Dist. 25 Puts Focus on Writing Skills

Article excerpt

Byline: Dorothy Weber

Last Saturday, 32 of our students participated in the Northwest Suburban Young Authors Conference, a workshop where selected students meet with professional writers to work on writing skills and learn about the writing profession.

The work these students did would probably remind many of us of the composition assignments from our school days.

In Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 and in schools across the state, writing instruction has changed during the past decade.

The Illinois Goal Assessment Program (IGAP) testing includes a writing component for all students in grades 3, 6, 8 and 10. It includes three types of writing: narrative, expository and persuasive. These types of writing are the most common types of writing done by adults. Most of us write to tell, explain or convince.

The introduction of the IGAP writing test has caused schools to rethink their writing instruction, emphasizing writing skills that will be applicable to real-life experiences.

IGAP writing tests are "graded" using a rubric, or set of numbers, to rate various components of the writing.

Points are awarded in five different areas: focus - how the main idea or point of view is presented and maintained; support/elaboration - how well the main point is supported or explained; organization - the clarity of the flow of ideas; conventions - use of standard punctuation and grammar; and integration - how effectively the paper addresses the assignment. …