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A primary school writing assessment:theory and application - Essay Example

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This assessment will address a piece of writing completed by a primary school student in year four.The assessment will begin with a brief theoretical discussion of writing assessment at the primary school level and thereafter concentrate more specifically on applying this theoretical background to this child's piece of writing…
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Download file to see previous pages This assessment will address a piece of writing completed by a primary school student in year four. The assessment will begin with a brief theoretical discussion of writing assessment at the primary school level and thereafter concentrate more specifically on applying this theoretical background to this child's piece of writing. Particular attention will be paid to the spelling and grammatical features of this writing. The assessment will involve the specific comments to be made to the writer of this text and an additional analysis of the writer's development pursuant to the checklist established by Harris et al (2003: 104). The final part of this assessment will propose some specific methods of spelling and grammar instruction for the writer of this text.As an initial matter, any literacy assessment, whether of reading or of writing, is necessarily dependent on a set of governing principles or a guiding framework. This assessment begins with an acknowledgment of Freebody and Luke's "four role's model" of literacy (2003: 52). Harris incorporates this framework, and presents a general social model of literacy which includes "four interrelated sets of literacy practices" (2004: np). The first concept of which instructors should be aware is referred to as text code and encoder practices. The focus is on deciphering text and creating, for purposes of this assessment, a written text. A second concern is referred to as a text participant role. For the primary school student as a writer, this practice involves the means by which the student creates meaning through the written text. Text user practices, the third area, refer to the student's capacity for producing and manipulating a written text in order to accomplish different social purposes. The final practice addresses a more analytic function; in this practice, the student writer is assessed according to his ability to consider an audience's reaction to the text. More specifically, does the student writer use proper conventions to address the audience. These four sets of literary practices are interwoven and provide an overarching theoretical framework within which more particularized writing assessments may proceed.
With respect to writing, Harris et al have noted that "children progress through a number of important phases as "they develop mastery over the conventions and the process of writing" (2003: 72). A series of developmental stages for text encoders is divided into an emergent phase which includes role play and experimental writing contexts, an early phase which progresses into the initial stages of writing, and a fluent phase which is characterized by the proper use of conventions as well as proficient and advanced writing abilities. These developmental stages are clearly marked by writing indicators and a parallel set of recommended pedagogic practices has been established to aid instructors in leading children through these progressively complicated phases.
The emergent phase is defined with reference to a number of preliminary indicators. In this phase, for example, children writers begin to recognize symbols, they group these symbols into words, they assign meaning to symbols, they ascertain a sense of constancy in written symbols, they rely extensively on sounds to reinforce the meaning of written symbols, and they begin to perceive the relationship between speech and the written symbols. These are foundational indicators which seek to clarify the cognitive challenges that children encounter as they begin to learn about writing, and they provide a comprehensive baseline for instructors to develop and employ instructional methods. The use of sounds and visual aids, to illustrate, can assist children in the emergent phase. This is because they are making connections and links among all of the stimuli around them. Specific classroom practices might include the use of colorful pictures to provide context for a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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