Yesterday, I started the essay reading for the North Carolina 4th grade writing test. I am still in the middle of training, but this is quite different from the SAT scoring that I am used to.
First of all, there are two scores given. One is for content, and one is for conventions (otherwise known as grammar and mechanics). I love that we have a score all its own for the gramar and mechanics. This is one of the pieces, in my opinion, that I think is lacking from the SAT scoring. In both of these tests, we do what is called holistic scoring. This means we have guidlines for the overall picture of the essay. For the SATs, I have always felt that there was not enough emphasis put on how to write an essay. Because of technology today, teens are missing an important part of the writing process. The computer now corrects both grammar and spelling, so there is little need to know how to do it yourself. It is my opinion that students' writing is suffering because of it.
The second difference is that these students are writing stories. Initially, I was amused with the thought of reading 4th grade stories. Then, I realized that the stories fall into two groups. The boys are writing about dragons or aliens, and the girls are writing about fairies and jewelry. Even in training, this is getting a bit mundane. Wish me luck, it is going to be a LONG month!