swimming in chaos, Suzanne
Thanks for joining me for the second half of my six weeks of craziness. If you're totally lost, click here to read Part I. Let's continue...
WHAT DID YOU LEARN?!?!
So many things! This necessitates bullet points in no particular order.
-There is no hard and fast ticket to success or failure. I know that lots of people are 5 paragraph essay haters, but if that's what a kid feels is best, that's okay! I spent a lot more time thinking about the ideas presented than the organization. Now I'm not downplaying organization. It is just more of a consideration in determining a 3 from a 4, a 2 from a 1 versus high/low.
-Narrow and deep- This phrase popped up all over the place. Good writing is narrow and deep. A student can be awarded more points for one well developed reason that two less-specific reasons. Another cutesy way they put it- the 3 Cs: clear, concise, controlled. This really is the money shot! It's not something I didn't know going in. It just helped to see it in play, and after 2000 essays, I've seen it.
-A 3 is teachable. If they were to release the distribution of scores, I bet it would look something like this:
Most students are not scoring a 1. A 1 does not answer the prompt/develop any point. It is broken English and/or has no conventions. A rambling fortune cookie paper is a 1.
In a 2, the student does what the teacher taught them. Period. That is all and that is the spirit in which it is done. It somewhat develops obvious examples. Sentence structure is basic. There is nothing fancy, nothing personal about this paper. They did it because they had to.
Good news- a 3 is teachable! There is some bit of sparkle in a 3. The student does something creative or personal- extended metaphor, humor, personal example is well described and connected back... You see some glimpse of the student in this paper, not just the teacher.
A 4 is masterful. Really, it's a wow-er. The student chooses unique examples and develop them well. The vocabulary is advanced. A 4 is really, really hard to teach. It is the product of lots of reading- where students have been exposed to creative devices and complex structures and feel confident enough to try them on their own.
WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN?!?!
Yes but no. I was fearful that I would be miserable in this process, but I wasn't. The essays were interesting. Kids are funny and talented! I was also interested to see little things that they did in their writing and how it paid off in their score. And who doesn't hate starting the summer with a little extra cash in their pocket?!
My no come from the time commitment. That was 110% the hardest part. You have to commit to at least 20 hours per week. In the last 2ish months of school while you are interviewing for positions (more on that later), twenty hours is not easy to come by.
If you're interested in scoring, click here. I know that Pearson lost a lot of their bid for future STAAR testing, but they score for lots of tests including SAT. Want more information, don't hesitate to email and ask away!