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Tips For Good TOP Writing Collections


Tips. Building collections. Assigning writing. Brief writing. Topic selection ... Building Collections. Strive to gather more than 5 ... Building Collections ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Tips For Good TOP Writing Collections

Tips For Good TOP Writing Collections
  • Presented at Texas Assessment Conference

Heather Roeters Texas Education Agency
Andrew Thompson Pearson Educational Measurement
  • 2006 TOP Audit Results
  • Review of collection requirements
  • Eligible types of writing
  • Verifying collection components
  • Tips
  • Building collections
  • Assigning writing
  • Brief writing
  • Topic selection

Information on Writing Collection Assembly from
Spring 2006 TOP Audit
Information on Writing Collection Assembly from
Spring 2006 TOP Audit
Note Out of the collections with assembly errors
(47), a little under half (22) had multiple
Review of Collection Requirements
  • Raters of students in enrolled grades 2-12
    (regardless of instructional level) must assemble
    a writing collection for each student who will be
    assessed in writing.

Review of Collection Requirements
  • Each writing collection must contain
  • At least five samples
  • At least one narrative writing sample about a
    past event
  • At least 2 academic samples from math, science,
    or social studies
  • Writing that is assigned between February 1st and
    the day the student is rated in writing
  • Writing that accurately reflects a students
    current proficiency level
  • The students name and date on every sample

Review of Collection Requirements
  • Writing collections must NOT contain
  • Samples containing copied language
  • Papers where the student relies heavily on
    resources (dictionary, thesaurus, etc.)
  • Papers showing teacher comments and corrections
  • Worksheets, question-answer assignments, TAKS
    written compositions
  • Papers that have been polished with help from
    peers or teachers
  • Papers written primarily in the students native
  • Papers that are brief, incomplete, or rushed

Eligible Types of Writing
  • Examples of 6 types of writing are provided in
    the TOP Rater Manual
  • Basic descriptive writing on a personal
    topic/familiar topic
  • Writing about a familiar process
  • Narrative writing about a past event
  • Reflective writing
  • Extended writing on a language arts topic
  • Academic writing from science, math, and social
  • Neither the types nor the examples provided of
    each type are exhaustive.

Verifying the Writing Collection Components
  • The campus testing coordinator, in conjunction
    with the district coordinator and principal, will
    designate one or more persons to verify the
    contents of the collections.

Verifying the Writing Collection Components
  • The verifier will ensure that each collection
  • Has at least 5 samples
  • Includes 1 narrative about a past event and 2
    academic writing samples from math, science, or
    social studies
  • Contains no papers with teacher comments or
  • Includes no worksheets, question-answer
    assignments, or TAKS compositions
  • Has the students name and date on each sample
  • Contains samples written primarily in English
  • Includes no samples written before February 1,

Verifying the Writing Collection Components
  • If the collection meets these requirements, the
    verifier will sign the writing collection
    verification checklist.
  • If the collection does not, the verifier will
    return the collection according to campus
    procedures. It will need to be reverified once
    the collection is complete. The verifier should
    not sign the checklist until the collection meets
    the criteria.

Building Collections
  • Strive to gather more than 5 writing samples for
    each student. Then choose 5 samples that meet
    the criteria and are most reflective of the
    students current proficiency level.

Building Collections
  • Raters may continue to collect writing samples
    until the time the collection is rated (according
    to local schedules).

Building Collections
  • If a student is near the border between two
    proficiency levels, it is a good idea to gather
    samples from as late in the window as possible to
    give the student a chance to demonstrate the full
    extent of the proficiency level attained.

Building Collections
  • Avoid overloading a collection with math,
    science, and social studies samples. Remember
    that its also important to include samples that
    show students writing about topics that are
    familiar and within their comfort zone.
  • Too much familiar comfort zone writing is also
    not helpful. Students need to show the extent of
    their abilities, so assign tasks that will push
    them beyond their comfort level.

Beginning-Level Writers
  • It is expected that even beginning-level
    students will have writing collections containing
    samples in English. It is not acceptable to
    include samples written primarily in the native
    language, regardless of proficiency level.

Assigning Writing
  • Students will be more likely to take their time
    and do a good job if the writing theyre doing is
    seen as a part of normal classroom writing. TOP
    writing should not be a separate activity or an
    assignment given only to ELLs. It is intended to
    be authentic classroom writing.

Assigning Writing
  • Writing with titles like Quick Writing, 5
    Minute Writing, and Writing Warm-Up should be
    avoided in a TOP writing collection. Such
    assignments tend to generate writing that it
    rushed, brief, or incomplete.

Beginning-Level Writers
  • Students who are at the early stages of the
    beginning level should be assigned writing tasks
    in English. Their writing will likely be very
    formulaic, memorized, and use vocabulary they
    have just learned.

Brief Writing
  • The length of writing samples within a
    collection will depend partly on the students
    proficiency level.

Brief Writing
  • What is acceptable at one proficiency level may
    not be acceptable at another.
  • Students who are capable of writing in a detailed
    extended way should not have papers in their
    collections that dont reflect that.

Brief Writing
  • Raters will have to consider students abilities
    in determining whether papers are too brief to be

Topic Selection
  • A topic that works well for students at one
    proficiency level may not work well for students
    at another.

Topic Selection
  • To ensure that raters get enough writing for
    students at all proficiency levels, they may
  • Gather enough writing on topics of varying
    difficulty for every student to be able to select
    those samples that are appropriate
  • Modify the tasks assigned for students at lower
    proficiency levels
  • Assign different tasks to students depending on
    their proficiency level

TOP Online Course
  • An online training course is available (today!)
    for raters and verifiers. This course will focus
    on assembling appropriate writing collections and
    the verification of writing collections. It is
    an optional tool districts may use as part of the
    training on TOP administrative procedures.

TOP Online Course
  • The TOP online course(s) can be found at the TOP
    TrainingCenter at http//
    The website will be active as of December 11,
  • The users guide for course participants is
    available on the TOP TrainingCenter under the
    Resources tab.

Contact Information
  • Email address
  • Student Assessment Division phone number
  • This powerpoint will be posted soon in the ELL
    Assessment Information section of the Student
    Assessment Division website.