If timing is everything, then it is of great importance to know how much time to allot for the different components involved in the state writing assessment. What skills are involved in each part of the process? Is it possible to pinpoint specific skills?

Piece of the Process

When preparing students for state assessments, it’s important to remember all the different pieces involved in the process of the test. Try practicing the timed components of prompt writing. Spread these practice days out. Use them between units to allow practice throughout the year. Then, before game day, provide students a one-sitting practice with all the components combined just like they will encounter on the test.

  • Practice pre-writing to different prompts. Have students pre-write with one condition: they have to pre-write to each prompt for 5-10 minutes–no more time, no less. Collect the pre-writes to use for another day’s practice.
  • Spend concentrated time on the meaty part of the process. Using the pre-writes completed previously and ask students to write a first draft for one. Have students write for at least 20-30 minutes. Younger grades should try for 10-15 minutes. Increase this amount on additional days of practice. Pick up the first drafts.
  • Hand out one first draft per student and ask them to spend 5-10 minutes revising and proofreading. Before or after trying this, provide mini-lessons on acceptable revision and proofreading strategies for the test-writing genre…but that’s another day’s posting!

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