Monday, May 17, 2010

Reviewing the ELA Assessment


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!)
I know that no one loves the state assessments but I have to say that the scoring process is powerful professional learning.  And I am proud of the teachers in our region!

No comments: