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Florida Writing Assessment Program (FLORIDA WRITES!)

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Use of Results

Interpretations of the FLORIDA WRITES! achievement results are subject to several limitations. Writing achievement is limited in definition to the writing task completed during the assessment: during a 45-minute time period, students write in response to an assigned topic for the purposes of writing specified by the program without access to dictionaries or other reference materials. Because only one example of writing is collected from each student under these conditions, scores for individual students are not reliable measures of a student's general writing achievement. For each student, scores from the FLORIDA WRITES! must be considered in relation to how well the student writes when given a variety of classroom writing assignments.

The FLORIDA WRITES! results will provide a basis for identifying trends in writing over a period of several years, but do not provide an exact index of changes in performance from one year to the next year. The writing assessment employs one topic for each type of writing at each grade level. Because a topic given in any one year, by its nature, may be somewhat easier or harder for students to respond to than the topic given the previous year, differences seen in results from one year to the next are generally due to both differences in the difficulty of the topics as well as actual changes in student achievement. Performance tests like the Florida Writing Assessment that rely on the use of one topic do not lend themselves to statistical methods that can control for differences in the difficulty of the tests.

Taking into account these limitations, the results can assist in the identification of strengths and weaknesses in programs of writing instruction. Teachers and administrators may find it useful to examine the number of students scoring at different levels and the differences in student scores for each type of writing. The scores for students in a classroom or school can be interpreted in reference to sample student papers provided in the Florida Writes! publications for each grade level assessed and other materials available from the Department. Student writing performance can be further evaluated through carefully designed classroom or schoolwide writing assignments.

The FLORIDA WRITES! results do not represent a comprehensive evaluation of writing instruction programs. The FLORIDA WRITES! does not measure all important aspects of writing. For example, student achievement in writing an extended manuscript or a report involving detailed information is currently not measured by the FLORIDA WRITES!. A comprehensive evaluation of student writing would take into consideration writing for a number of purposes under different conditions and would utilize information from a number of sources, such as student portfolios, classroom teacher observations, and interviews with students.

Next FLORIDA WRITES! Item: District and State Results