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A great deal has been written—and continues to be written almost daily—about implementing classroom instruction that promotes the skills and knowledge called for in the CCSS/ELA.
Suppose you are a student taking one of the new assessments that have been developed to measure attainment of the Common Core State Standards for the English Language Arts (CCSS/ELA).
After reading a text about a baseball-loving girl and her grandmother, you look at the questions you are to answer.
And, if you are a typical student, this assessment may be the first time that you have been required to respond to a task by doing little more than filling in a bubble.
Needless to say, if you are a typical student, responding successfully to such a task might prove daunting.
It is also similar to a format found on the end-of-year assessment tasks used by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
These tasks, open-ended questions as well as research simulations (often described as performance assessments), require students to construct their own responses rather than select them from a set of given possibilities.Often these mistakes reflect lack of attention to the specifics of the task and lack of completeness in responding.Common mistakes that students make in their responses include the following: The first three problems indicate that close reading is a skill applicable not only to how students must read the stimulus text, but also to how they must read a question and think about what it requires them to do.This attention to understanding the verbs of questions is useful for almost all students, but it is critical for English language learners.The final two mistakes made by students in their responses, as noted above, are largely conceptual shortcomings that will be discussed in the following section.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.Some lessons on these verb differences and on how to respond to questions that contain each can help students in their careful reading of tasks and successful construction of responses.Students also need practice responding to questions with different verbs and discussing how their responses reflect the verbs’ intent.What can teachers do to prepare students for this more rigorous form of testing?How can teachers help students pinpoint the heart of open-ended questions to give the best response?