Writing assessment…. a gripe, a strategy, and a hope

This year, so far, has been…..  well… mostly a trial.   I have a very interesting group of kids…  for the most part, either mean girls or super immature boys….   but at the end of the day, that’s neither here nor there.

We are getting ready to take the annual writing assessment.   If you are in a state that implements this “authentic assessment” you know that it has changed radically in the last couple of years.   For a while, students were simply asked to write in response to an informational prompt.   This seemed pretty fair to me….  Now, however, they must read TWO informational pieces (most likely either science or social studies based, on a subject which may or may not be covered in their standards this year).   THEN… they write two essays…. one informational and one argumentative.   Oh, and it’s timed (2 hours) and they have to type…. which for some areas is not so surprising, but for my very rural, poor kids, this can be a tremendous problem.    So instead of evaluating how well my students can write, I feel like they are truly evaluated on how well they read/comprehend and how well they type.

It’s no wonder my kids hate writing and feel like this is an impossible task.   So, we’ve been practicing… Practicing reading prompts, practicing varying our sentence types, practicing typing in timed situations; I am tired… and we have two weeks to go.   The good news, though…..  My kids love highlighters… so each week we are focusing on ONE skill and highlighting it.   I hope their efforts are rewarded when they FINALLY receive their scores (3 months+ after the fact)….  but I really hope we don’t destroy any potential writers among us in the next 2 weeks.

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One thought on “Writing assessment…. a gripe, a strategy, and a hope

  1. We had a practice test last week. It was painful to watch, even though we are a 1-to-1 school and my students are fairly familiar with keyboarding.

    I’ve read numerous comments about this particular test from schools across the state. A surprising majority are not prepping their students at all, other than to tell them how to log on and minimally how to negotiate through the testing program, citing the test doesn’t count for/against their students’ grades, their own evaluations, or their schools.

    So what exactly is the point to induce all this unnecessary stress on everyone involved and waste precious instructional time??

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