2 What will the test be like? In grade 8 there are:20 Multiple Choice questions for editing and revision3 writing prompts
3 Multiple Choice Section 5 Short passages with errorsEach passage is followed by 4 multiple choice questions (20 MC questions).Questions will focus on revising and editing the passages.Answers are a part of yourconventions score.
4 Prompts 8th graders will respond in writing to 2 prompts. These are “on demand” writing tasks; that means you do not read a passage before you write.The only thing you have to rely on for your answer is the knowledge you already have – prior knowledge.
5 What will I be asked to do? Write in 2 different modesShow that you are proficient in all 5 domains of writing
6 What is a mode of writing? Mode means type, style, or genre.There are many modes of writing such as narrative, poetic, informational, and persuasive.Only persuasive and informational modes will be tested in grades 8 and 11. No narrative.
7 What types of writing assignments are in the persuasive mode? Position PaperEvaluationOpinion EssayEditorialProblem-SolutionPersuasive Essay
8 What types of writing assignments are in the informational mode? Compare/Contrast EssayDescriptive EssayNarrative Procedure (Instructions or “How To”)Expository EssaysReport of InformationResearch PaperNews storyFactsInfo.Man
9 Let’s Play Guess the Mode… Hints:An informational prompt will ask for an explanation, clarification, evaluation, comparison, instructions, description, or definition.A persuasive prompt will ask you to take a side, convince, persuade, support an opinion, defend, argue, or refute.
10 Informational or Persuasive? A new principal is contacting all students about changing or adding to the school rules. Think of a rule you would like to change or add. Write to convince your principal to use your suggestion.PERSUASIVEKEY WORD=CONVINCE
11 Informational or Persuasive? You are the class president and have been asked to write an introduction for a person you admire greatly. Write an essay describing the most admirable qualities of the person.INFORMATIONAL - DESCRIPTIVEKEY WORD= DESCRIBE
12 Informational or Persuasive? Many areas have laws that require motorcycle and bicycle riders to wear helmets. Do these laws conflict with your right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?” Take a position for or against these laws and write an essay supporting your view.PERSUASIVE- POSITION PAPERKEY WORD=POSITION
13 Informational or Persuasive? “Great thoughts speak only to a thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all humankind.”—Emily P. BissellHow do “great actions speak to all humankind”? Write an essay that explains your understanding of this quotation.INFORMATIONAL- EXPOSITORYKEY WORD=EXPLAIN
14 Informational or Persuasive? A teacher needs directions from the school to your home. Write a set of instructions that describes the route you take.INFORMATIONAL-NARR. PROCEDUREKEY WORDS=DIRECTIONS, INSTRUCTIONS
15 Informational or Persuasive? Think about discoveries or inventions that have affected our lives. Select one. Write to inform someone about this discovery or invention. Tell whether it has been good or bad for society.INFORMATIONALKEY WORD=INFORMNote: The bulk of what you are being askedto do is to inform someone. You are asked to includeyour opinion, but you are NOT asked to persuade thereader.
16 Helpful HintsWhen taking the test, first decide what mode is being asked for.Do they want me to inform?Do they want me to persuade?
17 InformationalIf they want you to inform, figure out what type of information they want.Narrative Procedure/Instructive/“How to”DescriptiveCompare/ContrastExpository
18 If It’s “How to” Think: Tell what you’re teaching and why. Materials needed (if any)Steps with good transitionsAnticipate problems a reader may have.
19 If It’s Descriptive Think: Imagery or Word Picture Characteristics/QualitiesAdjectivesSensory details
20 If It’s Expository Think: Make a point /Answer the question Back it up withDetailsExamplesExplanationAnecdote – a short, real life exampleFacts – if you’ve got them
21 If It’s Compare/Contrast Think:Venn DiagramOrganizationPoint by point,Topic by topic,OR like then different
22 If It’s Persuasive Think: Take a strong position -one position even if you see both sides! No wishy-washies.Back it up with logical reasons and any facts that you may have.Use persuasive techniques like rhetorical questions, repetition, and ideas that will appeal to your audience.Recognize and refute (reasonably) one counter argument that your opposition might have.
23 You focus your writing when you: answer the prompt and make your point.stick to your point from start to finish.write to your audience in a style and tone that match the mode (persuasive, informational).
24 How Will My Test Be Scored? The PSSA uses a different rubric for each mode of writing.The rubrics identify the most important qualities of the mode.These qualities are broken down into 4 areas or domains: focus, content, organization, and style.The 5th domain, conventions, is scored with a separate rubric.These are similar to the FCA’s only each domain is reviewed, not just a few.
25 Your content is strong when you include: examplesexplanationselaborationevidencedetailsreasonsfactsanecdotesconnectionsto support your point and help your reader understand what you’re saying.
26 Use of paragraphing, with topic sentences You show strong organization when you arrange your ideas in a helpful way, such as:most to least important reasonsleast to most important reasonssimilarities then differencestopic by topicchronological order (first to last)Use of paragraphing, with topic sentencesand transitional words, is KEY!
27 You get style points for: using high level, appropriate vocabulary.using a variety of sentence styles (simple, compound, complex).creating a strong tone that suits the mode (persuasive, expert/informational).writing in a way that would reach your target audience.
28 For a high conventions score you must have: correct spelling.complete sentences.correct end punctuation.correct internal punctuation (commas, semicolons).correct capitalization.logical paragraphing with topic sentences.
29 Your test will receive 2 scores: Your ScoreYour test will receive 2 scores:1 for conventionsgrammar, etc.1 for compositionhow well you write in the modes
30 Scoring Your Test Conventions The multiple choice section is worth 12 points.Also, each of your compositions will get a conventions score of 1-4 for a possible 8 points total.The multiple choice score and 2 writing conventions scores are added together.12+8= 20 possible
31 Scoring Your Test Composition Each of the 2 writing tasks is worth a possible 4 points. Your 2 scores are totaled and multiplied by 10. (One prompt isn’t counted, but you won’t know which one that is, so try your best on all three.)That’s 80 points possible for “composition” – the focus, content, organization andstyle domains.
32 Total Score Conventions = possible 20 points Composition = possible 80 pointsTotal possible 100 points