Writing Samples Student Writing Samples The following samples are meant to provide new college students with some helpful context. New students to MCC, some who may have been away from school environments for a period of time, often wonder about the expectations for writing as they enter a college environment. And although schools districts and states in this country have curriculum guidelines and assessments for writing for Kindergarten through high school graduation, some students entering MCC may not have had the many years of ongoing writing experiences needed to develop their writing abilities as others entering college.
Given the high stakes nature of many of these assessment purposes, it is crucial that assessment practices be guided by sound principles to insure that they are valid, fair, and appropriate to the context and purposes for which they designed.
This position statement aims to provide that guidance. In spite of the diverse uses to which writing assessment is put, the general principles undergirding it are similar: Assessments of written literacy should be designed and evaluated by well-informed current or future teachers of the students being assessed, for purposes clearly understood by all the participants; should elicit from student writers a variety of pieces, preferably over a substantial period of time; college writing assessment prompts for second encourage and reinforce good teaching practices; and should be solidly grounded in the latest research on language learning as well as accepted best assessment practices.
Guiding Principles for Assessment 1. Writing assessment is useful primarily as a means of improving teaching and learning.
The primary purpose of any assessment should govern its design, its implementation, and the generation and dissemination of its results. As a result… A. Best assessment practice is informed by pedagogical and curricular goals, which are in turn formatively affected by the assessment.
Teachers or administrators designing assessments should ground the assessment in the classroom, program or departmental context. The goals or outcomes assessed should lead to assessment data which is fed back to those involved with the regular activities assessed so that assessment results may be used to make changes in practice.
Best assessment practice is undertaken in response to local goals, not external pressures. Even when external forces require assessment, the local community must assert control of the assessment process, including selection of the assessment instrument and criteria.
Best assessment practice provides regular professional development opportunities. Colleges, universities, and secondary schools should make use of assessments as opportunities for professional development and for the exchange of information about student abilities and institutional expectations.
Writing is by definition social. Learning to write entails learning to accomplish a range of purposes for a range of audiences in a range of settings. Best assessment practice engages students in contextualized, meaningful writing.
The assessment of writing must strive to set up writing tasks and situations that identify purposes appropriate to and appealing to the particular students being tested. Additionally, assessment must be contextualized in terms of why, where, and for what purpose it is being undertaken; this context must also be clear to the students being assessed and to all stakeholders.
Best assessment practice supports and harmonizes with what practice and research have demonstrated to be effective ways of teaching writing.
What is easiest to measure—often by means of a multiple choice test—may correspond least to good writing; choosing a correct response from a set of possible answers is not composing. As important, just asking students to write does not make the assessment instrument a good one.
Essay tests that ask students to form and articulate opinions about some important issue, for instance, without time to reflect, talk to others, read on the subject, revise, and have a human audience promote distorted notions of what writing is.
They also encourage poor teaching and little learning. Even teachers who recognize and employ the methods used by real writers in working with students can find their best efforts undercut by assessments such as these. Best assessment practice is direct assessment by human readers.
Assessment that isolates students and forbids discussion and feedback from others conflicts with what we know about language use and the benefits of social interaction during the writing process; it also is out of step with much classroom practice.
Direct assessment in the classroom should provide response that serves formative purposes, helping writers develop and shape ideas, as well as organize, craft sentences, and edit.
While they may promise consistency, they distort the very nature of writing as a complex and context-rich interaction between people. They simplify writing in ways that can mislead writers to focus more on structure and grammar than on what they are saying by using a given structure and style.
Best assessment practice uses multiple measures. One piece of writing—even if it is generated under the most desirable conditions—can never serve as an indicator of overall writing ability, particularly for high-stakes decisions.
Ideally, writing ability must be assessed by more than one piece of writing, in more than one genre, written on different occasions, for different audiences, and responded to and evaluated by multiple readers as part of a substantial and sustained writing process. Best assessment practice respects language variety and diversity and assesses writing on the basis of effectiveness for readers, acknowledging that as purposes vary, criteria will as well.
Standardized tests that rely more on identifying grammatical and stylistic errors than authentic rhetorical choices disadvantage students whose home dialect is not the dominant dialect. Assessing authentic acts of writing simultaneously raises performance standards and provides multiple avenues to success.
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* Elaboration and Craft are double-weighted categories: Whatever score a student would get in these categories is worth double the amount of points. Consequently, where students’ writing ability is a factor in the admissions decision, the writing assessments should consist of direct measures of actual writing.
Moreover, the assessment should consist of multiple writing tasks and should allow sufficient time for a student to engage in all stages of the writing process.
Writing Assessments Assessing students’ progress as writers of information, opinion/argument and narrative on-demand texts.
This October, Heinemann will release Writing Pathways, a book and collection of resources by Lucy Calkins with TCRWP colleagues . —Lucy Calkins, Writing Pathways Lucy Calkins' groundbreaking performance assessments offer instructional tools to support continuous assessment, timely feedback, and clear goals tied to learning progressions that have been aligned with world-class standards.
hoose one of the persuasive writing prompts from the list below and write an essay. A certain number of prompts have model essays in the answer section that you can use to compare and con-trast your writing.
A scoring guide, or rubric, is also included in the answer section. You can use this guide to give you an idea of the way your essay may be graded. For placement into courses in the writing sequence at Irvine Valley College, IVC administers the College Tests for English Placement (CTEP), a test designed to assess students' skills in reading and writing.