NBC News, March 6, 2014
Behind the SAT: The Good and the Bad of the 2016 Redesign
Kent Williamson, NCTE executive director, says the coming changes to the reading and writing portions of the exam are a good move. He says it is difficult for colleges to accurately determine a student's writing abilities from one timed writing test, for example. While NCTE has in the past been critical of the timed essay requirement, Williamson says the changes to the now-optional essay -- requiring students to analyze text, rather than asking an open-ended question -- can indeed measure an important skill. . . . But having just one sample is still too narrow a scope, he says. "If that becomes your only vehicle for measuring writing competence, it's a pretty narrow slice." Williamson adds it may be more realistic now, at a time when more digital tools are available to collect student information, for the College Board to collect several writing samples or a portfolio of work from students. US News & World Report, March 10, 2013
Principles and Practices in Electronic Portfolios
Writing at the Threshold: Featuring 56 Ways to Prepare High School and College Students to Think and Write at the College Level offers a set of five course sequences, each proposing a markedly different way to shape a whole writing course. Learn more in the sample chapter.
NCTE/NWP/CWPA Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing
A New SAT
NCTE member "Les Perelman, a writing instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, boasted of how he coached students to write nonsense essays that still received good marks from SAT graders." Inside Higher Ed, March 5, 2014
Patrick Sullivan poses the question, "Is it possible to define what we mean by 'college-level' writing?" and notes that "being able to distinguish and articulate clearly the differences between college-level work and precollege work has become a vitally important skill on our campuses." Read more in his Teaching English in the Two-Year College article, "What Is 'College-Level' Writing?"
The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul
"Over the course of their two-hour conversation, [NCTE member Les] Perelman told Coleman that he wasn't opposed to an essay portion of the test, per se; he thought it was a good idea, if done well. But 'when is there a situation in either college or life when you're asked to write on demand about something you've never once thought about?' he asked. 'I've never gotten an email from a boss saying: "Is failure necessary for success? Get back to me in 25 minutes." But that's what the SAT does.'" The New York Times Magazine, March 9, 2014
This past fall members of CCCC hosted a "Listening Tour" with incoming college writers to see how they felt about their writing preparation for college. Students reported writing, including writing for social purposes, 25 hours on average during the week -- much of it social writing -- but many felt unprepared for college writing. After analyzing the results, a CCCC task force is looking into how teachers of composition at all levels can better support college writers.
Grading the New SAT
Inside Higher Ed, March 6, 2014
A question remains about how the writing test will be scored, and NCTE notes that "Machine Scoring Fails the Test."
College Board Outlines SAT Redesign It Says Will Be More "Focused and Useful"
NCTE Past President Carol Jago is quoted: "The revamped vocabulary section will focus more on relevant language students might use in college or on the job. This change will also level the playing field." Jago added, "What it rewards is not test prep, but wide reading." College Bound blog, Education Week, March 5, 2014
In Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards, 9-12, Sarah Brown Wessling writes about teaching complex texts.
South Orangetown Melds Old, New Teaching Approaches
Teacher collaboration has been key in this process. The Journal News, March 8, 2014
What Do We Mean by Collaboration? The Value of Clear Talk
NCLE staffer Sharon Roth writes, "I attended a conference recently where there was much talk about collaboration. School systems from across the country sent administrators, teachers, and board members to do some collaborative planning. In the room with me were the very people who could be identifying or even negotiating the need for 'time' in the school day for professional learning. Yet I found myself frustrated with the vague descriptions of collaboration, and at times uncomfortable with the examples given." Literacy in Learning Exchange, March 5, 2014
Educators who collaborate are making positive changes in their classrooms and feel better about helping their students achieve literacy standards.
Innovation Takes Time
Collaboration is key. Connected Principals blog, March 6, 2014
These resources for collaboration, from the NCLE Literacy in Learning Exchange, offer guidance for making time to learn and plan together.
The Importance of Professional Collaboration
The next Twitter #nctechat, with guest hosts Meenoo Rami (@meenoorami) and Chris Lehman (@iChrisLehman), will take place Sunday, March 16, at 7 p.m. ET.