This page provides the directions and questions as they were presented to students who took the Electrical Circuits task. In addition, following each question is a sample response, the scoring criteria used to judge performance on the question, and performance data for students in the nation.

In this task, students learn to assemble a simple electrical circuit. Then, students design and conduct an investigation to compare the conductivities of different materials. Finally, students use their knowledge learned from comparing circuits having one or two light bulbs to design and conduct an investigation to determine which of two black boxes contains a light bulb.

See the test booklet.

# Part 4

You will now apply what you have observed so far about electrical circuits to solve a problem about a hidden light bulb.

You have been given two boxes. These boxes are sealed and cannot be opened. One is labeled A, and the other is labeled B.

Each box has a piece of wire coming out of two of its sides. In one box, the two wires are connected to a light bulb inside the box. In the other box, there is only a wire inside the box, as shown below.

# Question 7

You will find out which box (A or B) contains the light bulb and which box contains only a wire. You may use any of the materials in your kit.

Now test the two boxes.

Draw a diagram in the spaces below to show how you set up your circuit to find out what was in each box. Be sure to label your diagrams. Remember that you may use symbols for the parts of your circuit.

Do not worry about how well you draw.

Sample correct student response:

Circuit with Box A

Sample correct student response:

Circuit with Box B

# Question 7: Scoring Guide

Score and Description

This item was scored in two parts.

Part A:  Circuit with Box A
Part B:  Circuit with Box B

Part A:

Complete:
Student response shows a closed series circuit in the space labeled “Circuit with Box A” consisting of three circuit components: Box A, one or two light bulbs, and the battery. All of the circuit components are connected with wires in one continuous loop. Labels may or may not be present; however, the identity of the components should be obvious whether drawn as symbols or objects.

Partial:
Student response shows a closed series circuit consisting of two of the three circuit components: Box A, one or two light bulbs, and the battery.

OR

Student response shows a closed circuit connected in series or parallel (no open branches) consisting of one or two boxes and one or two light bulbs, with or without the battery.

OR

Student response shows a circuit consisting of the three circuit components: Box A, one or two light bulbs, and the battery. The circuit diagram is not a closed circuit showing the three components connected in series.

Unsatisfactory/Incorrect:
Student response is inadequate or incorrect.

Part B:

Complete:
Student response shows a closed series circuit in the space labeled “Circuit with Box B” consisting of three circuit components; Box B, one or two light bulbs, and the battery. All of the circuit components are connected with wires in one continuous loop. Labels may or may not be present; however, the identity of the components should be obvious whether drawn as symbols or objects.

Partial:
Student response shows a closed series circuit consisting of two of the three circuit components; Box B, one or two light bulbs, and the battery.

OR

Student response shows a closed circuit connected in series or parallel (no open branches) consisting of one or two boxes and one or two light bulbs, with or without the battery.

OR

Student response shows a circuit consisting of the three circuit components; Box B, one or two light bulbs, and the battery. The circuit diagram is not a closed circuit showing the three components connected in series.

Unsatisfactory/Incorrect:
Student response is inadequate or incorrect.

Composite Score:

Student response received one of four possible composite scores (Complete, Essential, Partial, Unsatisfactory/Incorrect) based on the student's combined performance on Parts A and B of the item. For example, a student response Complete for Part A, and Partial for Part B received a composite score of Essential.

Composite Score

Part A

Part B

Complete

Complete

Complete

Essential

Complete

Partial

Partial

Complete

Partial

Partial

Complete

Unsatisfactory/Incorrect

Unsatisfactory/Incorrect

Complete

Partial

Partial

Unsatisfactory/Incorrect

Unsatisfactory/Incorrect

Partial

Unsatisfactory/Incorrect

Unsatisfactory/Incorrect

Unsatisfactory/Incorrect

Percentage of fourth-grade students in each response category: 2009
Complete Essential Partial Unsatisfactory/ incorrect Omitted
25 31 5 36 3
NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.

# Question 8

Which box contains the light bulb?

Sample correct student response:

Explain how you know.

Sample correct student response:

# Question 8: Scoring Guide

Score & Description

Complete:
Student response selects (A) Box A, and explains that connecting Box A to a circuit with one bulb (Diagram 4) makes the bulb light up more dimly, while connecting Box B to a circuit with one bulb makes the bulb light up brightly. Response to item 7 shows that at least one complete circuit is used to test the boxes. The circuit diagram includes a box, the battery, and a light bulb connected in series with wires. Response can be credited for indicating that for Box B the light bulb lights up and that for Box A the light bulb does not light up when connected to a complete circuit.

OR

Student response selects (A) Box A, and explains that for Box A the light bulb lights more dimly than it does for Box B, but does not explain the details of how the circuit is connected to test the boxes. However, response to item 7 shows that at least one complete circuit is used to test the boxes. The circuit diagram includes a box, the battery, and a light bulb connected in series with wires.

Partial:
Student response selects (A) Box A, and provides an explanation (or appropriate diagram(s) in item 7) indicating an attempt to test the boxes by using a complete circuit including a box, the battery, and a light bulb.

OR

Student response makes incorrect, multiple, or no selection, and provides an explanation (or appropriate diagrams in item 7) indicating an attempt to test the boxes by using a complete circuit including a box, the battery, and a light bulb.

Unsatisfactory/Incorrect:
Student response is inadequate or incorrect.

Percentage of fourth-grade students in each response category: 2009
Complete Partial Unsatisfactory/ incorrect Omitted
9 28 63 #
# Rounds to zero.
NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.

Cleaning Up

When you have finished this activity, take the bulbs out of their holders, and put everything back into the large plastic bag.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2009 Science Assessment.