Students Practice Scoring Short-Text SBAC Responses

A few weeks ago I attended an all-staff PD at the County Office. During the morning session we scored samples of 2-point short-text items from grades 4, 8, and high school. It was time well spent.

I wanted to duplicate that experience for my students with two goals in mind:

  1. See how well they can interpret and use a scoring rubric.
  2. For them to attend to the same thoroughness and precision in their own solution writing when it’s their turn in May.

What I had my students do:

1.  Get to know the short-text item.

They worked on the grade 4 item below. This was intentional to diminish any math anxiety and to keep our focus on the scoring of the task.

While it was good to learn of my kids’ different solutions, it was also disheartening — but not too surprising as they are the same ones who struggle mightily — to learn that 20% of my 6th graders did not get the correct solution for this grade 4 item.


2.  Go over the solution.

I collected their papers and just had a couple of kids share their strategies to the whole class. Considering 1 out of 5 kids in the room didn’t quite know how to solve the problem, this step was really for them.

3.  Get to know the item-specific rubric.

I gave the kids quiet time to read the rubric, reminding them that they would use this rubric to score 9 students’ solution responses. I told them that they could expect to return to the rubric over and over again as they scored each response.

4.  Score the responses.

I gave them quiet time to fill out Score 1 column of this handoutI reminded them that this was one of the main goals of the task — to score the sample responses fairly and accurately using the item-specific rubric.


Why are you giving this response a 1? What is it missing to not get a 2? What does it have to earn a 1 and not a 0? Keep referring to the rubric! Does spelling matter? What does your rubric say about spelling errors?

After everyone was done filling in Score 1 column, I asked them to talk to their neighbor/s and only fill in Score 2 column if they changed their mind. (They were not to erase any score in Score 1 column.) This also made it easy for me to see how many scores they’d changed their mind on.

My favorite thing in the whole wide world is to listen in on their conversations about math.

5.  Reveal the actual scores.

[The actual scores are on 2nd page of handout above.]

If the whole class agreed with the actual score for a particular student response, then we moved on. But if anyone disagreed, then I had that student tell the class why. Then I had another student who agreed with the answer to share his/her reason.

Out of 66 students, 24 students scored 9 of 9 correctly, 19 students scored 8 of 9 correctly, and 6 students scored 7 of 9 correctly.

That meant 65% of my 6th graders did this scoring-using-a-rubric better than I did. Whatever.

I also asked the kids to write a couple of sentences about what they got out of doing this. Most of their responses echoed these:

This was helpful to me because now I know I need to be much more thorough with my work and explain why I might of did something.

This was helpful to do because it let us see how these problems are graded. Even though the problem was for 4th grade, I think the grading scale of conclusion and math will be similar or the same for all problems like this.

I believe this was helpful because when I take the test, I will be more aware of the questions and what is expected of me. I will make sure to always back up my answers with evidence.

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