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state writing test for 4th
Old 12-27-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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Has anyone given their state writing test yet? I was curious as to when it occurs in various states and if there's a particular genre that's common for all.
In CA we can have narrative (personal or creative), response to literature, summaries, or research (how this one would happen is beyond me!) All this needs to be mastered by the first week in March.
Considering this age group struggles with writing to begin with, I'm really frustrated with trying to prepare them for the various genres.
Would anyone be willing to share their insight?


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Old 12-27-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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I'm in CA also. Starting after the break, my 4th graders no longer have weekly spelling works, they have weekly writing assignments. It is very structured, completing most in class in January, then more independent in February.
Mon - intro topic, talk about it
Tues - graphic organizer (finish for HW if not done)
Wed - check all organizers (stamp to show finished on time), brainstorm intro sentences & organizing
Thurs - writing/peer edit time
Friday- share with class, collect for grading

I rotate through the different writing genres. Every two weeks we do an in-class practice, rotating through the topics.

FYI, they get two grades on their papers - writing structure & spelling

I'm bummed they brought back the writing test this year. It was nice not dealing with it last year.
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NC writing test
Old 12-27-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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NC did away with the 1x writing test (we used to give it in March).

Now they have decided that we do 4 writings - 2 content (which show the writing process and are done over a period of time) and 2 on demand personal and imaginative).

However, the state decided that instead of paying the panel to score them once a year now all 4th grade teachers have to sit around and score them after school and put them in a system that delivers the scores to the state.

Brillant Idea....only to save money and waste teachers time!
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NC writing test
Old 12-27-2010, 07:50 PM
 
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I also teach in NC. We used to grade our own personal or imaginative narratives and then another teacher also graded them. This year we have different admin. and we don't get to grade them at all. We were told that two other teachers had to grade them. How do you do this at your school?

We grade our content-specific for content only and another teacher grades for conventions.

We use a template to keep up with all the scores. One is for narratives and the other template is for content-specific.

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MS State Writing Tests
Old 12-27-2010, 08:28 PM
 
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I agree with you regarding the struggles this age group has with writing. Even older students struggle with writing on demand. I too struggle with getting my students proficient for April. So, I am eager to hear suggestions too.


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Schedule for weekly writing
Old 12-27-2010, 08:33 PM
 
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Response to Deb4kids:

I love your ideas, but I have one question. Does it take up a lot of time? Your schedule? My kids take so much time to write one paragraph and I do not want the other subject areas to suffer. Any suggestions on materials or resources? Thank you.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:31 PM
 
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It will take a while the first couple of weeks. Week 1 and 2 we do it nearly all whole class each day, with me at the document camera and lots of think-pair-share. I would guess about 30 minutes each day, though some days faster (talking about topic, brainstorming intros, Friday share). To help, the topics relate to topics we are studying or strategies we are learning. It is not quick, but to compensate I heavily push reading (strategies, comprehension, etc) Early in the year so I can focus on writing after the break.
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FL does a test too
Old 12-28-2010, 06:10 AM
 
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We do a 1x state writing test in 4th.
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Il
Old 12-28-2010, 07:28 AM
 
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No writing this year on state testing for any grade level. Go figure!
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grading
Old 12-28-2010, 11:10 AM
 
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Deb4kids, how do you keep up with grading all those writing assignments??? Do you have a standard rubric that you could share? This is the part of teaching writing that gives me the most stress, finding time to grade everything!


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MI writing in 4th and 7th grades
Old 12-28-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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Try getting your student's ready for testing in Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, Grammar, Math and Writing by the middle of October each year. That is when we take our state test. We have 5 to 6 weeks from day one of school starting.
We have two types of writing one is narrative with the topic given on the test, and the other is student response, improving a student written piece that is provided by the state. They are both terrible.
Then throughout the entire test there are short answer questions.
Think about it, 12-15 weeks with no school (Summer Break) and then 5 weeks to get the kids in shape to take the state test. No time to get to know your kids or set boundaries. It is more a dictatorship until after the end of October when testing is done.
This coming fall they are going to be using these state test scores as a major part of our yearly teacher evaluation. You could be fired if your scores are not proficient. Our union contract is useless when it comes to the evaluations. We used to be evaluated every 3 years if you were a tenured teacher, and now we must be evaluated every year, plus there is merit pay involved.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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Mindfull, you've got to be kidding! State test in October! Are you giving your grade level test or the test for the previous grade level? Years ago when we took the Stanford 9 at the beginning of the year, 4th grade actually took the 3rd grade end of year test. We got results back quickly and knew what the children had mastered from 3rd grade.

I suspect the days of merit pay tied to the test are coming for all of us no matter where you teach.
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It is
Old 12-28-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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a little of both. Mostly 3rd grade stuff that the teachers never get too. We don't get our results until January-March. Anytime between these months. It is horrible because it does not drive our instruction or give us information about these students we need. I can look at 3rd grade MEAP but they don't do writing at all, and there is a drastic gap between what second graders do and are tested on and what 3rd graders do and are tested on. Our school is working on getting a smoother transition going between grades so they are prepared for the test in October. We are looking on things that absolutely cannot be skipped and what things can be gone over more quickly.
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I'm frustrated too!
Old 12-28-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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I'm in CA also. We were told that it would be a personal narrative, response to literature, or a summary. Nobody mentioned research. We were given a series of "mini lessons" to teach. They start with shared writing using graphic organizers. Then kids progress, step by step, until they write on their own. This is going to be very time consuming, so we've dropped spelling, and will probably have a few "writing workshop" mornings. It seems like teaching them to write a beginning, an ending, and also to create a flow map will help with whatever genre they get. Since this is my first year teaching fourth grade, I'm mostly just keeping my fingers crossed.
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CA writing test mini lessons
Old 12-29-2010, 11:34 AM
 
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Any way you can post the mini lessons?
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Posting Mini Leaaons
Old 12-29-2010, 05:34 PM
 
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Sorry I can't post them, because they're copyrighted from the Write From the Beginning writing program. Maybe see if they have a TE on Amazon? If you can't find it, you could backwards plan mini lessons. Just go through the writing process steps, breaking each step down to two or three days. Start whole group and use graphhic organizers. Then model the process again, and let them fill in their own graphic organizers. I have low kids so I put sentence frames into the organizers. It's more direct instruction than I like, but we've had good results in when I taught third. So far, it's worked for fourth, too.

Hope that helps.
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California?
Old 12-29-2010, 05:39 PM
 
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I thought that the 4th grade writing test was dropped due to lack of funding.

Is it back this year?

From the CDE
Elimination of Grade Four Writing Assessment

The CST for Writing (the writing component of the CST for English–Language Arts [ELA]), and the CMA for Writing (the writing component of the CMA for ELA) will not be administered to students in grade four in the 2009-10 school year. The elimination of the writing task will have no effect on students' achievement of proficiency because the CST for ELA in grade four and the CMA for ELA in grade four will be scaled and equated on the basis of the multiple-choice questions only.

Please note that the CST for Writing and the CMA for Writing will continue to be administered in grade seven. Next spring’s administration of those tests in grade seven will be on Tuesday, March 2, 2010, with makeup testing on Wednesday, March 3, 2010. For schools, programs, and tracks that are not in session during the March dates, the administration will be on Tuesday, May 4, 2010, with makeup testing on Wednesday, May 5, 2010.
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to luvmycat
Old 12-29-2010, 06:57 PM
 
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It is back this year, the 1st paragraph you posted said 09-10 school year, this is the 10/11 school year.....so yes it is back on and is scheduled like your second paragraph said for the 1st week of March.

Good Luck to all...it is crazy how much they are required to do by March!
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We're preparing for it in CA- Gr. 4
Old 12-29-2010, 07:06 PM
 
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Quote:
The CST for Writing (the writing component of the CST for English–Language Arts [ELA]), and the CMA for Writing (the writing component of the CMA for ELA) will not be administered to students in grade four in the 2009-10 school year...Next spring’s administration of those tests in grade seven will be on Tuesday, March 2, 2010, with makeup testing on Wednesday, March 3, 2010. For schools, programs, and tracks that are not in session during the March dates, the administration will be on Tuesday, May 4, 2010, with makeup testing on Wednesday, May 5, 2010.
I deleted lots of the information, but just wanted to point out that none of the quoted info refers to the 2010-2011 school year.

As far as we've been informed, our school has ordered the tests and we are expecting to administer the 4th grade CST Writing portion in March, 2011.
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Old 12-29-2010, 07:10 PM
 
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In response to query about grading time:
On Wed, I just stamp the organizer complete.
On Fri, I grade using 4 pt rubric (students have copy). It takes a while, but I try to get most done while kids are working in the computer lab. I may have to finish on the weekend, but it's goes pretty fast. Sudents get just the number on their paper and couple of +\- listed
On Mon, before introducing the new topic, I pass back previous week essay and mention generalizations of pluses and things to work on.
I suggest starting with making them write a paragraph (5 to 7 sentences) and then move on to longer. It let's both of you ease into it!
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Writing Test
Old 12-30-2010, 08:31 AM
 
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In TX, we take a writing test in the beginning of March also. I spend the first half of the year just on good writing. We loosely use Lucy Calkin's writing program. Once we come back from the holidays, we'll narrow our focus more. Responding to prompts, writing a good beginning/middle/end. That sort of stuff. We have to write a personal narrative. BUT next year, they will have to write two different pieces. Ug.

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Old 12-30-2010, 10:08 AM
 
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Don't you think 4th grade is way to early to test them in writing???? They are just beginning to get a handle on how to do it. It just seems way too early, but it seems like every state does it. I wonder if this will be the case when the core standards are adopted?
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:43 PM
 
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I do think it is young, but as long as the grading is reasonable, it's not too bad. I don't have faith in the CA testing that it's calibrated to meet the needs of all students, especially ELLs. I had a big jump in students passing the CST last year, and I think the lack of writing test definitely helped the scores.
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Tests
Old 12-30-2010, 05:03 PM
 
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I am in N.Y. and we went from testing in January (ELA) and March (math) Oh and lets add in science in May, to the last week of April and first week in May.
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Mystery prompt
Old 12-31-2010, 08:16 AM
 
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Up until last year Florida would issue it's writing test in February and no one would know what type of prompt (narrative or expository) each student would recieve. This past year they changed from two scorers to one scorer and gave the same type of prompt to everyone. It was a narrative and the students did very well. This year the test is pushed to March and will again be only one prompt for all students state wide. I feel like it will be expository and somewhat dreed that because my students don't write to an expository prompt as well. I am going back next week on a mission to build their understanding of writing to an expository prompt by using several mini lessons on how to include sentence extentions and elaborations when writing to explain. They have no trouble doing this in a narrative and feel very comfortable, but fail to insert these things into an expository response. We will see!!!!!
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I'm in TX too
Old 01-02-2011, 07:01 PM
 
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I'm stressed out because this is my first year to teach fourth grade and I've never had any training in writing before. I have no idea how the TAKS writing is graded, or what I'm really supposed to be teaching the kids to do with writing. There is no training available right now specifically for this test because this is the last year we will be using TAKS, we'll be going to STAR instead. Crazy! I'm really praying that I'm doing what I need to in class. It is so hard to get them to write a paragraph, getting them to write a 2 page narrative by the first week in March? It'll be a miracle.
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Yes, testing in CA this year
Old 01-03-2011, 06:14 PM
 
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Standardized Testing and
Reporting (STAR) Program
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Jack O’Connell, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Program Update
Sacramento — September 21, 2010
Ontario — September 28, 2010

Returning for 2011
•
California Standards Test (CST)

– Writing for grade four
•
CMA

4
– Writing for grade four
Administered:
– Tuesday, March 1, 2011
– Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So it looks like it's back on....sigh.
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re: teaching expository
Old 01-04-2011, 05:06 PM
 
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I wish we had a crystal ball to tell us what genre. fyi-I've used Judy Gould's 4 square method for writing to teach expository. It works very well for organizing ideas. It's very easy to teach and easy for kids to understand.

I'm curious as to why you think it'll be expository. In past years I've seen summaries of nonfiction and response to literature as well. Both of these required reading comprehension skills. This created problems because if a kid had trouble comprehending, they definitely couldn't write about it. I thought the state may have finally realized this because for the following 2 years we saw a narrative prompt. Obviously this didn't requre reading skills, and (I thought) it focused on assessing writing ability.
If there's anything I learned, it's this: the state has no clue what they are doing, and it's foolish for me to second guess them. I say focus on fine-tuning organization of ideas, sentence fluency and conventions. Throw various prompts at them so they've seen a variety prior to the test, and build their stamina! They need to be able to sit and focus on the task (to completion).
Good luck to all of us!
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In TX too
Old 01-06-2011, 02:40 PM
 
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Our's is the 1st of March this year. We use Dr. Petri's Roadmap for our writing program. It's really great!!
We've done mini lessons up through now and are really hitting what she calls 10 day process papers to get them really thinking it through from start to finish.
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