Ch. 6 Written Response Assessment

When it comes to written response, I am glad I teach math.  😛  Assessing a student’s content knowledge through a written response is only possible when it is well done.  This is when their answer gives enough information to assess their understanding.  Although math leaves little room for ambiguity, I still remind the students to always ‘show’ their work and their thinking so that I can see what they did to arrive at an answer.  This helps me to assess their thought process and pinpoint where they went awry, if their answer is incorrect.

There are three main types of written response:

Short answer items:

  • Require a brief response
  • Have one or limited range of possible right answers
  • Can be used for knowledge and some reasoning targets

Extended Written Response Items:

  • Require a response that is at least several sentences in length
  • Have a greater number of possible correct or acceptable answers
  • Can be used for knowledge and reasoning targets

Interpretive Items:

  • Can be either short answer or extended response in format
  • Knowledge provided; students demonstrate reasoning
  • Used for reasoning targets

Another great resource given in the chapter is how to score the answers for a written response.  There are three ways to score the response:  lists, general rubric, and specific rubric.

With lists, you can list out the specifics of what you’re looking for in an answer and even assign certain points for scoring.

General rubric gives an overview of what the assessor is looking for in an answer.  An example of this would be the ones used for 6+1 writing traits.  It presents the traits the assessor is looking for and allows the assessor to be transparent about the scores given.  Also, with a generic rubric, since it is not specific, it can be given out to the students before the actual assessment.

Specific rubric is only specific to a certain task or even just one assessment question.  It gives a clear map of what the student should have in their answer.

Each chapter recommends this but I will mention it in this post.  For each write-up of assessment, it is recommended that the teacher trial it before using the assessment material.  Also, it is helpful to make notes of student questions during the test or if a question was not effective in assessing student learning.  Each assessment should be revised and improved so that we can arrive at the most effective assessment material.

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