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4.1.2 Early Elementary Summative Assessment

The use of writing as a performance-based assessment measure is an ambitious mechanism for evaluating the knowledge and skills of beginning readers and writers, particularly for students who are English Learners or students with disabilities. Yet, the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy calls for the development of writing skills in the early grades. One example is:

CA.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W1.2: Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

With several scaffolded activities, Ms. Kaiser was able to use writing as a performance-based summative assessment measure for her students to demonstrate understanding of a fundamental precept of civic education: Why are laws important? Using the sentence frame “Laws are important because ________” to support their writing is an example of one scaffold used by the teacher.

Time to Try

Several examples of student work follow and you have an opportunity to reflect on the following two criteria: 1) the students understand why laws are important and 2) the writing demonstrates their understanding.

  • Use the two criteria above to assess student writing.
  • Consider the information and make a recommendation for future instruction.
  • Select the link for sample commentary to see what others thought.

Student Work Example 1

Student Work Example 2

Student Work Example 3

Time to Reflect

Consider the students' work as a whole in order to complete the following journal questions.


Sample responses

Time to Extend

As students' writing develops throughout grade 1, more detailed criteria can be used to monitor students' progress and guide instruction. Consider the following criteria to aid in writing instruction:

Writing Criteria:

  • Purpose/Focus – does the student adequately explain the topic/answer the prompt?
  • Organization – is the response clear and organized?
  • Evidence – does the student provide examples or evidence to support their claim?
  • Language and vocabulary use – does the student use precise academic and/or domain-specific vocabulary?
  • Command of Conventions – does the student demonstrate effective and consistent use of punctuation, capitalization, and spelling?