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HSPA Preparation. Spring 2013. Language Arts HSPA. Reading. Reading Scores. 10 Multiple Choice Questions Best answer, not correct answer 1 point each 2 Open-Ended Responses Multiple questions in each At least one sentence for each bullet point 4 points each

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Hspa preparation

HSPA Preparation

Spring 2013




Reading scores
Reading Scores

  • 10 Multiple Choice Questions

    • Best answer, not correct answer

    • 1 point each

  • 2 Open-Ended Responses

    • Multiple questions in each

    • At least one sentence for each bullet point

    • 4 points each

  • IMPORTANT: Open-ended responses can make or break your score. Don’t leave them blank!


Reading multiple choice
Reading: Multiple Choice

  • Unlike other M.C. tests, there is not only one right answer

  • The HSPA assesses critical thinking, so you have to choose the BEST answer from several correct answers

  • Answer easiest questions first, then go back and answer more difficult questions

  • Use process of elimination to help narrow down the choices

  • Do not leave any answers blank—if you have no idea, you should GUESS!


Reading open ended responses
Reading: Open-Ended Responses

  • Each reading passage will have 2 open-ended responses

  • Each open-ended response includes several parts: YOU MUST ANSWER EACH PART!

  • Your response must be one paragraph in length for each part of the question

  • Restate at least part of the question in your response

  • Use specific information from the passage (such as quotations) in your responses


Additional open ended responses suggestions
Additional Open-Ended Responses Suggestions

  • When reading the open-ended response prompts, number the different components

  • Then, when writing your response, number each answer to remind yourself of the focus

  • Use direct quotations from the passage (“that look like this”) in your responses to increase your score

  • HIGH SCORES: Students get higher scores for using important key words from questions in their responses.



Persuasive writing
Persuasive Writing

  • You will be asked to take a position and support it in a convincing, 5-paragraph response;

  • Topics are usually school-related and somewhat controversial:

    • School uniforms: yes or no?

    • 12-month school year: yes or no?

    • Mandatory drug testing: yes or no?

  • If you follow the formula, you will do well


Persuasive writing step 1
Persuasive Writing: Step 1

TOPIC: Should Physical Education be a graduation requirement?

  • Step 1: Take a clear position

    • Choose only one side, not both

    • For 5-15 minutes, use a T chart to decide on your position and brainstorm possible reasons

    • Pick the position that you can best defend, not the one you most agree with

      Practice with topic above by filling out T chart.


Persuasive writing step 2
Persuasive Writing: Step 2

  • Step 2: Choose 3 good reasons to support your position

    • Make sure they do not overlap in any way

    • Explain each reason in a separate body paragraph

      Practice: Are these three reasons good?

      1. It gets students to exercise.

      2. It helps kids stay fit.

      3. It promotes teamwork.

      How could you fix this list?


Persuasive writing step 3
Persuasive Writing: Step 3

  • Step 3: Write your introductory paragraph

    1. State your position in a clear thesis

    Physical education should remain a graduation requirement.

    2. List your three reasons in one sentence

    Students benefit from Phys. Ed. by exercising regularly, learning how to compete, and becoming part of a team.

    3. Use an attention-getting sentence to show why your reader should care about this topic

    With obesity on the rise in our country, physical education is more important than ever.


Persuasive writing step 4
Persuasive Writing: Step 4

  • Step 4: Write your body paragraphs

    • Topic sentences should focus on each paragraph’s main reason

    • Give evidence to support each reason:

      • Personal examples, facts, statistics, anecdotes, etc.

      • Statistics should be believable, but don’t have to be 100% true: (ex. Students who do not participate in any physical activity are 40% more likely to develop high cholesterol.)

    • Explain how the evidence supports the reason

    • Finish each paragraph with a concluding sentence


Persuasive writing step 5
Persuasive Writing: Step 5

  • Step 5: Write your conclusion paragraph

    • Restate your position clearly

    • Summarize each of the main reasons from your essay

    • Use different words and phrases from the ones you used in the introductory and body paragraphs

    • Finish your essay with a sentence that clinches the argument


Persuasive writing step 6
Persuasive Writing: Step 6

  • Step 6: Revise & Edit

    • For 5-15 minutes, carefully read what you have written

    • Usage, sentence construction and mechanics do count: check for correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, subject-verb agreement, etc.

    • Use the yellow “Writer’s Checklist” as a reminder

    • You can erase or cross out mistakes, and correct them in the margins

    • This essay is scored as a rough-draft


An advanced proficient essay
An Advanced Proficient Essay…

  • Has a clear statement of the position (thesis)

  • Presents 3 different, logical, well-chosen reasons

  • Reasons are very well developed by detailed explanations, examples, descriptions, statistics, etc.

  • Ideas are well connected by using transitional devices and arranged logically, arrangement is reinforced by skillful choice of words

  • Writer uses successful compositional risks and writing devices which include:

  • Defeating opponent’s argument

  • Rhetorical questions

  • Parallel structure

  • Verbal sophistication

  • Allusion

  • Alliteration

  • Metaphor

  • Simile

  • Imagery

  • Strong cohesive devices

  • Anecdotes


Expository writing
Expository Writing

  • You will be asked to write (at least) a 4-paragraph expository essay, similar to the SAT Writing prompt;

  • Topics are usually based on famous quotations, adages, or universally accessible topics;

    • “To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.” Bertrand Russell

    • A chain is a strong as its weakest link.

    • Often, the things in life most worth having are the most difficult to come by.

  • Remember, this is NOT a narrative writing prompt; EXPLAIN your analysis of the prompt.


Expository writing step 1
Expository Writing: Step 1

TOPIC: An anonymous author once said, “If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Using examples from literature, history, science, film, or your own experience or observation, write an essay analyzing this quotation and its meaning.

  • Step 1: Read the prompt carefully and make sure you understand what it is asking you to do.

    • Underline/circle key words

    • Think about how to put the quotation/adage in your own words


Expository writing step 2
Expository Writing: Step 2

  • Step 2: Brainstorm the reasons/examples you will use to explain your analysis of the quotation

    • For five minutes, make a list of the possible examples you could use;

    • Think about possible examples from the following:

      • Literature (books, short stories, etc.)

      • History (battles, events, people, etc.)

      • Science (famous people, innovations, etc.)

      • Film (characters, plot lines, etc.)

      • Personal experience/observation

        • REMEMBER, don’t slip into narrative; keep your tone academic.


Expository writing step 3
Expository Writing: Step 3

  • Step 3: Write your introductory paragraph (5 minutes)

    • Grab the reader’s attention;

    • Integrate the quote, adage or topic;

      • A “path with no obstacles” would certainly be most people’s dream come true. Imagine living life with no problems. Imagine finding success without have to face failure.

    • Explain the meaning of the quote, adage or topic in your own words;

      • To me, this quote holds the truth of life. Of course, not having to run into mistakes would be a dream come true for me. But at the same time, it would also be my own loss.

    • State your interpretation of the quote, adage or topic in a thesis statement.

      • Every single challenge one encounters happens for a reason. A “path with no obstacles” is not natural. Whether everyone thinks, obstacles are necessary in everyone’s path to succeed.


Expository writing step 4
Expository Writing: Step 4

  • Step 4: Write your 2+ body paragraphs (5 minutes each)

    • Use transition words/phrases to guide the organization;

    • Topic sentences should provide focus for each paragraph;

    • Include specific and vivid details from literature, history, science, film or personal experience:

      • Albert Einstein, for instance, was rejected from the first college he applied to.

      • Throughout elementary school, I did well with little effort. It was not until I had difficulty in high school that I learned the importance of preparation and time management.

    • Explain how your details support your thesis;

    • Finish each paragraph with a concluding sentence.

  • No more than one body paragraph should focus on personal example.


Expository writing step 5
Expository Writing: Step 5

  • Step 5: Write your conclusion paragraph (5 minutes)

    • Generate final remarks without introducing new examples

    • Unify and summarize your ideas

    • Remind the audience of your main points/thesis

    • Use a clincher (could tie back to the intro)

      • A path without obstacles probably does not lead somewhere because there is no where to lead to. Paths in life are made up of mistakes. I failed in my youth and I will probably fail many more times. To tell you the truth, without failure, I do not know where I would have ended up. But, I can honestly say this: it would not be as good of a place.


Expository writing step 6
Expository Writing: Step 6

  • Step 6: Revise & Edit

    • For 5 minutes, carefully read what you have written

    • Usage, sentence construction and mechanics do count: check for correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, subject-verb agreement, etc.

    • Use the yellow “Writer’s Checklist” as a reminder

    • You can erase or cross out mistakes, and correct them in the margins

    • This essay is scored as a rough-draft


Writing scores
Writing Scores

  • Use Registered Holistic Scoring Rubric (RHSR)

    • 6 point rubric

    • Greatest focus on content and organization

  • 2 Independent Scorers

    • Out-of-state and not teachers

    • On average, they spend 3 minutes on each essay

    • Two independent scores are averaged

    • If there is more than one point separating them, a third reader scores the essay

    • Must receive at least a 3 and a 4 to pass

    • Advanced proficient must score at least a 5 and a 6


General testing tips
General Testing Tips

  • Get a good night’s sleep

  • Dress comfortably

  • Eat protein-packed breakfast (peanut butter, yogurt, etc.)

  • Leave cell phone at home or in locker

  • Read directions and questions slowly and carefully

  • Do easiest questions first, then go back to hard ones

  • Do not leave any answers blank

  • Pace yourself during the test so you don’t run out of time

  • Try to relax…


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