Preparing for the State Writing Assessment

Preparing for the State Writing Assessment

Many teachers have heard my spiel on the Test Lady™, the woman who scores the state prompt writings. Giving students a person or audience to write to is more motivating than if they think their writing will be scored by a machine. This is what prompted me to invent the Test Lady™--the old lady who reads and scores the state writing prompts. Students are more apt to try harder on this assessment, be more specific, and provide more detail when there is a live person on the other end of the writing.

Some of you have even gone so far as to have students create portraits of what they think the Test Lady™ looks like.

But for those of you looking for something additional to pump up your students before the big test, you might want to corral your colleagues and put on a "show" for students. During the 2010 Literacy Retreat, the Smekens Education consultants and staff participated in a Test Lady™ Style Show. As the Test Lady™ Sisters were introduced one by one, they walked up a center aisle as if they were models on a runway. More than just looking "old," these Test Ladies™ each represented an essential component in strong prompt writing. Their demeanor, clothing, props, and/or accessories mirrored their favorite parts of good writing.

Not only do students need to know there is a person reading their prompt writing, they also should know what the scorer is looking for. You can download the description of each "sister" that was read as they walked down the runway. Could you imagine the impression you'd make on your students if they saw you dressed up as one of the Test Lady™ Sisters?

Ever since Kristina Smekens introduced the idea of a Test Lady™, signs of that lady's true identity have been popping up all over. Visit the following links for more ideas about how to introduce the Test Lady™.



During the 2010 Smekens Literacy Retreat, Kristina Smekens introduced a Test Lady™ Skit that included members of the Smekens staff portraying the Test Lady Sisters. As the Test Lady™ Sisters were introduced during the skit, they walked up a center aisle as if they were models. [Read more.]

To inspire success and minimize the anxiety that comes with standardized testing, teacher Rachel Crabb invited her Smith Elementary (Martinsville, IN) fifth graders to a Test Prep Niner Diner! In her classroom, Rachel compared a well-written prompt response to a delicious meal. [Read more.]

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