GRADE 4 ELA 2003 QUESTION & ANSWER DOCUMENT

*For help with questions not addressed below, please call the Measurement Incorporated Grade 4 ELA Helpline (877) 516-2403. The line is available weekdays February 11-March 4 (Monday-Friday) from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

INTRODUCTION - After the videotaping of the training sessions, the Scoring Leaders participated in Question and Answer sessions. Staff from Measurement, Inc. and the State Education Department provided responses to participants' questions. Many of the questions refer to particular student answer papers in the Practice Sets, and responses may refer to the Scoring Guide. The following transcript relates to questions of a specific nature. The questions/answers are organized by content area: Listening; Reading; Writing; and Writing Mechanics. For questions regarding general scoring information, please refer to General Q&A.

Listening

Q: In the graphic organizer (#29), would an entry that indicates that your hand could get sucked into quicksand be acceptable?

A: The text refers to feet and not to hands. Therefore the "hand" portion of such a response would not be supported by the text. However, the idea of things being sucked into quicksand is supported by the text, so such an entry on the graphic organizer would be acceptable if that idea of things being sucked into quicksand were not already used in another entry.

Q: Some responses exhibit confusion about the gender of Jennifer and/or Martha. Is this a serious error?

A: Mistakes about the gender of characters in texts have always been considered to be minor inaccuracies that do not affect the score.

Q: If pronoun mistakes reflecting confusion about the gender of a character are minor inaccuracies, is the same true for pronoun mistakes reflecting confusion about the number of characters involved? For example, short response #30 in Practice Set Cluster #9 (page 9b in the Practice Set) refers to "Jennifer and the author" and "they."

A: A mistake about the number of characters involved is generally more serious than a mistake about the gender of a character. Confusion as to the gender of a character rarely affects the level of understanding of the text shown by a student. However, when a response demonstrates confusion about the number of characters involved in an incident, as in Practice Set 9b, it often impacts the level of understanding of the text shown by the student.

Q: I noticed that the trainer on the videotape corrected many of the errors in the student responses as she read them aloud. For example, she inserted some missing words, and read misspelled words as they should be rather than as they were written. Is this proper training procedure?

A: In scoring the Listening component, we score for content only. Errors in mechanics, such as missing words and misspellings, are only considered when scoring Writing Mechanics. For that reason, it is acceptable to read through mechanical errors in student responses when training scorers to assess content. This reduces the risk of mechanical considerations interfering with the fair assessment of the contents of a response.

 

Reading

Q: Can a response receive an overall score of "4" if one of the analytic scores is a "0"?

A: It would be very unusual but not impossible. The overall score is holistic and reflects the studentís overall understanding of the texts and the task. Since an analytic score of "0" on the graphic organizer or on a short response indicates that the student did not understand the task or the relevant text for that question, this usually affects the level of overall understanding shown by the student. Although a "4" does not have to be perfect, it must demonstrate thorough understanding of the texts. It is possible that a clusterís other strengths could outweigh one analytic "0" and show thorough overall understanding, but such a case would be rare. If you encounter a student response that raises this issue (or any other scoring issue), we encourage you to call the toll-free Help Line for guidance.

Q: Some responses may exhibit confusion about the gender of characters in the texts. Is this a serious error?

A: Mistakes about the gender of characters in texts have always been considered to be minor inaccuracies that do not affect the score.

 

Independent Writing

Q: Does a response that is off topic receive a score of "0" even if it is well written, well organized, and well developed?

A: Yes. According to the rubric, if the response is completely irrelevant to the task, it must receive a score of "0."

 

Writing Mechanics

Q: What is the difference between readability and comprehension?

A: Readability refers to the ease or difficulty of reading through the mechanical errors. Comprehension refers to the effect the mechanical errors have on the readerís ability to understand the meaning of what is written.

Q: Are certain types of errors always more serious than other types? For example, are sentence errors and grammar errors penalized more than spelling errors?

A: It is not the type of error that determines how serious it is, but the effect of the error on readability and comprehension. Errors must be considered in the context of the writing as a whole. It is possible that a minor grammar error or a sentence fragment may only slightly affect readability. Conversely, a spelling error in a key word may be so severe as to make comprehension of the response difficult. Errors should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.