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Assessment Questions

What types of questions were fourth-grade students asked on the WCBA Study?

The Writing Computer-Based Assessment (WCBA) aimed to assess students' ability to effectively communicate information for specific purposes and audiences. WCBA assesses students' ability:

  • To Persuade
  • To Explain, and
  • To Convey Experience.

The National Assessment Governing Board developed the framework which describes the skills and abilities WCBA was designed to measure.

Tasks

Each student was asked to respond to two writing tasks that included age-, and grade-appropriate real-world topics. Each writing task included text, and some also included pictures, audio, or video components. Below are some sample writing tasks that were taken from the writing framework and student tutorials. None of these sample tasks were administered in the pilot study.

Sample writing tasks that were taken from the writing framework and student tutorials.

Persuasive writing tasks asked students to convince the reader to take action or to change the reader's viewpoint on a variety of topics important to others (e.g., peers, school, the nation).

The task displayed on the right asked students to write a letter to their principal convincing him or her to choose the writer's preferred school mascot. Students were asked to include reasons and examples in their letters.

This task asked students to write a letter to their principal convincing him or her to choose the writer's preferred school mascot.

Explanatory writing tasks asked students to present information and ideas to others in a manner that aids understanding of a topic. For example, tasks might have called for a basic explanation of personal knowledge or an explanation of a sequence of pictures and/or steps provided in the task.

The task displayed on the right asked students to describe what lunchtime is like for them on a school day.

This task asked students to describe what lunchtime is like for them on a school day.

The Writing Computer-Based Assessment (WCBA) also included tasks that asked students to bring real or imagined experience to life for the reader. For example, tasks might have asked students to convey experience by crafting a short story in which they narrated events and described the setting and characters.

The task shown displayed on the right asked students to write a story about what happens when they wake up to find this familiar-looking tower above them.

This task asked students to write a story about what happens when they wake up to find this familiar-looking tower above them.



Last updated 12 November 2021 (AA)