Keep up the Pace

ISTEP NEWS from your Instructional Coach

ISTEP is just around the corner.

Does that give you heart palpitations like it does me?


The testing window for the applied practice is February 29-March 11 and the multiple choice portion is April 18-May 6. Because your timid is limited, I have compiled some information and links below from the DOE website and from a sample PARCC Practice Test. As always, Lori and I are an email, phone call, or classroom visit away. We would love to help you plan your instruction to address the rigor of this new test, provide a model lesson, or co-teach with you.

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NEWS from the DOE

ISTEP+ Part 1 English/Language Arts Assessment Grades 3-8 Session Information


Constructed-Response Session:

  • Includes a passage for students to read.
  • Includes several Constructed-Response reading comprehension questions that will ask about the passage.
  • They will be scored using the 2-point Constructed-Response rubric.


Writing Prompt Session:

  • Includes a passage or pair of passages for students to read.
  • Includes several Multiple-Choice reading comprehension questions that will ask about the passage or pair of passages and scaffold to the Writing Prompt.
  • Includes a Writing Prompt that will be a narrative, informative, or persuasive/argument* response based on the passage or pair of passages. It will be scored using the 6-point Writing Rubric and the 4-point Grammar and Usage Rubric.


*The extended response question has been eliminated from the 2015-2016 test.


* Please note that persuasive writing is referenced in the standards at grades 3-5 and argument writing is referenced in the standards at grades 6-8.

Sample items from the DOE

6th Grade Samples:


Constructed Response: 6.RL2.2-Describe a theme of the except from The Wind in the Willows and how it is revealed. Support your answer with details from the excerpt.


Writing Prompt: Apollo 11 Passage Pairing


You have read the article about the first moon landing and a transcript of a phone conversation between President Nixon and the astronauts. Some historians claim that the Apollo 11 trip to the moon is the most significant event of the twentieth century. Using information from BOTH the article and the telephone conversation, write an essay explaining the significance of this event.


Be sure to include:

  • An explanation of the significance of the event
  • Support with relevant details from BOTH the article and the telephone conversation.


7th and 8th grade Samples:


Constructed Response: 8.RL.2.3-How does Buck change after he is rescued by John Thornton? Support your response with details from the excerpt.


Writing Prompt: "The Benefits of Homework" Passage Pairing


You have read the article “The Benefits of Homework.” The author makes the claim that homework can positively affect student performance in school. Think about the evidence the author provides and consider if it fully supports the claim. Using details from the article, write an argument analyzing how effectively the author supports his claim.


Be sure to include:


  • your position on how well the author supports the claim
  • details from the article to support your position
  • an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

PARCC Practice Test

Since the DOE selected PEARSON as the vendor for the 2015-2016 ISTEP test and Pearson constructs the PARCC assessment, I pulled question stems from a released practice test. Check out the rigor of the argumentative writing prompt in the link below.


You will want to review the vocabulary used in the question stems and answer choices and find ways to embed these terms into your instruction, so they do not catch students off guard on testing day.


This PARCC Practice Test also includes a video text (who knew). I have no idea if ISTEP will be this sophisticated, but it will give you ideas on how you can create paired selections using a reading passage and a video as text.


PARCC Practice Test


PARCC PRACTICE TEST QUESTION STEMS

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