The skills and knowledge that underlie understanding the expectations of and writing responses to higher-level questions are not simply test-taking abilities.
Rather they are skills and dispositions that apply to both demonstrating achievement on the assessments and, more importantly, to effective information processing in the 21st century.
Rarely do state assessments (and even more rarely commercial publishers’ norm-referenced tests) require students to write even a phrase or a sentence or two in response to questions, much less an entire paragraph.
They might write answers to some questions in core reading materials.
Focusing on open-ended tasks (future issues of identifies the skills and knowledge that students will need if they are to achieve success on the new CCSS/ELA-related assessments and offers ideas for ways that teachers can develop these skills and understandings.
The three main goals of this article are: As of early 2014, most American students are not accustomed to writing extended responses for assessment questions.
Here is what you see: This task is an example of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s (SBAC) tasks for grades 3–5.
It is illustrative of a task format thousands of students will encounter when they take that assessment in the fall of 2014.
The new 2015–2016 assessments written by Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers both heavily feature questions that require students to provide evidence for their reply.
This is a dramatic departure from simple multiple-choice questions where student can guess the best response if they are unsure of the answer.