Essay Assessment across Content Areas

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Essay Assessment Across Content Areas Literacy is an important issue in education. It is vital that students of all ages demonstrate the skills of reading, writing, and communication. Curriculums across the state of New Jersey as well as through out parts of the United States push for ways of including literacy processes in every content area. Administrators and school officials see written and oral communication as abilities students should utilize in their social studies, science, and mathematics classrooms, not just in language arts, English, and foreign language. In order to expand the literacy of all pupils, school curriculums now include journals, essay examinations, timed writing, response questions, and open-ended questions across all subjects. Math teachers must now grade open-ended questions, science students write in journals detailing their experiences in laboratory work, while teachers of United States history lean towards essay tests in contrast to the multiple-choice exams of the past. Essays provide numerous benefits for both students and teachers. They enhance literacy and sharpen writing skills in many ways. For a truly enriched and engaging curriculum, every teacher must include essay and/or open-ended assessments. Test experts say, “essay tests do the best job of tapping students’ higher-level thought processes and creativity” in compared to other assessments like true/false or fill-in-the-blank, common objective tests (Arends 238). Through this form of evaluation, students express their thoughts in a complex style that highlights their points and ideas most effectively. Essays allow a student to explain his or her position in an argument, opinion of a text, decision in a problem set, and so on. They are not black and white, which leaves room for creativity. The student must engage his or her cognitive processes so that he or she demonstrates the thesis clearly. Answering objective-based questions, such as fill-in-the-blank, test a student’s ability to recall material learned in class. Essays, on the other hand, require that students apply what they learned in various ways. Students must demonstrate an understanding of the subject, not just an ability to regurgitate facts sponged into their brains during a lesson. A student with the capacity to explain himself in an essay employs a higher-level of cognitive process than one asked to decide whether a statement is true or false.
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