Hello there, teachers and students! Angela here from Custom Classroom, where our mission is to make test preparation simple. I’ve been delving into the released constructed response scoring guide for STAAR from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for grades 6th through 8th. In today’s blog post, I’m excited to break down the critical components that lead to a student scoring a perfect five on STAAR ECR or extended constructed response.
ECR portion of the STAAR test challenges students to craft in-depth, well-structured written responses. Let’s explore the key elements that make a five-point response.
If you prefer a visual and detailed explanation of the concepts discussed in this blog post, you can find all the information in our corresponding YouTube video. So, whether you’re a reader or a watcher, we’ve got you covered to help you ace the STAAR ECR!
The Components of Success Scoring a five on STAAR ECR requires a combination of skills and precision. The rubric has three points allocated for organization and development of ideas, while the remaining two points focus on conventions.
To make the STAAR ECR preparation even more accessible for teachers and students, we offer a free color-coded checklist. This checklist is an invaluable tool to help your students self-assess their responses and ensure they’ve incorporated all the necessary components to score a perfect five. It provides a clear and visual way for students to evaluate their work against the criteria we will discuss.
You can download this handy checklist for free by visiting the following link: Free STAAR ECR Checklist. It’s an excellent resource for both teachers and students to use throughout their practice and preparation.
Student Sample Response:
To illustrate these points effectively, let’s examine a student response that earned a perfect score. The writing prompt is derived from a passage called “Mission Ready,” which discusses the rigorous path to becoming a NASA astronaut and the demanding training they undergo.
The prompt reads: “Explain how the author develops the idea in the article that it is not easy to become a NASA astronaut.”
Organization and Development of Ideas (3 points)
A student response is more likely to score three points for organization and development of ideas when it includes the following key elements:
- A Clear Controlling Idea: The student must articulate a precise answer to the question in their introduction and conclusion. For instance, “Even after you make it into the NASA program, you have to go through harsh training before you get to go on your first mission.”
- Effective Introduction and Conclusion: While it’s preferable for the introduction and conclusion to be separate paragraphs, even when integrated, they should be clearly identifiable. The introduction can be brief but should hint at the topic’s focus. The student’s conclusion should concisely restate their answer.
- Maintaining Focus: The student needs to maintain a laser focus on their primary idea and effectively group their supporting details and explanations into the body of their response. Transition words such as “for example” or “though” help connect ideas within the response.
- Use of Quoted Evidence: To back their argument, students should incorporate directly quoted or paraphrased evidence from the passage. Citing paragraph numbers is a good practice.
- Explanation of Evidence: While including evidence is essential, explaining how the evidence specifically supports their answer is just as crucial.
- Word Choice: Students should be precise in their word choice and use vocabulary that closely mirrors the passage. Avoid being overly broad and be explicit in conveying ideas.
Consistency in Conventions (2 points)
In the conventions category, students need to demonstrate a consistent command of grade-level appropriate conventions. This encompasses aspects such as punctuation, capitalization, grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. While some advanced errors are acceptable, numerous mistakes can negatively impact the clarity of the response and affect its overall score.
To sum it up, achieving a perfect five on the STAAR ECR demands a well-structured response. Students should ensure a clear, controlling idea and an effective introduction and conclusion. While focusing on the primary idea, they should use transition words to connect their thoughts, include evidence from the passage, and explain how this evidence supports their argument. Precise word choice is essential, and students should edit their work for errors that may impede understanding.
Practice Makes Perfect If you’re seeking more opportunities to practice extended constructed response questions, feel free to explore our collection of free resources. Additionally, for a comprehensive understanding of the STAAR ECR and how it differs from the short constructed response (SCR), check out this blog post: Demystifying STAAR: ECR vs. SCR – How to Pass with Flying Colors.
For extra practice prompts, ECR tools, and video how-tos, visit our Teachers Pay Teachers store here. Your students will be well-prepared to tackle the STAAR ECR with confidence.
If you have any questions or need further guidance on ECR or any test preparation concerns, feel free to reach out. Good luck with your STAAR preparations!