|The purpose of Gwinnett’s Gateway Assessment Program is to measure student progress in Gwinnett’s essential curriculum, the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS). The Gwinnett County Board of Education implemented the assessment as part of the school system’s mission to “pursue excellence in academic knowledge, skills, and behavior for each student resulting in measured improvement against local, national, and world class standards.” The writing portion of the program is administered in two phases, beginning with the Georgia Grade 5 Writing Assessment (March) or the Georgia Grade 8 Writing Assessment (January). The second phase, a GCPS Writing Retest, is administered to students who do not meet or exceed the standards for the Georgia Grade 5/8 Writing Assessment. Retests are administered in both May and at the end of summer school.|
Nature of the Writing Assignment
The assessment provides broad coverage of writing objectives that appear in the Georgia Performance Standards and the corresponding Gwinnett County AKS. The GCPS Grade 5/8 Writing Retest consists of the on-demand responses to a single prompt, assessing one of three genres for Grade 5: persuasion, exposition, or narration. For Grade 8, students respond to a prompt from either the persuasive or the expository genres. Each student’s response is evaluated for four qualities of effective writing. The domains are Ideas, Organization, Style, and Conventions. The domains are described below.
Domain Descriptions and Components
Domain 1: IDEAS. The degree to which the writer establishes a controlling idea and elaborates the main points with examples, illustrations, facts, or details that are appropriate to the assigned genre.
Domain 2: ORGANIZATION. The degree to which the writers ideas are arranged in a clear order and the overall structure of the response is consistent with the assigned genre.
Domain 3: STYLE. The degree to which the writer controls language to engage the reader.
Domain 4: CONVENTIONS. The degree to which the writer demonstrates control of sentence formation, usage, and mechanics.
Scoring Procedures and Types of Scores
Analytic and Holistic Scoring
The scoring system is analytic. Analytic scoring simply means that more than one feature (domain) of a paper is evaluated. Each domain itself is scored holistically. The score assigned indicates the rater’s overall impression of the writer’s command of the components, using predetermined scoring criteria contained in the Scoring Rubrics for each domain.
The Score Scale:
The score scale is a five-point scale. Each one of the domains of effective writing is evaluated separately and assigned a score of “1” (lowest), “2,” “3,” “4,” or “5” (highest). The scale is a continuum representing a range of quality. Each score point on the continuum is defined by domain-specific scoring guidelines.