UNION COUNTY — All students in grades 3 through 8 enrolled in Union County Schools will take the statewide PASS (Palmetto Assessment of State Standards) writing exam Tuesday and Wednesday, March 19 and 20. Local school officials encourage students to get a good night’s rest, eat a good breakfast, and get to school on time to begin testing.
The two-day writing test is administered in March to allow time for scoring the compositions so that results can be released in June. In May, students will also be tested in reading and research (formerly called English Language Arts), math, science, and social studies. PASS is designed to assess student weaknesses and strengths in the core subject areas as well as to identify how many students are meeting state standards. Test results are also one criterion used to determine if districts and schools have met yearly federal accountability standards as established in the No Child Left Behind Act.
On Tuesday, March 19, each student in grades 3 through 8 will write an essay from a broad-based question. A sample question — not a real one — developed by state officials asks students to write on the following topic: “Most people have a favorite teacher. What makes a good teacher? In a well-developed composition, describe a great teacher and explain what makes this person so outstanding.” The essays will be graded based on the following dimensions as indicated on the state writing rubric: content development, organization, voice, and conventions of grammar.
On Wednesday, March 20, students will take a multiple choice test designed to measure skills in specific areas including grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization. All tests will be sent to Data Recognition Corp., a Minnesota firm that contracts with departments of education nationwide for test processing.
If you have additional questions, please contact your child’s principal.