Standard Writing Assessment Story Starters
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Being able to communicate thoughts and ideas in writing is a fundamental basic skill that is valuable throughout life. From leaving notes for family members, to writing term papers and theses, writing skills are fundamental. Assessment of writing or written expression skills is typically viewed as something that is complex, time consuming and subjective. All three of these assessment characteristics are problematic for frequent progress monitoring, which, by its nature, needs to be as simple as possible, time-efficient, and objective.
More than 30 years ago, educational scientists sought to identify reliable and valid ways of assessing elementary students’ written expression skills that would allow frequent progress monitoring. The results of this research resulted in a testing practice called Written Expression-Curriculum-Based Measurement (WE-CBM).
School-based research (Deno, Marston, & Mirkin, 1982; Deno et al., 1982; Marston, 1989; Marston & Deno, 1981; Marston, Lowry, Deno, & Mirkin, 1981;Videen, Deno, & Marston, 1982) has shown that having students write a story for 3 minutes given an age-appropriate story starter is a reliable and valid general outcome measure of general written expression for typically achieving students through Grade 6 and for students with severe writing problems.