The writing assessment for grade three consists of teacher evaluation of student writing using an analytic scoring system. The Grade 3 Assessment and Instructional Guide contains the scoring rubric; types of writing required by the GPS (narrative, informational, persuasive and response to literature); good practices for the instruction of writing; sample student papers; and ways to evaluate student writing. Using representative samples of student writing, third-grade teachers are to use the analytic scoring rubrics in the Guide to determine the performance levels in each domain for each child in the classroom. Teachers collect writing samples by providing many opportunities for students to produce the various types of writing throughout the year.
Types of Writing
The Georgia Grade Three Writing Assessment covers four types of writing: narrative, informational, persuasive, and response to literature.
- Relating Personal Experience-Writing assignments should direct students to recount an event grounded in their own experiences. The assignment should elicit a story with a plot and characters rather than a list.
- Creating an Imaginative Story-Writing Assignments should direct students to produce stories that are grounded in imagination or fantasy.
- Writing Assignments may be related to all content areas specified in the Grade 3 GPS and may be produced during content area instruction.
- Writing assignments may be related to any type of non-fiction writing whose purpose is to inform or explain a topic to a reader.
- Students should incorporate information from resources (books, on-line sources, etc.) without copying the information verbatim.
- Paraphrasing information and using technical vocabulary from source material is appropriate for the informational assessment sample.
- For example, the informational samples collected for this guide on the topic of minerals may use technical vocabulary such as igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary rocks.
- The writing assignment should direct students to take a position on an issue or topic that they are familiar with.
- The assignment may occur after the class has researched the issue or read related texts.
- The assignment may be part of a lesson on the issue in a particular content area
- Response to Literature
- The assignment should direct students to form and support a position in response to a text they have read.
- The assignment should be linked to a specific piece of literature (short stories, biographies, fables, plays, poetry, and chapter books).
- Plot summaries or the retelling of an entire story are not appropriate responses to literature.
Analytic and Holistic Scoring
The scoring system is analytic. Analytic scoring means that more than one feature or domain of a paper is evaluated. Each domain itself is scored holistically. The score assigned indicates the test raters’ overall impression of the writer’s command of the components, using predetermined scoring criteria contained in the Scoring Rubrics. Accurate scoring requires balancing a writer’s strengths and areas of challenge.
Student writing will be assessed analytically in four domains: Ideas, Organization, Style, and Conventions. Analytic scoring will provide detailed information on student writing including performance levels.
Because writing assessment at grade three is an outgrowth of the writing instruction program, each elementary school or system should develop a plan at the beginning of the school year for teaching the four genres of writing and collecting assessment samples.
- There is no “correct” order for teaching the writing genres in a school year.
- Teachers may choose to teach all four genres of writing throughout the school year or teachers may choose to teach each genre at a particular time in the school year.
- Some school systems integrate Response to Literature into the Reading Workshop curriculum and teach it throughout the school year simultaneously with the other three genres.
- The writing process should be taught throughout the third grade year, regardless of the order in which the genres are taught. The steps of the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) should be taught throughout the year, because third graders may not have fully learned this process and will need help applying each stage of the process to each genre of writing. For each genre, teachers should model the steps of the writing process, providing assistance and conferencing at each step.
- Writing samples produced with the teacher’s assistance are appropriate for instruction, but should not be used as assessment samples.
- The assessment sample is the piece of writing that the teacher selects for the Grade 3 Writing Assessment. Teachers must select one assessment sample per genre for each student. After each genre unit - in which students practice the steps in the writing process - is completed, the teacher gives a writing assignment for the purpose of collecting the assessment sample.
- Assessment samples should demonstrate what the student has learned to apply, independently, about the writing process.
- During the course of effective instruction, the teacher may provide guidance and feedback that the students copy into their writing as they are learning to edit and revise. This type of assistance, while appropriate for instruction in the writing process, is not appropriate for collecting assessment samples as it would not demonstrate writing the student is capable of producing independently.
- Because the writing performance levels for each grade 3 student will be passed on to the grade 4 teachers for instructional planning, it is essential that the assessment samples reflect what students can do independently.
- Using writing prompt is an option for collecting assessment samples, but any classroom assignment that allows each student to demonstrate understanding of the writing process in that genre is appropriate.
During the last two weeks of March, teachers review the Student Writing Record and complete the Teacher Summary Report. Writing samples may be included in the student’s permanent record.
Scoring Procedures and Types of Scores
For each student in the class, teachers should assemble multiple samples of writing that have been collected from a variety of classroom writing activities. At least one representative writing sample for each of the four types of writing should be collected. The scoring rubrics are to be applied with the same latitude and the same rigor to all four types. Teachers should rate the samples individually to determine the performance level which best represents a student’s usual performance across a variety of writing tasks and types of writing. There are three performance levels represented: Does Not Meet, Meets, and Exceeds.
Student Writing Record forms identifying each student's performance level in each genre and domain are completed by the classroom teacher. Individual student reports--one copy to be given to parent(s)/guardian(s) and one copy to be retained in the student's permanent record—are also included in reporting. The teacher also completes a summary report for the class. Beginning in 2011 – 2012, this report will be completed using a web-based application. School and system summary reports will be furnished to systems. The scoring rubrics and writing samples may be retained and forwarded to the grade four teachers.