GHAWP…so far The TAKS, Ma’am Just the TAKS Scoring High on the Short Answer Questions Presenter Connie W. Stewart Secondary Coordinator of Curriculum & Instruction Galveston Independent School District July 2005 Complaint: “All you teach is TAKS” Response: We sure hope so! TEKS THE curriculum in both foundation & enrichment subjects taught in Texas Public Schools TAKS EVALUATES how well students have mastered the TEKS (curriculum) Our objective for today is “the other half” of the test TEKS Objective 1 – The student will demonstrate a basic understanding of culturally diverse written texts. Objective 2 – The student will demonstrate an understanding of the effects of Literary Elements and Techniques in culturally diverse written texts. Objective 3 – The student will demonstrate the ability to analyze and critically evaluate culturally diverse written texts and visual representations. Reference: Grade 9 TAKS Study Guide, Texas Education Agency, 2003. Begin with the end in mind… Steven Covey Children of Poverty Ruby Payne (1996) states that children of poverty need to see visual representations and graphic organizers to identify main concepts, assign specific labels to concepts and sort relevant and nonrelevant cues. Standardized Testing Why DO we have it? …and how has it changed? BLOOM’S & TEXAS TESTING 1979 TABS (Texas Assessment of Basic Skills) Level of Questioning = Knowledge with some Comprehension 1984 TEAMS (Texas Educational Assessment of Minimum Skills) Level of Questioning = Knowledge, Comprehension with some Application) 1990 TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills) Level of Questioning = Comprehension, Application with some Knowledge &Analysis 1999 TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge & Skills) Level of Questioning = Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation with some Knowledge, Comprehension & Applications (Actual implementation for accountability Spring 2003) Is it really that different from TAAS? After extensive comparative study of the high school level TAAS vs. TAKS, Kilgo (2004) stated that of the 35 TEKS eligible to be tested on TAKS, 24 were NOT a part of TAAS. Let’s look at TAKS & Bloom’s from a literary point of view Goldilocks How Goldilocks and the Three Bears would have been tested 1979 TABS Knowledge Level – What things did Goldilocks do in the three bears’ house? 1984 TEAMS Comprehension Level – Why did she like the baby bear’s things best? 1990 TAAS Application Level – If Goldilocks came to your house today, what things might she do? Analysis Level: What things in the story could really have happened? Explain why or why not Synthesis Level: Re-tell the story as it would be if it were called “Goldilocks and the Three Fishes.” Evaluation Level: Do you think it was right for Goldilocks to go into the three bears’ house without having been invited? Why or why not? OK, I see the need to talk about levels of thinking… Is it easy to distinguish the Bloom’s level of questions when it isn’t a fairy tale? Let’s give it a try………….. THE ANSWERS Knowledge: What was the date of the bombing at Pearl Harbor? Comprehension: Why did the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor? Application: If you had been responsible for the defense of the Hawaiian Islands, what preparation would you have made to defend them? Analysis: What lessons did our country learn from Pearl Harbor? Synthesis: Re-tell the story of Pearl Harbor assuming the United States armed forces had been ready for the attack. Evaluation: Do you feel that the bombing of Pearl Harbor has any effect on Japanese-American relations today? Give reasons for your answer. Good Grief!! Does this woman really think that I’m going to spend hours thinking up questions for every piece of literature at each of the Bloom’s Levels for my English I Class??? Let’s try it again DUSTING By Julia Alvarez Each morning I wrote my name on the dusty cabinet, then crossed the dining table in script, scrawled in capitals on the backs of chairs, practicing signatures like scales while Mother followed, squirting linseed from a burping can into a crumpled-up flannel. She erased my fingerprints from the bookshelf and rockers, polished mirrors on the desk scribbled with my alphabets. My name was swallowed up in the towel with which she jeweled the table tops. The grain surfaced in the oak and the pine grew luminous. But I refused with every mark To be like her, anonymous. Question: What is this poem about? Levels of Questions An Easier Way Level One: Level One questions can be answered using facts in the text or easily accessible information in other texts. They are fact-based. [equal to Knowledge Level of Bloom’s] Let’s call this a BOOK question as the answer can be found “in the book.” e.g. What household task is Mother performing in the poem? Level Two: Level Two questions can be answered after interpreting or analyzing the text. They are inference-based. [equal to Comprehension, Application, and/or Analysis Level of Bloom’s] Let’s call this a BRAIN question as the answer is based on a fact “in the book” but requires using the brain to interpret and infer. e.g. Why does the speaker continue to write her name in the dust? Level Three: Level Three questions are open-ended. They ask you to go beyond the text. These questions will provoke discussion of an abstract idea or issue. [equal to Analysis, Synthesis or Evaluation Level of Bloom’s] Lets call this a THINKING BRAIN question as it requires the thinker to evaluate the reading piece and go beyond it within the brain. e.g. Why is it important to some people to “make their mark” on the world? Reference: Hammett, Beth, GHAWP Open Institute 2004 The TAKS Short-Answer Questions …are equal to the Level TWO and Level THREE questions ………. with the majority being at Level THREE OK………I GET IT!! When I ask questions in class that I want the students to answer in writing, I’ll try to make sure they are Level Two and Level Three Let’s look at Pearl Harbor again for a little extra practice Which ones fit level 2 & 3? Knowledge: What was the date of the bombing at Pearl Harbor? Comprehension: Why did the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor? Application: If you had been responsible for the defense of the Hawaiian Islands, what preparation would you have made to defend them? Analysis: What lessons did our country learn from Pearl Harbor? Synthesis: Re-tell the story of Pearl Harbor assuming the United States armed forces had been ready for the attack. Evaluation: Do you feel that the bombing of Pearl Harbor has any effect on Japanese-American relations today? Give reasons for your answer. Are we ready to write? NO! WAIT………. I need to know how this is going to be graded ! What form of response do you want? What do the TAKS scorers expect? The TAKS essay The TAKS essay measures the student’s craft of writing as it relates to the question at hand. Audience, Purpose and Voice are extremely important. On TAKS, the writer who “stretches” and risks combining purposes and types is more likely to score high on the essay. For Example: If a student chooses to write an expressive piece using a personal narrative, the “stretch” would be using that personal narrative to teach a lesson (persuade or inform) or to use it to entertain the reader (great voice) or a combination of all of the above. Applebee (1978)stated that expressive writing linked with the narrative mode is the “very heart” of all types of writing. The Open-Ended response Conversely – The open-ended question measures the student’s ability to read, comprehend, think through, make connections and extend an idea from the reading. It is informative writing – NO VOICE. Begin with the end in mind… If we really want our students to write solid 2’s on the open-ended questions, then we need to teach them how their audience is going to score. …and they need to practice OFTEN!! The secret is out The TAKS scorers expect the answer to contain certain characteristics AND for all the sentences to be compound or better. The characteristics that produce high scores when it is a question about a single passage are: 1. A thesis statement (not a topic sentence). 2. Proof (usually quotes) from the text that ties to and proves the thesis sentence. Two proofs would be best – so long as you link them. 3. An evaluation statement where the student gives analysis that goes beyond what is stated in the text and expands the thesis statement to a life lesson. …and they only have 5 lines to do it!! CAUTION THIS IS NOT A LOCKSTEP FORMULA The thesis statement does not have to be the first sentence. It could be in the middle or anywhere within the box. The life lesson does not have to be the last sentence. It could be used as an opening. The proof does not have to be in the middle. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TOPIC AND A THESIS The topic is just that – a topic for discussion that’s up for grabs. It’s a subject without a verb. e.g. Goldilocks visited the home of three bears. The thesis provides the verb. It answers the question, ‘So?” To construct a decent thesis statement, state your opinion, make a point, take a stand, have a slant, and provide perspective …SET OUT TO PROVE SOMETHING. e.g. Goldilocks should be arrested for breaking and entering. A thesis promises the reader at least two things: what is going to be discussed and the angle from which it will be discussed. Thesis Don’ts DON’T start the thesis sentence with “In my opinion I believe and in this essay I will argue that…” or any variation thereof. If it’s a thesis, it’s always the writers take on things. There’s no need to announce it. DON’T just state a fact. A thesis has to be worth arguing about. DON’T tackle two topics at once (even if they seem related). Pick one and stick with it. Let’s look at that last part again… An evaluation statement where the student gives analysis that goes beyond what is stated in the text and expands the thesis statement to a life lesson. What does that really mean? Some would say the moral of the story. Little Johnny A middle school class was asked to tell a story with a moral. Kathy went first. “Once, we were driving a basket of hen eggs to market and we hit a big bump in the road. The eggs broke. The moral is don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Timmy was next, “Once we had a dozen chicken eggs, but when they hatched, we got only ten chicks. The moral is don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.” Then it was Johnny’s turn. “When my Aunt Karen was in Desert Storm, her plane was hit. She bailed out over enemy territory with only a bottle of whiskey and a machine gun. “She drank the liquor on the way down so it wouldn’t break, and landed in the middle of 100 enemy soldiers. She killed 70 with the machine gun, and when she ran out of bullets, she killed the rest with her bare hands.” “What is the moral of that terrible story?” the teacher asked, horrified. “Stay away from Aunt Karen when she’s been drinking.” replied Johnny. Additionally, on TAKS the student must be able to compare two pieces of writing using a thesis and proof from BOTH pieces before concluding giving analysis that goes beyond what is stated in the text. The characteristics are simply expanded. Thesis Statement (not topic sentence) Proof from one passage Proof from the other passage A concluding sentence where the student gives analysis that goes beyond what is stated in the text and links it to the thesis statement. …and they only have 7 lines to do it in!! Back to the Triplet GOLDILOCKS REVISITED Let’s try writing a crossover question to compare/contrast the two Goldilocks pieces. First we have to decide what the common theme is of the two books. Next, we have to be sure that our question fosters ideas leading to a variety of thesis statements. Remember, there is no “right” answer in terms of a thesis statement so long as it is truly a thesis. Finally, are there opportunities for a life lesson. Don’t forget the visual representation The Victorian version Making sure they are ready Be sure that writing is happening in your classroom……and that it is not just at the “Book” level. When asking students to respond, make sure you are requiring a thesis plus proof. Introduce the concept of the triplet EARLY in the year using grade level appropriate literature with a theme and use triplets throughout the year emphasizing life lesson themes. Let’s Brainstorm What are some Life Lesson themes we can use ? Theme Kernels Tolerance Change Patience Equality Conflict Freedom Honesty Adventure Courage Communication WAIT!!! If I require them to respond to shortanswer questions, I HAVE TO SCORE THEM!!! Using Exemplars Stotsky (1983) suggested that one problem in writing is the lack of consistent structures and exemplars for students. Fortunately for us, TEA took this to heart and has put all the exemplars you could possibly want on their website http://www.tea.state.tx.us The short answer exemplars are included in the answer key and essay exemplars are in the scoring guide. Using Exemplars When using exemplars with the students, ALWAYS use 3’s and 4’s for the essay and Use 2’s and 3’s for the open-ended answers TEA’s Version Let’s practice… “The Blanket” • Beginning with the end in mind… In “The Blanket,” how does the reader know that Petey is upset with Dad for planning to send Granddad away? Support your answer with evidence from the selection. “Granny Down the Hall” Question: In “Granny down the Hall,” why is the author’s friendship with his neighbors so important to him? Support your answer with evidence from the selection. Crossover Question What do Glenn Plaskin and Petey do to show that family relationships are important to them? Explain your answer and support it with evidence from both selections. …and that goes in my gradebook how??? CWS’s version for the classroom 30 points = Good Thesis Statement Opening 30 points = Good evidence from the passage/story 10 points = Good ending with analysis that goes beyond what is stated in the text and links to the thesis statement 30 points = Content of the answer Modifications If children do not learn the way we teach them, then we must teach them the way they learn. Only then can we ensure that ALL children can and will learn. THE BIG CHANGE 2003 - 2004 SDAA II Field Tested 2004 – 2005 SDAA II Benchmark Year 2005 – 2006 SDAA II becomes a part of the TEA Accountability System In other words, SDAA II COUNTS when determining whether or not your high school is an Exemplary school!! OK, you have my attention now. So what’s the difference between a TAKS question and an SDAA II Question? ENGLISH LANGAUGE ARTS (ELA) TAKS VS SDAA II 2005 was the benchmark year for SDAA II at the high school level. The reading portion of the ELA test mirrored the TAKS in that triplets were utilized. Generally speaking, multiple choice questions had fewer choices. Students taking the SDAA II were required to answer open-ended answer questions similar to TAKS but at a slightly lower thinking level – scoring was based on 0, 1, 2. Remember, next year, 2005-2006, the SDAA results will be incorporated in the overall high school accountability. Advanced Placement and Pre AP modifications Do your students know what is required to make commended performance status? Have your advanced students write TAKS style high-level questions for various genre they are reading. References Applebee, A. (1978). The child’s concept of story: Ages two to seventeen. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press. Covey, S. (2004). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The Free Press. Kilgo, M. (2004). Reading/Language Arts. Teaching and Assessing the TEKS/SE to the Depth and complexity of TAKS. Overview and Research, Section 1. Oasisedu.com Payne, R. (1996…revised 2003). A Framework for Understanding Poverty. Aha!Process, Inc. Stotsky, S. (1983). Types of Lexical cohesion in expository writing: implications for developing the vocabulary of academic discourse. College Composition and Communication.