They write essays on a regular basis.
(*Facepalm*) the thing is, the ACT’s writing section differs from the others enough from the writing normally done at school that I see lots of students underperform in a way that is completely preventable. Typically “good” writers are receiving scores of 6 or 8 (away from 12), when they must be getting more competitive numbers.
While it’s not always an grade that is 11th teacher’s “job” to do ACT/SAT prep or even to “teach towards the test”, there’s a problematic reality that when teachers don’t get involved a little, most students will not fully grasp this knowledge and/or skills anywhere else. And that, my teacher friend, is worrisome.
Just what exactly’s going on, and what are the easiest steps an English teacher can take to greatly help juniors be much more ready?
Here you will find the biggest culprits:
1. The timing is more intense than school. It is 30 minutes total, including reading the prompt while the brainstorm pay for essay that is entire draft, and proofread process. That task may be daunting if students get writer’s block, have test anxiety, do not understand the prompt in the heat associated with moment, or battle to wrestle their ideas into submission.
In case your students haven’t done timed writing in some time, are used to 45 minutes, or are not effective in it, then they’ll need help to cope. Have a look at my timed unit that is writing help students get practice completing a cohesive draft in less time.
2. Students don’t know the (new) rubric.When the ACT changed the writing test in 2016, the prompt style AND the rubric both changed. The assessment is no longer just a typical 5-paragraph (or so) opinion essay. Students are meant to also:
- acknowledge, support, or refute other viewpoints
- provide some mixture of context, implications, significance, etc.
- recognize flaws in logic or assumptions manufactured in a viewpoint, using it to their advantage if necessary
- (still write a essay that is cohesive a thesis and a number of evidence, as before)
all in half an hour or less. English teachers often helps by at the least groing through the rubric in class, or even assigning an essay that is ACT-style gets assessed included in the class.
3. The linguistic bar is high. Aside from the content characteristics described in #2, students are supposed to have decent grammar, varied sentence structures once and for all flow, transitions within and between paragraphs, and extremely great fiction or synonyms.
English teachers: should your writing rubrics or style that is gradingn’t typically address these, consider bringing it up in class, assessing for these characteristics from the next essay, or reading over a mentor text that DOES meet this bar (see #4).
4. They have to see examples. I strongly recommend that students head to this backlink to not only read a sample 6/6 essay, but compare it to a 4 or 5 essay to notice its differences. I do a compare/contrast activity for this reason when I teach my ACT writing lessons. The stakes are high enough that it is worth going over a mentor text to see what the expectations are and debunk the basic idea that you will never complete.
The conclusion i have been tutoring the ACT for enough time to recognize the distinctions between the old and new versions, as well as without “teaching to the test”, you will find simple steps educators can take to greatly help juniors stay at or above the average that is national achieve their college dreams. Using even several of those tips can help students be a tad bit more ready on test day, and more grateful that they had you as a teacher.