Go Deep: How to Avoid Writing Superficial Reading Comprehension and Literary Analysis Items

Item writing is so complex–it is this interweaving of interpretation and analysis and extension of ideas beyond the text; it is the conjoining of skills and knowledge in order to measure students’ skills and knowledge. There are so many ways to get it wrong. In writing items to measure reading comprehension, one of the most […]

On Reading and Rereading

I’m an inveterate rereader. Sometimes I think I shouldn’t be–that there are so many books in the world that I haven’t read, so what is the point of rereading books that I’ve read not just once but many, many times? Because there’s a lot left to learn, because it’s fun, because these books are not quite […]

The Big Idea, or Focus, Cross-Referenced to Basic Rules of Item Writing

What comes before preparation is intention, which we previously discussed here. Still, the concept of the Big Idea bears further exploration.Let’s consider how we might approach this grade 4 standard from the CCSS, RL.4.2: Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text. This standard is passage-dependent; […]

Where Ask Is Have

That meaningful conversation about the Common Core Standards I was asking for? Here it is, by Freddy Hiebert, of TextProject and the University of California at Santa Cruz, in her blog Frankly Freddy: Acquiring knowledge is the raison d’etre of the Common Core. In the digital-global world, the “haves” are the ones who have knowledge and know […]

If It’s Broke

At Children’s Book Insider, Laura Backes offers common problems in stories for children, which are common problems in all narrative writing (thin plot, bad plot, flat characters, and bland, obnoxious, or otherwise unappealing voice), and concludes with a reminder about the importance of a solid command of mechanics: When submitting to an editor, grammatical errors […]