% scoring "Advanced":
4% of white students
5% of Asian students
0% of black students
1% of Hispanic students.
5% of students whose parents had college degrees scored in the Advanced range.
5% scoring Advanced would be fine if "Advanced" meant Advanced. But it doesn't. "Advanced" on NAEP means 3% of high school seniors are able to write a coherent statement on the subject of:
- Story or personal narrative about real/imagined difficult choice
- Essay about technology important to student
- Letter persuading council to build/not build convenience store
From The Nation’s Report Card: Writing 2011:
Sample Task: Writing to explainThis student, who is certainly a competent "personal" writer, has advanced a thesis: video games are valuable for more than entertainment.
When writing to explain, the task of the writer is to bring together relevant information and to present this information with focus and clarity so that the topic becomes understandable to a reader. The sequence of ideas, and how ideas are arranged, must cohere and contribute to the communicative purpose.
One of the writing tasks from the twelfth-grade assessment asked students to write about a type of technology that they use in their lives and why they value that technology. The Value of Technology task began with a short video about young people’s use of technology. This video included animation and statistics about technology use. The written part of the task then specified an audience for students to address in explaining the value of a particular technology. Responses were rated using a scoring guide ranging from “Little or no skill” to “Effective.”
The sample student response shown below was rated as “Effective” in responding to the task about the value of technology. After an opening paragraph that defines video games and introduces the ideas to be developed throughout, the writer constructs the explanation primarily through use of personal experience. This approach skillfully communicates the value of video games through the use of detailed descriptions of specific games and what the writer has learned from them. Ideas are fully developed, and the rich use of explanatory details establishes a distinct voice speaking intelligently from experience. This response demonstrates skills associated with performance at the Advanced level. Twelfth-grade students at this level are able to craft responses that strategically accomplish the communicative purpose.
Student response - Grade 12 - Advanced
Videogames are a primary source of entertainment for people of all ages. Videogames are discs or cartridges that hold data; once a disc or cartridege is inserted into a gaming console, the data is read and displayed on the screen along with prompts that allow the game to be played. Games have many genres ranging from fighting to educational and can be used for than just mere entertainment. I personally have been experiencing what videogames have to offer for over five years now. Gaming is not just something that people do for fun, people can play videogames for many reasons. Videogames are an important factor in many peoples lives including mine and are a valuable type of technology.
I have been playing videogames from a very young age. Mario was the first game I was ever introduced to and it was not through playing; through sheer coincidence my mother realized that the theme music to Mario put me to sleep as a baby. Once I was old enough to hold a controller I began playing the game. Ever since that moment I have been playing videogames. Games are multi-purposed; to some it is merely a form of entertainment, but to others it could be their job. Some people argue that games are a waste of time and that they are not product. I beg to differ; games are important to me because not only do they give me something to do to pass time but they are also educational. A prime example of this is a game I was introduced to by my cousins, Runescape. When I was about thirteen I had went to see my cousins up state and I saw them playing this browser game called Runescape (a browser game is a game that can be played within an internet browser without the need to download or upload information from a disc or cartridge). Me being the person I am, I was curious as to what it was so I began to ask questions. By the end of the day I learned two things about that game, two things that to some gamers, were their favorite word. It was a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game) that was free; in essence it was a free gamethat I didn’t have to download and I could do basically whatever I wanted that was allowed in the game. Within the game you could do any of the various skills offered, quests, and even fight against other players from around the world with you’re avatar. Once I got home, I of course signed up and began to play. Throughout the few years I played that game I realized it was set in Medieval times and I learned many things about that age. I learned the process it takes to turn ore into metal, what smelting is, how leather is crafted into clothing, how clay is used, and some of the politics of Medieval civilizations throughout the quests of the game. Although I would spend hours on this game and it seemed like I was doing nothing, I infact was actually learning.
Another game my cousins introduced to me was Age of Mythology. The game was a PC game(which means it had to be bought and it contained disc which had to upload the game onto you’re computer or device and then the game could be played) and I had played it at my cousins and eventually went on to buy it. If mythology was a subject in school, this game could be the teacher. This game focuses around Greek, Egyptian and Norse mythology. You follow the antagonists (which you name) through all three civilizations chasing an evil minotaur that is attempting to end the world. You begin in a fictional Greek city and eventually move throughout the world. This game teaches any of it’s players not only how armies from all three civilazations worked but those civilazations major Gods, minor Gods, demigods and mythological creatures. Stories based on mythology or fact are also told and experienced throughout the game; such as the Trojan Horse and Ragnorak. I have never picked up a book based on mythology or ancient Gods but because of this game I have an extensive knowledge of the mythology of those three cultures. Games are important in society; they give people a hobby and peace of mind. They can also be used for educational purposes. Toddlers no longer read books to learn how to read, write, and spell, they are given toys and games to play. Games hold a high position in society and can be beneficial to those who use them if they wish to use them in that way.
In support of his thesis (I'm assuming the writer is male), he tells us that he learned "the process it takes to turn ore into metal, what smelting is, how leather is crafted into clothing, how clay is used, and some of the politics of Medieval civilizations" from a video game. This knowledge he acquired over a number of years and many hours of play.
In the next paragraph he tells us that although he has "never picked up a book based on mythology or ancient Gods" he nonetheless possesses "an extensive knowledge of the mythology of [Greek, Egyptian, and Norse] cultures" thanks to another video game. He provides no further detail as to what this knowledge consists of, or how long it took him to acquire it.
Essentially, the evidence this writer offers in support of his thesis boils down to: I remember stuff I saw in my video games.
The essay concludes with the assertion that "toddlers no longer read books to learn how to read, write, and spell." The writer offers no evidence to support this claim and seems not to know the meaning of the word "toddler." Toddlers have never read books, now or in the past, because toddlers are too young to read. They can't play video games, either, for that matter.
For my money, this essay is pretty much the exact opposite of what an Advanced high school senior should be able to produce in timed writing.