As Common Core standards require students to write extensively across the curriculum, more districts are using automated assessment tools to save teachers time and give students immediate analysis.
The biggest changes in reading instruction center on embedding literacy across all subjects. Engineering concepts, for example, can be used to break down the plots of stories and analyze characters. And ESL specialists should collaborate with subject teachers to align instruction so students are learning the same words and concepts.
A living, breathing teacher is the best tool to assess a written essay.
However, DA found a few tools that can do almost the same job, pointing out narrative, organization and purpose of an essay. We used an authentic essay that a fifth-grade girl in Connecticut wrote about her very big mastiff dog named Bam Bam.
And two tools, PEG Writing and ETS’ E-Rater, were able to assess the same essay separately.
Here is the original essay:
Some vendors have developed tech tools that will solve the challenges of teaching and assessing student writing effectively. We asked several experts to share their thoughts about writing assessment concerns and how administrators can address those issues. Here’s what they had to say:
Computer adaptive tests (CAT) are really growing in
popularity. With an adaptive model, which technology
clearly facilitates, great efficiencies are gained.
Mississippi district addresses new writing expectations and sees improvement in both writing skills and instruction
Improving the writing skills of all 6,500 students emerged as a top priority for the administrators of Mississippi’s Gulfport School District beginning in fall 2014. “We needed a resource that addressed the rigorous writing requirements of the Common Core, as well as one that would allow educators to teach writing in a systematic way,” says Patty Cooper, ELA Curriculum Specialist for Gulfport.
Close reading is a popular term today in elementary literacy classrooms and a requirement in the Common Core ELA standards in order to ensure students are college- and career- ready. It enables students to independently comprehend increasingly challenging texts. Students need to develop the habits of mind and the skills necessary to unpack the deep, embedded meanings found in complex, challenging texts on their own.
An increasing number of educators are understanding that to implement a successful digital conversion, rather than focusing solely on providing access to technology, administrators must focus instead on creating personalized learning outcomes that are the result of more effective digital teaching strategies.
Students today are innately comfortable with digital tools, and one way to enable personalized literacy instruction is through these tools. Close-reading techniques, student-submitted writing responses to book-specific prompts and other practices are made possible through a new digital platform.