MacArthur students will take the District Writing Assessment on January 26

The 2016-17 District Writing Assessment will be given about a month later, allowing more time to prepare.

“The District Writing Assessment is the only time each year students will have to produce an on-demand essay that will be recorded,” said Language Arts Department Chair Mr. Gregory Celestino

On Thursday January 26 all MacArthur students are required to take the District Writing Assessment, D.W.A., during a period 2 testing schedule.  This year the D.W.A. will be in January instead of December.  Both Celestino and Assistant Principal Mr. Craig Johnson are helping prepare students and staff for the assessment.

According to Celestino, the D.W.A. is a timed test.  That means when the 90 minutes are up, students will be scored on whatever is on the paper. The test will continue on paper, unlike the language arts benchmarks because of the unique scoring practice for the D.W.A.  

Teachers from MacArthur Fundamental Intermediate School are not allowed to score any of MacArthur’s essays.  Instead, two teachers from other school sites will have to agree on whether the essay exceeds standards, meets standards, almost meets standards, or does not meets standards.  Currently, there is no way for two teachers to randomly score an essay from another site, digitally.  

To record the scores, each student is given a bubble sheet with their name and ID number already on it.  Their bubble sheets will be placed with their essays on the testing day.  Johnson’s job is to make sure every student has a scantron to match the essay.

According to Celestino, language arts teachers have already been preparing their students for the D.W.A.  It takes teachers a whole unit, with several hours of planning to get students prepared for this important test.  For students, they will likely be writing one to three practice essays to get ready, depending on their language arts teacher.  

According to Language Arts teacher Mrs. Cristina Barber, if students pass the test they will also receive a signature in their All Star Sheet. Barber feels confident about taking the test later than last few years because it will give her more time to practice with her students.  Her classes have completed two essays to become prepared.  

“Make the words that flow from your head and heart move your audience in the direction you wish,” said Barber

Each year, the Santa Ana Unified Writing and Curriculum Committee prepare these assessments.  The committee is a group of teachers from other intermediate schools, and they meet several times to create the D.W.A.  For seventh and eighth graders, they get their results the third week of February, and sixth graders will receive their results the first week of March.  If students are absent on January 26, there will be a few makeup opportunities for the test.