How to Fail a Writing Test

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
actively monitored by Suzanne

Students around the state are sitting down to a writing test today, and my fingers are crossed that this is not an applicable title for what your witnessing.  

However, non-examples are powerful learning tools.  If I know what not to do, that's half the battle.  So according to my pal, Gretchen Bernabei, here are the five fastest ways to fail a writing test:

1.  Don't plan.  Just wander around- total stream of consciousness.  Talk about this for a little while.  How many more days until summer?  Talk about that a bit.  Where you go next, nobody knows.  
2.  Be vague.  Write about the people who do stuff...sometimes or a lot of times.  You know.  
3.  Repeat the same idea.  Tell your idea over and over.  No need for something new- just say the same words in a slightly different order again and again.  
4.  Have horrible conventions.  you know run ons and incomplete sentences  If the paper is too difficult to understand do to conventions, it's D.O.A.  A quick way to remedy this is to get students in the habit of reading their papers aloud and listen to them read by others.  If it doesn't make sense, Houston, we have a problem.
5.  Don't write enough. Done.
   -This might not come as a surprise, but boys mostly suffer from this problem. They write like they shop- get in and get out.  It's no wonder that 30%-60% more boys fail writing assessments.

If these are the fastest ways to fail, then facilitate a good conversation about the flip side.  That must be the fastest way to pass with flying colors.  Knowledge is power, friends.

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