A more comprehensive expectation of student writing is outlined in the Direct Assessment of Writing on the Connecticut Mastery Test Overview:
The Direct Assessment of Writing (DAW) subtest of the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) provides students with a prompt and students are directed to provide a written response.
• Students are given exactly 45 minutes to provide a written response.
• Directions suggest that students take the first part of the 45 minutes to plan before writing the actual response.
• Each student's writing sample—the only part that is scored—is captured on no more than the three pages which are provided for this purpose in the test booklet.
No additional pages are considered when scoring.
• The written response is scored holistically, which means that the score represents the overall strength of the paper as judged by trained scorers.
• Each scorer assigns a score on a scale from 1 to 6. However, two different trained scorers will score each paper and their scores will be added together, resulting in a final score in the 2 to 12 range.
• Scorers are trained to read through errors in spelling and writing mechanics.
These errors are not considered as part of the holistic score.
Goal-level work in writing for CMT 4 will be determined by a combination of the score on the DAW (60% weight) and the score on the Editing and Revising Subtest (40% weight).
THE MODES OF WRITING
Writing prompts are developed at each grade level to be appropriate for students in terms of interest and experience. Third and fourth graders will be asked to write a narrative piece; fifth and sixth graders will write an expository piece; and seventh and eighth graders will write a persuasive piece.
Narrative (Grades 3 and 4)
The narrative mode will consist of prompts designed to elicit both personal narratives and fictional narratives.
The scorers will be using one narrative rubric to help them determine a score for each paper. A holistic impression of the quality of the writing is the guiding criterion for the score.
DIRECT ASSESSMENT OF WRITING GUIDELINES AND RUBRICS
Grades 3-4: General Guidelines
• The CMT 4 Grades 3 and 4 written responses are first drafts written in 45 minutes in reaction to a prompt designed to elicit narrative writing. Trained readers score these timed responses holistically, which means that they determine a score based on the overall impression most often gained from one reading of the response.
• This rubric outlines a six-point scale. Each score point on that scale is described by an overall statement which captures the essence of the response. The elements of the response (elaboration, organization and fluency) that are typical for that score point are described below the overall statement. Individual responses may be stronger in one feature and weaker in another. Therefore, the list of features at each score point, while helpful, cannot perfectly describe every response in a score-point category.
• A committee of expert readers uses this rubric as a guide to select anchor papers for each score point. Anchor papers are examples of actual student work. The committee prepares an anchor set composed of several papers at each score point. They deliberately select papers to show an appropriate range of writing skills for each score point and to represent the variety of approaches students take when addressing the writing prompt. Trained readers rely heavily on these anchor sets to guide their scoring.
• Errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar and usage are not to be considered as part of the criteria for scoring CMT 4 writing samples. Also, papers receive a score based on the work the student did complete even if the response seems to be unfinished. Because the writing sample is a timed response, it is generally assumed that these errors and omissions could have been corrected if the student had been given an opportunity to revise and edit. Readers, therefore, are trained to read through these errors when they score student papers.
Grades 3-4: Rubric
Score Point 1: An undeveloped response
• Contains few or vague details
• Is too brief to indicate sequencing of events
• May be difficult to read and understand
Score Point 2: An underdeveloped narrative
• Contains general, unelaborated and/or list-like details
• Shows little evidence of sequencing of events
• May be awkward and confusing
Score Point 3: A minimally-developed narrative with little expansion of key events and characters
• Has little elaboration with more general than specific details
• Shows some evidence of an organizational strategy with some sequencing of events
• May be awkward in parts
Score Point 4: A somewhat-developed narrative with moderate expansion of key events and characters
• Is adequately elaborated with a mix of general and specific details
• Shows a satisfactory organizational strategy with satisfactory sequencing of events
• May be somewhat fluent
Score Point 5: A developed narrative with mostly effective expansion of key events and characters
• Is moderately well elaborated with mostly specific details
• Shows generally strong organizational strategy and sequencing of events
• May be moderately fluent
Score Point 6: A well-developed narrative expanding on key events and characters
• Is fully elaborated with specific details
• Shows strong organizational strategy and sequencing of events
• Is fluent