The changes in the assessment calendar in NYS this year caused us to have regional scoring for the grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics assessment overlap. As I write, my colleagues are immersed in scoring for the math assessment and I am slowly trying to recover from completing the ELA. I thought I would take this opportunity to share some thoughts from scoring:
- Students are writing. A lot! Each of the grade levels with extended writing passages (Grades 4, 6, 8) had quite lengthy student extended responses - many of them rich with details and well organized. This is a huge jump from when we started with assessments and I am impressed with the dedication teachers have to writing.
- Students are organizing better! Another testament to the work of teachers, we saw much better organization on the papers and even more, better introductions! My pet peeve of "Now I will tell you all I know about......" was rarely found.
- Students still need to practice note-taking. The listening passage continues to be the downfall for some students. Students listen to a passage that is read to them and take notes (generally on the second reading except for Grade 8 when they can take notes at any time.) Unfortunately - many students are still trying to write every word and aren't using any sort of frame for their notes. As a result, they were often unsuccessful in answering the questions or were unable to give sufficient details for a higher score.
- Homophone abuse was much less rampant than in previous years - with the exception of the Grade 5 editing passage in which students often changed the correct "to" and failed to catch a necessary change in "their." Sigh!
- We still saw little marking of the text for reading passages - no underlines or highlights, no marking in the booklets for multiple choice questions. I know the teachers in our region are working with students on this - just not sure why it isn't showing on these assessments.
- We still need to do a lot of work on inferencing - both in understanding and teaching it, as well as practicing it with students.
- Teachers really value the collaborative scoring process and are extremely professional. Districts sent us their best teachers to score and the conversations around instruction and assessment were amazing. I am grateful to each and every one of them for the time they put in over the past two weeks (and even more grateful for those returning this week for math!)