Despite not having to take the Kansas state writing assessments since the 2008-2009 school year, the juniors at Rock Creek prepared for the assessments since they had to take them in November.
According to English 11 teacher Jessica Augustine-Stegman, the assessments started on Nov. 12 and lasted until the Tuesday after Thanksgiving break because they required four class periods to complete.
“The students have to write persuasively,” Augustine-Stegman said. “The state provides them with four to five different prompts, and the students get to select one, for which they have to take a side and make an argument.”
Title I teacher Jeremy Lehning, who organizes assessments, said that the topic choices are usually subjects that the students are familiar with.
“Some of the examples of topics are school uniforms, technology, pop in school, etc.,” Lehning said. “The students are given a prompt that they have to follow, so it’s harder.”
In order to prepare for the assessments, English 11 students wrote a persuasive essay early in the school year to get them accustomed to writing arguments. Then, as November started, Augustine-Stegman provided information about how the assessments will be taken, how students can complete the writing successfully and how the essays will be graded.
Finally, the juniors completed a persuasive essay, in which the juniors could choose one of the sample topics to write about. With the sample essay, the students completed the four steps to the writing assessments, which they also completed with the actual assessments: prewriting, drafting, editing and finalizing.
“We did a practice test,” junior Justin Ward said. “That’s the same as the assessments will be, but fake.”
Augustine-Stegman said that the writing assessments are not too different from what is done in class regularly, but that this year, persuasive writing is being emphasized more because of the assessments.
Both Ward and junior Brianna Biscardi said they thought they would do well.
“I think I will do well on the assessments,” Biscardi said.
Augustine-Stegman also said, “If the student is a good writer, it won’t be too difficult, but if they are not the best, then it may be a little harder. As long as they follow the suggestions we have given them, though, and concentrate on writing well, they should do fine.”
Story by Tayler Johnson, Staff Member
Photo by Jessica Augustine-Stegman, Adviser