Fact Sheet: Reconsidering Myths Surrounding Writing Instruction and Assessment in Kentucky
“American education will never realize its potential as an engine of opportunity and economic growth until a writing revolution puts the power of language and communication in their proper place in the classroom.”
National Commission on Writing, Writing and School Reform: The Neglected R
Myth #1—Teacher may not write/mark on student work.
Fact—Teachers may not correct student work directly (e.g., correcting spelling, insert correct punctuation marks, reword sentences). Teachers may mark student work, however, by guiding the students with comments and suggestions for revision and/or by indicating correctness issues that students should consider during revision. Teachers and other conferencing partners may indicate the type and position of errors in the writing.
Myth #2—Student writing developed for the portfolio is “too much of the teacher’s work” with diminished student ownership.
Fact—Work that is included within the accountability portfolio shall be the student’s own. Teaching practices shall not diminish ownership of the portfolio. Teachers should not require students to revise beyond their ability level or require excessive amounts of revisions.
Myth#3—Students in Grade 4 are not developmentally ready to complete the types of writing called for in the Kentucky Writing Portfolio Assessment.
Fact—Schools that organize and maintain appropriate, vertically-aligned writing instructional programs, particularly strong primary writing programs as called for in the Program of Studies, develop student writers who are capable of completing the writing tasks asked of them.
Myth #4—It takes too much time to “do the portfolio.”
Fact—Writing instruction (for publication) should be integrated into a well-aligned curriculum so that the writing that develops from instruction may be used within the portfolios during accountability years. Writing should not be an “add-on” nor should it be limited to accountability years. What goes in the portfolio is simply the best work the student has achieved throughout the years including the accountability year. Teachers and students should not be “doing the portfolio.” The writing that develops from instruction is developed and kept over time (e.g., a fourth grade portfolio is not a fourth grade portfolio, per se. It is a P-4 portfolio demonstrating growth over those years). At the end of that process—during an accountability year—the student should present in his/her accountability portfolio his/her best work. Excessive time should not be taken if the writing program is structured appropriately. The Kentucky Department of Education has provided educators tools to reduce the amount of time spent on creating writing portfolios (e.g., The Kentucky Writing Handbook, “Saving Time with Writing Portfolios”).
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