Language & Composition

Mr. Eure | Brewster High School

Update: 11/13

Around the time that you receive your first report cards, I will give you an argument of mine about investment and self-efficacy. We will hold in abeyance our study of grades, floating standards, and the problems of public education; we probably need to revisit my expectations, however, and that starts even before we cross that arbitrary threshold into the second quarter.

You are going to receive three scores rather rapidly this week:

  1. Your score out of 100 points on the political letter your group wrote during the week of 10/22
  2. Your score out of 100 points on the timed general argument you wrote on 10/24
  3. Your score out of 54 on the timed multiple-choice section you completed on 10/26

The last item on that list is the only one that will not factor into your quarterly average. The rest count; that means you will have questions and concerns immediately. And that means you need a process for understanding what happened and how to apply that understanding to future assignments.

First, locate where we are in this cycle:

  1. Investment in formative work leads to
  2. success on summative work, which leads to
  3. an easier time parsing and processing summative scores and feedback, which leads to
  4. more productive collaborative and individual feedback looping, which leads to
  5. more effective metacognition and reflection, which leads to
  6. an easier time investing in formative work, which leads to
  7. greater success on summative work, and so on.

This is based on the philosophy articulated in our introductory materials—a philosophy I will again attempt to articulate next week or the week after. It is a cycle in which greater investment in the optional portions results in greater success on the required portions; on the other hand, failure to invest in each step, regardless of extrinsic motivators like checkpoint grades, leads to a cycle of stagnation and frustration.

Right now, you are parsing and processing summative scores and feedback. The two assignments in question are the timed general argument and untimed letters you wrote before Sandy paid us a visit. You will receive an email about the letters; this post is a sort of touchstone for everything; and in a document shared with you through Google Drive, you will receive directions about the process to follow for the timed writing. Be in the habit of using all three of these digital resources in addition to what we cover in class; this is the only way to turn your investment into the performance you want.

Below is a quick overview of what to make of your multiple-choice scores. Remember that we will be working our way through this exam; the skill of close reading may not be new to you, but this kind of test is.

About the Multiple-Choice Pre-Test

This will be brief. For now, note the following:

  • If you got 35 or more answers correct, you are on pace to earn a 3 on the exam in May.
  • If you got 40 or more answers correct, you are on pace to earn a 4 on the exam in May.
  • If you got 45 or more answers correct, you are on pace to earn a 5 on the exam in May.

High scores at this point are a good sign of natural ability. For those of you who scored a 40 or better, the next step will be helping your peers by articulating how you approached these passages. On the other end of the spectrum:

  • If you got 25 or fewer answers correct, there is no cause for concern yet; you should pay careful attention to how you perform on the next multiple-choice assessment, however.
  • If you got 18 or fewer answers correct (i.e., you missed more than two-thirds of the test), we’ll need to monitor your performance together. You should plan on scheduling a conference during second quarter, too, to go over your approach to this kind of test.

Remember that while this pretest was tied to close reading and critical thinking, it is a pretty test-specific application of those skills. Low scores do not mean that we hit the panic button; they mean only that we have a clear goal for improvement.

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