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HSPA Preparation. Spring 2013. Language Arts HSPA. Distribute overview handout. Points needed to be proficient Points needed to be advanced proficient. Reading. Reading Scores. 10 Multiple-Choice Questions Best answer, not correct answer 1 point each 2 Open-Ended Responses

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Hspa preparation

HSPA Preparation

Spring 2013

Distribute overview handout
Distribute overview handout

  • Points needed to be proficient

  • Points needed to be advanced proficient

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 paragraph 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 multiple-choice 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

  • Use process of elimination to help narrow down the choices

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

  • Look at pages 32-33

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 part of the question in your response (use the same words)

  • Use specific information from the passage (especially direct quotations) in your responses


  • Look at pages 32-33

  • Underline key words in the prompt

  • Number all of the items in the prompt that you need to answer

  • Bracket the answers in the text

  • Answer all of the items that need to be answered, including quotations in the answers

  • Number the parts of your answers to make sure you answered everything

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 controversial:

    • School uniforms: yes or no?

    • 12-month school year: yes or no?

    • Mandatory drug testing: yes or no?

Persuasive writing1
Persuasive Writing

  • Pre-writing strategy:

  • P: prompt (figure it out!)

  • B: brainstorm (t-chart – for and against)

  • S: stance (what is it?)

  • M: main ideas (identify three)

  • Come up with a mnemonic device to remember these steps!

Persuasive writing step 1
Persuasive Writing: Step 1

  • Look at the prompt on p. 29

  • Identify key words and phrases in the prompt

  • Put the prompt in your own words

Persuasive writing step 2
Persuasive Writing: Step 2

  • Step 2: Select your stance

    • Use a T-chart to list main ideas for and against the issue

    • Decide upon your stance

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

      Practice with the prompt on p. 29

Persuasive writing step 3
Persuasive Writing: Step 3

  • Step 3: Choose three solid reasons to support your position

    • Make sure they do not overlap in any way

    • You will explain each reason in a separate body paragraph

      Practice: Are these three reasons good ones?

      1. It helps them with their grades.

      2. It gives them time to study.

      3. It allows them to get plenty of sleep.

      How could you fix this list?

Persuasive writing step 4
Persuasive Writing: Step 4

  • Step 4: Write your introductory paragraph

    1. Use an attention-grabbed to show why your reader should care about this topic (fact or statistic, anecdote, question, or quotation)

    A 2010 study found that 57% of all teenagers in New Jersey do not get at least seven hours of sleep during the week.

    2. Use a transition that connects the attention-grabber to the thesis

    Schools must address this problem, and one way is by limiting the time spent on after-school activities.

    3. State your position in a clear thesis

    Students should not be allowed to participate in after-school activities after 6 p.m. because…

    4. List your three reasons in one sentence

    …students need time to study, need to spend time with their families, and need to get enough sleep.

Persuasive writing step 5
Persuasive Writing: Step 5

  • Step 5: Write your body paragraphs

    • Topic sentences need to identify the paragraph’s main idea

    • Give evidence to support each reason:

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

      • Statistics can be created, but should be believable (ex. Students who do not get at least seven hours of sleep each night are 30% more likely to fail at least one class.)

    • Explain how the evidence supports the reason

    • Finish each paragraph with a concluding sentence

Persuasive writing step 6
Persuasive Writing: Step 6

  • Step 6: Write your conclusion paragraph

    • Clearly restate your position

    • Summarize each of the main ideas from your essay

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

    • Finish your essay by connecting back to the attention-grabbing device you used in your essay

      Having 57% of all teenagers in New Jersey not getting at least seven hours of sleep during the week is an issue that cannot be ignored. Stopping after-school activities at 6 p.m. can help reduce this percentage, and it might increase grades in the process.

Persuasive writing step 7
Persuasive Writing: Step 7

  • Step 7: 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 then correct them in the margins

    • This essay is scored as a rough-draft

An advanced proficient essay
An Advanced Proficient Essay…

  • Has a clear thesis

  • Presents 3 different, logical, well-chosen reasons

  • Has reasons that are very well developed by detailed explanations, examples, descriptions, and statistics

  • Has ideas that are logically arranged and well connected by advanced transitions

  • Uses successful compositional risks, including:

  • Defeating opponent’s argument

  • Rhetorical questions

  • Parallel structure

  • Advanced vocabulary words

  • Allusion

  • Alliteration

  • Metaphor

  • Simile

  • Imagery

  • Strong cohesive devices

  • Anecdotes

Expository writing
Expository Writing

  • 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 as strong as its weakest link.

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

  • 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 having to face failure.

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

      This statement holds the truth of life. Of course, not having to run into mistakes would be a dream come true. However, at the same time, it would also be my own loss.

    • State your interpretation of the quote, adage or topic in a thesis statement. Take some kind of stance on the issue.

      • Every single challenge a person encounters happens for a reason. A “path with no obstacles” is not natural. No matter what everyone thinks, obstacles are necessary in everyone’s path to success.

Expository writing step 4
Expository Writing: Step 4

  • Step 4: Write your 2 (or more) 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 to which he applied.

      • 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 a 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 (should tie back to the introduction)

      • A path without obstacles probably does not lead somewhere worthwhile. Paths in life are made up of mistakes. I failed in my youth, and I will probably fail many more times. To tell the truth, without failure, I do not know where I would have ended up. However, I can honestly say this: it would not be as good of a place as where I currently am.

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 then correct them in the margins

    • This essay is scored as a rough-draft

Expository writing practice
Expository Writing: Practice

  • Apply steps 1-2 to the prompt on p. 28

  • Step 1: identify key words and rephrase the prompt

  • Step 2: brainstorm possible topics

    • One literary or historical example

    • One personal example

Writing scores
Writing Scores

  • Use Registered Holistic Scoring Rubric (RHSR)

    • 6-point rubric

    • Greatest focus on content and organization

  • 2 Independent Scorers

    • Keep in mind your audience (humor, pop culture)

    • They read through the essays very quickly

    • Two independent scores are averaged

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

    • You want at least a 3 and a 4 to pass

    • You want a 5 and a 6 to be advanced proficient

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 your locker

  • Slowly and carefully read directions and questions

  • Do not leave any answers blank

  • Pace yourself during the test so you don’t run out of time (be mindful of the time)

  • Try to relax