Learn About a Different Culture
  1. Get Festive for the Holidays. Every culture celebrates holidays differently. ...
  2. Try New Food. The world is an endless cookbook – and every country offers a different recipe. ...
  3. Don't be Afraid to Ask Questions. ...
  4. Visit a Museum. ...
  5. Listen to Local Music. ...
  6. Keep an Open Mind.
Nov 2, 2018


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