They write essays on a regular basis.
(*Facepalm*) The problem is, the ACT’s writing section is different enough through the writing normally done at school that I see lots of students underperform in a manner that is completely preventable. Typically “good” writers are becoming scores top essay websites of 6 or 8 (out of 12), when they should always be getting decidedly more numbers that are competitive.
Whilst it’s certainly not an 11th grade English teacher’s “job” to do ACT/SAT prep or even “teach into the test”, there is a problematic reality that when teachers aren’t getting involved a little, most students won’t understand this knowledge and/or skills anywhere else. And therefore, my teacher friend, is worrisome.
So what’s going on, and exactly what are the easiest steps an English teacher can take to help juniors be more ready?
Here you will find the biggest culprits:
1. The timing is much more intense than school. It really is thirty minutes total, including reading the prompt while the brainstorm that is entire draft, and proofread process. That task may be daunting if students get writer’s block, have test anxiety, hardly understand the prompt when you look at the heat associated with the brief moment, or struggle to wrestle their ideas into submission.
In the event your students haven’t done timed writing in a little while, are acclimatized to 45 minutes, or are not effective in it, then they’ll need help to cope. Have a look at my timed unit that is writing help students get practice completing a cohesive draft in a shorter time.
2. Students do not know the (new) rubric.When the ACT changed the writing test in 2016, the style that is prompt the rubric both changed. The assessment isn’t any longer just a typical 5-paragraph (or so) opinion essay. Students are meant to also:
- acknowledge, support, or refute other viewpoints
- provide some mix of context, implications, significance, etc.
- recognize flaws in logic or assumptions manufactured in a viewpoint, using it with their advantage if required
- (still write a cohesive essay with a thesis and many different evidence, as before)
all in thirty minutes or less. English teachers can help by at the very least groing through the rubric in class, if not assigning an essay that is ACT-style gets assessed within the class.
3. The linguistic bar is high. As well as the content characteristics described in #2, students are supposed to have decent grammar, varied sentence structures once and for all flow, transitions within and between paragraphs, and really great fiction or synonyms.
English teachers: in the event the writing rubrics or style that is gradingn’t typically address these, consider bringing it up in class, assessing of these characteristics in the next essay, or reading over a mentor text that DOES meet this bar (see #4).
4. They need to see examples. I strongly recommend that students go to this backlink to not merely read a sample 6/6 essay, but compare it to a 4 or 5 essay to see its differences. Once I teach my ACT writing lessons, i really do a compare/contrast activity because of this. The stakes are high enough that it’s worth going over a mentor text to see what the expectations are and debunk the proven fact that it’s impossible to complete.
The conclusion i have been tutoring the ACT long enough to acknowledge the differences between your old and new versions, and also without “teaching to your test”, you will find easy steps educators can take to assist juniors stay at or above the average that is national achieve their college dreams. Using even some of those tips can help students be a tad bit more ready on test day, and much more grateful as a teacher that they had you.