Prior to launching the teaching task in the classroom, a teacher should consider the following questions:
How much support will students need to successfully complete the task?
What parts of the process can be completed independently (during or outside of class)? What parts of the process represent new learning or substantial challenge and warrant direct instruction or guided practice during class?
What content and vocabulary instruction and activities will be provided so that students are able to successfully complete the task?
How will reading be scaffolded for my students? (Read together? Read in groups? Read independently?)
What note-taking method will students use, and does that method align with the writing task?
How will students make the transition from the reading to the writing? (outline, graphic organizer, etc.)
What writing instruction is needed to help students write their thesis statements, organize their notes, embed quotes, and cite evidence?
How will students receive feedback at various stages of the writing process to make sure they are answering the prompt, their papers are focused, their ideas are fully developed with details, examples, etc.?
The daily plan is flexible based on students' prior knowledge, experience and skills in reading, research and writing as well as their ability to apply subject area knowledge to a new scenario. The amount of time, in class instruction, and scaffolds needed can be increased or decreased to provide the appropriate level of challenge and support for students.
Task 1 Template (Argumentative/Analysis L1/L2/L3): After researching informational texts on the various energy sources, write an essay that argues your position on which particular energy source should be used for producing electricity in the United States. Support your position with evidence from your research. L2: Be sure to acknowledge competing views. L3: Give examples from past or current events or issues to illustrate and clarify your position.
Task Engagement and Analysis
The teacher introduces the teaching task to students by linking the task to the class content that has been taught previously and to existing knowledge, skills, and interests. The teacher asks students to read the teaching task and make notes or discuss with peers things they already know about this issue or topic.
The teacher helps the students to understand the expectations of the teaching task by asking students what they think a good response to the task might include and creating a classroom list. The teacher may share examples of the type of texts the students will produce (either actual student samples or commercially published texts). Sharing the rubric with students will clarify the expectations.
The teacher explains the timetable and supports available for completing the task.
The teacher has either preselected the texts or will provide access to research sources for students to select texts. The teacher asks students to begin to record information about the sources (e.g., using notebooks, note cards, technology). The teacher may need to provide models or instruction on creating a bibliography or works cited. The students should identify author, title, publisher, date, and any other needed information (e.g., volume, editor) A discussion about the credibility or merit of sources may be needed.
The teacher can provide students with all of the texts or offer students a list of acceptable sources from which to choose. The teacher briefly highlights each text with a summary to assist students in making appropriate text selections. The teacher asks the students to skim through each text to identify the genre, purpose, and text structure. A teacher think-aloud explaining rationale for making certain text selections may be beneficial to students.
The teacher provides or suggests that a note-taking method be used that is consistent with the expectations for the task and the type of writing (e.g., argumentative-pro/con t-chart). Students should be encouraged to refer to the teaching task so that their notes are relevant to the prompt. Students should be encouraged to include both textual information and their own connections and implications. Students should continue to add to their bibliography or works cited.
Teachers may need to teach or reinforce practices to promote academic integrity and to help students avoid plagiarism. The ability to use and credit sources appropriately shows respect for the work of others and adds credibility to a student's argument and/or research.
Reading and Research
The teacher assigns the reading, research and note-taking to students and provides instruction to support analysis and synthesis of texts. The teacher may ask students to reflect orally or in writing on key questions including:
Which parts of the text provide evidence that relates to the prompt?
What historical or current examples did you notice that relate to the prompt?
What is the text explicitly saying? What gaps or unanswered questions do you see?
What competing arguments have you encountered or thought of based on the text (argumentative)?
How do you know your sources are credible?
Depending upon the needs of students in the classroom, additional scaffolds may be necessary (e.g., whole-group reading and teacher modeling of note-taking, paired in-class reading, talking to the text, small group discussion). The teacher may either provide students with print source options or make electronic texts available to them through the use of Web 2.0 tools (e.g., Wikis, Nings) or online library databases (e.g., EBSCO, ProQuest).
Transition to Writing
The teacher uses discussion based strategies such as the Paideia/Socratic seminar or small group discussions to help students make connections between their research and notes and the teaching task.
Developing a Thesis or Claim
Students write an opening paragraph that includes a controlling idea and sequences the key points that will be made throughout the writing assignment. The teacher may provide models of opening paragraphs and analyze them with the class. Students may provide feedback to each other on their opening paragraphs. Students should compare their opening paragraph to the teaching task and assess whether the paragraph fully address the main points of the prompt (e.g., define and explain, compare, take a position, etc.)
Students organize their notes into a graphic organizer or outline that establish a logical structure for the assignment. An outline begins with the thesis or claim, sequences key points and includes supporting evidence from texts.
Development of rough drafts
Students begin writing their rough drafts. The teacher frequently checks in with students to answer questions, offer feedback, and provide writing instruction as needed. Through planning, the teacher embeds opportunities for students to receive feedback on their writing prior to the submission of the final draft either through peer conferencing, teacher conferencing, or written teacher feedback. Students revise their drafts based on the feedback they receive. The amount of time needed for the development of rough draft varies and may include time during and outside of class.
Completion of Final Draft
Students either self or peer-edit their papers for conventional errors and complete the final draft.
Assessment and Reflection
The teacher uses the LDC rubric to assess the students' writing and provide feedback to help students improve their performance. Patterns in student performance guide further instruction.
The rubric is structured to facilitate analytic scoring - the awarding of separate scores by readers for each of the seven scoring elements. Scorers should keep in mind that the description of work quality within any particular "cell" of the rubric may still address more than one idea, and therefore may not match a particular essay perfectly. The scorer must identify the descriptor that is the best match to a paper based on the preponderance of evidence. If the decision is truly a "coin toss," the scorer should feel free to use the "in-between" or "half" scores. A variation of analytic scoring might be used in a situation in which the emphasis of instruction at a particular time might be on a subset of the seven scoring elements. For example, if instruction is focused on development and organization, then a teacher might simply award scores for those two scoring elements.
Holistic scoring is assigning a single, overall score to a paper. Analytic and holistic scoring rubrics look much the same. The holistic scorer's job is to pick the single score (1, 2, 3, 4) that corresponds to the set of descriptors for scoring elements that best matches a paper. Again, in-between or half scores can be used. Ideally, holistic scorers are thinking about all the scoring elements as they read papers, but over time they find that they can assign holistic scores very rapidly, yet still fairly accurately. This is one of the advantages of holistic scoring. However, analytic information is not generated by this method.
Score Recording and Feedback
It would be good practice for teachers to share the rubrics with students and discuss "criteria for success" relative to the scoring elements. However, it is not intended that a clean scoring rubric would be attached to every paper that is scored in all situations. It might be more appropriate to attach score slips that list the scoring element names with blank spaces after them for the recording of scores (and a space for a total score, too, perhaps). A customized rubber stamp could accomplish the same. Analytic scores do provide useful information to the students since they reference descriptors in the rubric. However, nothing beats descriptive comments that are best written in the margins of the papers where they are most appropriate.
Cut Scores for Proficiency Levels
Scorers can readily compute a total score (the sum of the seven element scores) or an average score (that sum divided by 7). If translating scores to performance levels is desired, then the structure of the rubrics lends itself to the use of the following cut scores:
||Total Score Cut*
||Average Score Cut*
|* The cut scores above are the highest scores possible within their associated performance levels. To score at the Advanced level, a student would have to earn more than 24.5 total points or an average score greater than 3.5 points. The highest scores possible for Advanced (28 and 4.0) are not cut scores because there is no higher performance level than Advanced.
LDC Scores and Grades
LDC scores could be translated to grades contributing to students' course grades. How this would be done is an individual teacher's decision. Teachers could establish their own cut scores for letter grades or just re-label the four performance levels as A, B, C, D. They could come up with their own way to convert LDC scores to numerical grades consistent with whatever numerical scale they use for other class work.