This resource includes two reading assessments and two writing assessments, in ready-to-copy form. The questions and prompts are based on nonfiction articles. I have tried to write them in a style that addresses the Common Core standards and the few sample PARCC questions (the proposed new standardized test to assess CCSS). Included are the questions that accompany the articles, answers to the questions, links to the articles I use, writing prompts, and the writing rubric I use. In Ohio, we have to create SLOs (Student Learning Objectives) and these tests serve to measure student growth, which factor into my evaluation score. I have created these assessments to be as similar in nature as possible and the grading of them to be as black and white as possible so they are a fair measurement of true growth.
Reading assessment questions (20 total points) require students to find the subject, occasion, purpose, and tone of nonfiction pieces, make inferences and recognize when a standardized test question is asking them to make an inference. They must also recognize the standardized test “distractors” (answers to multiple choice questions designed to distract the student from the correct answer). Questions require students to decipher the meaning of challenging words using context, in which the word is defined through similar words or meanings, through use of opposite words or meanings, through examples, or by setting off the definition using punctuation. The writing assessment (20 points) asks students to express a short summary of the issue, why it is important, and what they think needs to be done concerning the issue. These pre and post assessments help me determine how I am doing each year.
By giving the pre-assessments the first few weeks of school and the post-assessments near the end of the year, I can judge how I have done in teaching my juniors these skills. Since these skills are important on the ACT, I use these assessments with my juniors, but obviously these resources can be used with any high school grade level.