My ELA students will be taking the TCAP Writing Assessment the first week of February. In the past the prompts were rather silly and except for having students practice with past prompts, one hoped for the best.
Last year Tennessee provided its first CCSS based prompt. Students compared two pieces of nonfiction text. My preparation was minimal as that was the kind of writing they had done most of the year. They did quite well for a first attempt at this kind of writing assessment.
This year the assessment will be more rigorous. Students will have to write two essays. The first will be an analytical summary of a text and then some type of expository or argument prompt that analyzes the first text with a second text. Preparing students for a two-hour assessment is something to ponder.
Although, my students have been composing text-dependent writings all year I believe they needs some instruction on how to be successful on this assessment. Based on some suggestions from a fellow teacher who also happens to be my daughter, I am going to begin with these activities.
a. I have divided the rubric for the assessment into its sixteen parts. Students will be given one part and asked to find the three other sections that match their category and share out their observations.
b. Students will conduct a close reading of the language of the rubric, annotate unfamiliar words, locate the definitions of those words, and then paraphrase so that they understand better what is expected of them.
c. Students will conduct a close reading of a sample prompt and directions for writing an analytical summary, annotating for key ideas. I will ask several text-dependent questions so assess understanding.
What is the difference between a summary and an analytical summary?
What are central ideas?
What practices will prevent an adequate score?
What is the best way to cite the text?
d. Students will assess an exemplar of an analytical summary using the TCAP Writing rubric.
e. Students will write an analytical summary on how to write an analytical summary.
Of course these are just plans. I look forward to how it plays out.