6-14-15 #oklaed Chat: Teaching and Assessing Writing
6-13-15 #oklaed Chat: Teaching and Assessing Writing
I don’t want to spend much time talking about the fact that for the second straight year, Oklahoma’s fifth and eighth grade writing assessments won’t be used in calculating the A-F report cards. I was appreciative when Superintendent Hofmeister made the decision to throw the scores out, although there was a small amount of backlash from her usual critics.
How much did we spend on that test?
I don’t know. How much did you spend on the food that went bad in your fridge during the last 12 months? Just because you spent the money doesn’t mean you have to eat the rancid cheese. It will make you sick, for crying out loud!
To me, this sequence of events highlights the Legislature’s failure to act in any meaningful way to deal with education issues during the 2015 session. They’ve ordered the SDE to study the A-F Report Cards. Meanwhile, we’ll still receive them.
They also put off the elimination of any state tests until the new math and English/language arts standards are in place. I can see the logic there, to an extent. On the other hand, I don’t care what standards we have in place; the writing tests we currently give students have always been – and will always be – a complete waste of money. I also – as you might have gathered last year – have a complete lack of faith in the ability of the testing industry to assess student writing ability.
That’s enough about that. As I have mentioned before, I became a teacher because of my love of writing.
Even now, as an adjunct professor, my favorite part of teaching is reading what my students write. I have strong opinions on writing instruction by the language arts teachers, but I also have strong opinions about other teachers’ expectations for student writing. Some of the best writing instruction I received in high school was from my tenth-grade U.S. History teacher, who I seriously underappreciated at the time.
The ability to write effectively is a key to unlocking more doors as adults. Dare I say that it’s critical to college and career readiness? Maybe I should change it to what Tyler Bridges suggested yesterday: future ready.
With that in mind, Sunday night’s #oklaed chat, which I will be hosting, is over the instruction and assessment of writing. Below is a preview of the questions; the first one is huge and will likely require follow-up discussion.
Q1: How should writing instruction look at the various grade levels?
Q2: Should writing expectations vary from subject to subject in school?
Q3: How has writing instruction changed as a result of technology?
Q4: What mode of writing (descriptive, informative, narrative, persuasive/argumentative) is most critical for students to learn?
Q5: How could blogging or tweeting be used in the classroom?
Q6: What is the best way to provide grammar instruction to students in order to improve writing?
Q7: Should writing and reading be taught as a combined discipline or two separate subjects?
Q8: What would it take for a state writing assessment to mean something to students, teachers, and parents?
See you on Twitter Sunday night at 8:00! Remember to use the #oklaed hashtag with all of your responses.