Presentation on theme: "Thomas A. Stewart Literacy Test (OSSLT) Prep Guide 2013"— Presentation transcript:
1 Thomas A. Stewart Literacy Test (OSSLT) Prep Guide 2013 Writing Questions:Series of ParagraphsA Tas Com-Tech Product: Jesse and Tess
2 To help you navigate the guide, the TAS Logo is a link to the Table of Contents IntroductionThis guide is intended to be a resource for students, teachers and parents.It has several sections covering what to expect, how these questions are marked, examples of good and bad answers with explanations for why.Throughout the guide there are suggestions, tips and hints.You can jump from section to section or go through the guide in order.We recommend visiting this guide more than once.A Tas Com-Tech Product: Jesse and Tess2
3 How to Write a Series of Paragraphs Table of ContentsOverviewSample QuestionHow to Write a Series of ParagraphsWhat to expectHow it’s MarkedTopic DevelopmentWriting ConventionsSample AnswersTopic DevWriting ConOSSLT -speakOther Guides
4 OSSLT-speak Decoding the OSSLT: The OSSLT has its own special terminology. It’s important to know what their terms mean.Selection: A “selection” is the thing they have you read…it might be part of a book, a story from a magazine, something from a website, but basically it’s the thing you need to base your answers on.Prompt: The “prompt” is basically the question. For a Series of Paragraphs Expressing an Opinion the “prompt” will be the topic they want you to write about.Response: Your “response” is your answer; what you write about the “selection” in answer to the “prompt.”Scoring: “Scoring” is the word they use for marking or grading. Your score on each question is called a Code. So if you get 30 they call it a Code 30.Conventions: Spelling, grammar, sentence structure and punctuation.4
5 Writing: Series of Paragraphs OverviewThe “Series of Paragraphs expressing an opinion” is one of the two major (Long) writing tasks you will see on the OSSLT.It is marked out of 100; 60 for “Topic Development” and 40 for “Writing Conventions.”This makes it one of the two most important questions in the OSSLT.Do well on the Long writing tasks; this and the “News Report,” and you’re well on your way to passing the test. Bomb them, or worse, blow them off and your chances of passing aren’t good.An example of a Series of Paragraphs question and what good and bad answers look like follows. There are a couple of basic things to keep in mind:The “Series of Paragraphs expressing an opinion” is one of the two major (Long) writing tasks you will see on the OSSLT.It is marked out of 100; 60 for “Topic Development” and 40 for “Writing Conventions.”This makes it one of the two most important questions in the OSSLT.Do well on the Long writing tasks; this and the “News Report,” and you’re well on your way to passing the test. Bomb them, or worse, blow them off and your chances of passing aren’t good.An example of a Series of Paragraphs question and what good and bad answers look like follows. There are a couple of basic things to keep in mind:5
6 So far so good. Let’s look at a question. Series of Paragraphs- coming up with an idea and doing a good job backing it up with proof.- putting your ideas and proof together in a way that makes sense and helps get your point across.- showing you understand and can handle spelling, grammar, and punctuation. They are looking for evidence that you have come “control” over the language and you understand how to put things together.The OSSLT is designed to test you on what they call the three writing skills:1: developing a main idea with sufficient supporting details2: organizing information and ideas in a coherent manner3: using conventions (spelling, grammar, punctuation) in a manner that does not distract from clear communication.So far so good. Let’s look at a question.6
7 Series Of Paragraphs It’s pretty basic but: You will get two lined pages (about 50 lines) to answer this question.This is an example of a Series of Paragraphs “task” or question.Series Of ParagraphsTask: Write a minimum of three paragraphs expressing an opinion on thetopic below. Develop your main idea with supporting details (proof, facts,examples, etc.).Purpose andAudience: an adult who is interested in your opinionLength: The lined space provided for your written work indicates the approximatelength of the writing expected.Topic: Are cellphones necessary in teenagers’ lives?A “Series of Paragraphs” is basically an essay.It’s really important to follow the instructions here.They are looking for minimum of three paragraphs, which includes an introduction, proof and a conclusion.It’s pretty basic but:Make sure you give them 5 paragraphs.Write your series of paragraphs on the lines provided on the following two pages.Rough NotesUse the space below for rough notes. Nothing you write in this space will be scored.
8 Series of Paragraphs What to expect • The topic will be current and familiar to teenagers.Are cell phones necessary? – do Video Games hurt your ability to do well in school? – Is social media (Facebook) dangerous? – Do music videos promote violence?• The student must write a minimum of three paragraphs, which include an introduction, development and a conclusion. Students are given two lined pages for their written work.We recommend five paragraphs – an introduction, three paragraphs for your proof/argument and a conclusion. This will pretty much guarantee your answer fills more than one page. Which is a factor in the way it’s marked.• The student must express an opinion and support it with details. The opinion must be stated clearly at the beginning or end of the response.Pick a side and stick to it. Don’t try to give both sides of the argument…then you don’t have an OPINION.
9 Series of Paragraphs What to expect • The student must adequately support the opinion with reasons, examples or facts.It’s not enough to just make statements. You have to back them up with examples.“Students need cell phones.” isn’t good enough.“Students need cell phones in school because they might have to phone their parents. These days most families have both parents working and being able to get in touch through a cell phone is important. Also many students have jobs and bosses often insist on being able to contact them.” is much better because it gives reasons why students need cell phones.This is where a lot of students come up short on these questions…they put down three reasons but they don’t “adequately support” – back up – their opinion with reasons and examples.
10 Series of Paragraphs What to expect You need to make sure that: • your opinion is clearly stated;- put it in the first paragraph and again in the last paragraph.• you have provided enough specific detail to support it;- use examples from your life of things you know about.• the response is coherent and organized and- take a couple of minutes to play what you want to say. Start with your best argument – back it up, than your next best – back that up and finish with your third best – back that up.• the grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure are correct.- Make sure all your sentences start with capital letters and finish with some punctuation ( . ? ! ).10
11 How its Marked The Series of Paragraphs is “scored” Topic Development is basically what you write. They are looking for you to express a clear opinion on one side an issue. They also looking for support for that opinion (reasons, examples) and for you to state the opinion clearly at the beginning and the end of your work. Basically you have to have an introduction and a conclusion.Writing conventions are basically how you write. Spelling, sentence structure, punctuation and grammar.The Series of Paragraphs is “scored”– marked out of 100.60 for Topic Development40 for Writing ConventionsTopic DevelopmentWriting Conventions
12 Writing: Series of Paragraphs Scoring: Topic Development There are three (3) ways to get a zero (0)BlankThe page is blank with nothing written or drawn in the space provided.(If you don’t write anything there’s nothing to mark.)
13 Writing: Series of Paragraphs Scoring: Topic Development There are three (3) ways to get a zero (0)BlankThe page is blank with nothing written or drawn in the space provided.(If you don’t write anything there’s nothing to mark.)IllegibleThe response is illegible or irrelevant to the prompt.(Your answer is too hard to follow or isn’t a News Report)
14 Writing: Series of Paragraphs Scoring: Topic Development There are three (3) ways to get a zero (0)BlankThe page is blank with nothing written or drawn in the space provided.(If you don’t write anything there’s nothing to mark.)IllegibleThe response is illegible or irrelevant to the prompt.(Your answer is too hard to follow or isn’t related to the question)Off topicThe response is off topic.(Whatever you wrote didn’t answer the question.)Here are some examples of Series of paragraph answers taken from past tests.We’ll start with the ones that weren’t that good.
15 Series Of Paragraphs Which is an Epic fail! This is a Code 10 CODE 10 There are no details and nothing to back the opinion up.It’s one line, not a series of paragraphs, and because it’s so short there is no evidence of organization.Basically you can’t write one line instead of five paragraphs and expect to pass.About the only good thing about this answer is, it does state an opinion: (It is very important that a teenager have a cellphone.)But, basically that’s all there is.102030405060
16 Series Of ParagraphsThis is a Code 20Which better than an Epic fail, but it’s still a fail.CODE20How’s this for irony??It there are “many reasons”…write them down!But; this is not a series of paragraphs. It’s one sentence that covers four lines.There’s just not enough here to get a passing mark.The good news is It does state an opinion:(Yes I believe that a cellphone is completly necessary in a teenagers life). And, there is a little support to back it up.The response is related to the prompt, and expresses and supports an opinion (Yes I believe that a cellphone is completly necessary in a teenagers life). There are insufficient supporting details.102030405060
17 Series Of Paragraphs CODE What’s Good:The answer is related to the question (it’s about students and cell phone,) and there are three paragraphs which shows signs of some organization.More evidence of organization: Some paragraphs have concluding sentences (That’s silly!, This to me is wasting money.). There is no conclusion to the response.Series Of ParagraphsCODE30We’re heading in the right direction but we’re not where we want to be…yet.This is a CODE 30We’re got some supporting details which is good, but there aren’t enough of them and they’re just listed and not developed.What’s Good:There’s a clear opinion: (No, they aren’t.)102030405060
18 So 40 out of 60 for Topic Development is a solid pass So 40 out of 60 for Topic Development is a solid pass. This is the minimum you should be shooting forThey start with it in the first paragraph and end with it in the last paragraph.What’s good about this it has a clear opinion - Cell phones are necessary – that’s consistent all the way through.Series Of ParagraphsCODE40This is a Code 40Each reason – here “contacting parents” – is supported with some example or detail.1There are 5 Paragraphs which are are clearly indented and obvious.The organization is obvious. They start each paragraph with a word that lets you know the order.23102030405060
19 Having the right format – five paragraphs an introduction, three different points - one per paragraph – and a conclusion is huge.Do that and a couple of spelling mistakes, or repeating a point won’t hurt you.Series Of ParagraphsCode 40 (part 2)45Here’s the opinion again. This is a good way to wrap up the story.But that’s not really a bad thing.Unless you are really confident in your writing ability it’s better to be “mechanical” so they know you know…y’know?Still with the obvious organization. When they mark this they will say the organization is “mechanical” which holds it back from being a Code 50 or 60102030405060
20 Series Of Paragraphs Code 50 and Code 60 The next two examples are the best two “scores” you can get for Topic development.They both fill two pages and they are both, basically exactly what the OSSLT is looking for:They are organized…there’s a clear opinion which is backed up all the way through the five paragraphs. There is an obvious Introduction and ConclusionCouple of mistakes here and there but nothing that holds them back from getting a good mark.Ideas are connected with linking words like: also, because, Another reason why…, So that is why…We’re not going to go into great detail analyzing them, but they’re here to look over.Click on the 50 or 60 button again.102030405060
23 This is right out of the Marking Guide: CODE50This is right out of the Marking Guide:A clear and consistent opinion is developed with sufficient specific supporting details (e.g., contacting family, contact each other, contact peers to make plans, emergency call for help). Reasons are developed with examples and explanations.The organization is logical. There is a clear introduction, body and conclusion. Ideas are clustered into paragraphs. Each paragraph includes a clear topic sentence. Links between ideas are indicated (also, because, Another reason why…, So that is why…).102030405060
26 This is right out of the Marking Guide: CODE60This is right out of the Marking Guide:A clear and consistent opinion is developed with sufficient specific supporting details that are thoughtfully chosen (e.g., distractions, cost, misuse). Each reason is well developed with specific details (e.g., going on Facebook, eight hours a day, $95 a month, store cheat notes).The organization is coherent and demonstrates a thoughtful progression of ideas. The argument builds from less important to more important reasons (The most immense disadvantage…). The introduction hooks the reader and the conclusion goes beyond a restatement of the main points. Rhetorical questions are used effectively to emphasize the argument (…when do teens have time to focus on school work and their families?; Imagine how many uses one thousand dollars could pay for.; Why spend so much money…when you could just use your home...phone?).102030405060
27 Scoring Guide for Long Writing Conventions This is the second way answers are marked (scored)Writing ConventionsCodeDescriptorCode 10There is insufficient evidence to assess the use of conventions.ORErrors in conventions interfere with communication.ORYou get a Code 10 – a Fail – if:“Errors in conventions interfere with communication.”Which means:There are so many mistakes they can’t figure out what you’re trying to say.You get a Code 10 – a Fail – if:“There is insufficient evidence to assess the use of conventions.”Which means:You left it blank (didn’t answer the question) or you didn’t write enough.Writing Conventions? OMG, WT…H are “Writing Conventions”?Chill. Basically they’re talking about spelling, grammar, sentence structure and things like that.10203040
28 Scoring Guide for Long Writing Conventions This is a CODE 10This is a CODE 10 because:There is insufficient evidence to assess the use of conventions.10203040Which means in this case:The student didn’t write enough. Well Duuuh. They were looking for five paragraphs, four words isn’t going to get it done.
29 Scoring Guide for Long Writing Conventions CodeDescriptorCode 10There is insufficient evidence to assess the use of conventions.ORErrors in conventions interfere with communication.Code 20Errors in conventions distract from communication.“Errors in conventions distract from communication.” means:You’ve made so many mistakes (spelling, grammar) that it’s hard to follow what you’re trying to say.Basically, you’re making them work too hard to try to understand your News Story.A Code 20 isn’t a pass either, although it’s better than a 10 as every mark counts in the end.10203040
30 Scoring Guide for Long Writing Conventions This is a CODE 20 because:Errors in conventions distract from communicationThis is a CODE 20This is just the first three paragraphs. The actual answer is twice his long. We’re just showing this to give you an example of what a CODE 20 looks like.Scoring Guide for Long Writing Conventions??There are 10 mistakes in the first three paragraphs. It’s just too hard to follow.This is a CODE 20 because:There are too many mistakes to follow the story,(There’s almost no punctuation, some capitals are missing (if, these), they messed up the possessive (teenagers use) and there are more than a few spelling mistakes: (comunicate, now, your, witch, there10203040
31 Scoring Guide for Long Writing Conventions CodeDescriptorCode 10There is insufficient evidence to assess the use of conventions.ORErrors in conventions interfere with communication.Code 20Errors in conventions distract from communication.Code 30Errors in conventions do not distract from communication.You’re allowed to make some mistakes and still pass as long as those mistakes don’t get in the way of following your story.10203040
32 Scoring Guide for Long Writing Conventions This is a CODE 30 because:Errors in conventions do not distract from communication.This is a CODE 30Scoring Guide for Long Writing ConventionsJust like before this is the first half of an We’re showing this to give you an example of what a CODE 30 looks like.??10203040The difference between this CODE 30 and the CODE 20 is even though there are a fair number of mistakes they don’t get in the way of following the argument.
33 Scoring Guide for Long Writing Conventions You get a Code 40 when your story follows the News Report format without any significant mistakes and shows you understand the format.Basically that You own it.CodeDescriptorCode 10There is insufficient evidence to assess the use of conventions.ORErrors in conventions interfere with communication.Code 20Errors in conventions distract from communication.Code 30Errors in conventions do not distract from communication.Code 40Control of conventions is evident in written work.Words. I am your Master.10203040
34 Scoring Guide for Long Writing Conventions This is a CODE 40This is a CODE 40 because:Control of conventions is evident in written work.Scoring Guide for Long Writing ConventionsThere are a couple of spelling mistakes but because it’s obvious they know what they are doing the mistakes don’t matter.Control is the key idea here. They’ve used apostrophes properly for the possessive and not thrown them down on any plurals. They’ve used commas to break up their sentences and to make a list.There should be a Capital C on cellphone in the second paragraph. But there are so many things right here it doesn’t stop the student from getting 40 out 40. It’s all about the Control.10203040
35 Thomas A Stewart OSSLT Guide TAS OSSLT Guides:How the test is marked and why this mattersReading Questions: Open ResponseReading Questions: Multiple ChoiceWriting Questions: Series of ParagraphsWriting Questions: Open Response Short WritingWriting Questions: News ReportHow to prepare for the OSSLTOverview of the OSSLT