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.
Descargar

TAKS Short Answer Items