Level 6.9 Assessment Quizzes
The initial idea for assessment quizzes was to
have a set of ten tests that could be used at the beginning or the end
of each grade level. Further thought suggested a problem. Not all students
will be beginning or progressing through KISS at the same grade levels.
Thus, the assessment quizzes should probably be revised to match the new
organization of the grade-level books -- quizzes for each KISS Level at
each grade level. Developing those will take some time, and before I start
I want to be sure that the basic format of the levels works well. Meanwhile,
the quizzes in this section suggest what can be done.
unfortunately, a touchy question. The National Council of Teachers of English
abhors any content-based standards, and, as a result, any standards at
all. State Boards of Education are just as bad. They produce almost impenetrable
volumes of mush, but I have yet to see a state standards document that
even requires students to be able to identify subjects and verbs in sentences
written by their peers. The results of this are harmful, especially for
public school teachers. They are expected to improve students' ability
to read and write, but with no clearly identifiable standards for the students
to meet, the students cannot be held responsible for learning anything.
An objective of KISS
is to suggest a set of standards for grammar, but for the present, those
standards cannot be clearly identified with any specific grade level. If,
for example, students begin KISS in second grade, by the end of fourth
grade they could be expected to be able to identify the clause structure
of sentences that included simple adverbial, adjectival, and noun clauses.
But if students begin KISS in fourth grade, this would be an unreasonable
expectation. As developed on this site, KISS does begin in second grade,
and by the end of seventh, students could be expected to be able to explain
how any word in any sentence chunks to a main-clause S/V/C pattern. The
quizzes in this section are therefore set up for these objectives.
Parents who are home-schooling
really will not need these assessment quizzes. Working so closely with
their children, they will know what their children do and do not understand.
For classroom teachers, of course, the situation is very different. Assessment
quizzes can be used at the beginning of the year to enable teachers to
see what their new students, individually and as a group, do and do not
know. At the end of the year, assessment quizzes could become part of official
assessment. There are at least three different skills that should be assessed
within the KISS framework.
In a writing quiz, students
are asked to write sentences that include specific types of constructions
and to underline those constructions. In this type of quiz, point values
depend on the number of constructions that students are expected to write.
The following is a writing assessment quiz for KISS Level Three:
|Directions. For each of the following, write
a sentence that contains the indicated construction, and underline that
construction in your sentence. (10 each)
|1.) a predicate noun
2.) a prepositional phrase that functions as an adverb
3.) a prepositional phrase that functions as an adjective
4.) a compound subject
5.) compound main clauses
6.) a noun clause that functions as a direct object
7.) a noun clause that functions as a subject
8.) an adverbial clause
9.) an adjectival clause
10. a subordinate clause within a subordinate clause
"Writing" quizzes are important for checking to
see that students can recognize and consciously produce specific constructions,
but they will not fully reveal the students' ability to untangle the complicated
sentences that students will find in their reading--or themselves write.
To check for this, KISS offers a specific format for "Analysis Quizzes."
2. Analysis Quizzes
Like most of the KISS
identification exercises, "Analysis" quizzes are based on a short text.
The format, however, differs such that specific point values can be assigned
to different parts of the text. The sentences in the text should be numbered,
and the students should be given the text in a format (double-spaced) such
that they can analyze the text (parentheses, etc.) as they normally would.
In this format, the questions are divided into two sections.
The directions for the
I. Indicate the S/V/C pattern(s) of the main clause(s) in each
sentence and the words or constructions that fill the slots in those patterns.
the quiz based on a quotation from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar for
an example.) (At this point, you might also want to look at the
"Analysis Key" for this quiz.)
The directions for the second
II. Explain how each of the following words is related to its
basic pattern. Once you name a word that you have already explained, you
should stop. (x each)
In creating these quizzes, there are a couple of
things to keep in mind. Note, for example, that in making the Julius Caesar
quiz, I asked for "huge." In the key for this quiz, I noted that I would
expect students to tell me that "huge" is an adjective to "legs," that
"legs" is the object of the preposition "under" and that the prepositional
phrase functions as an adverb to "walk." Students should have given me
"walk" in the first section of the quiz, and thus they would here not only
have explained "huge," but also the prepositional phrase and the connection
to the main pattern.
The words in this section
of the quiz should be sequenced such that they move outward from the main
S/V/C pattern. Thus the Caesar quiz asks for "ourselves" and then "dishonorable."
In explaining "ourselves," students should connect it to the infinitive
(verbal) "to find," and then explain how the infinitive connects to the
basic pattern. Then, in explaining "dishonorable," students need only connect
it to "to find." (Note, by the way, that I would not expect students to
use complete sentences, or even complete words, in their explanations.)
Another thing to note
about this type of quiz is that some constructions can be avoided. Thus
I did not include "men" in the Caesar quiz because I would not expect students
at Level Three to recognize the somewhat unusual appositive. In adapting
the quizzes, or in creating your own, you may want to provide some words--with
their explanation. Thus "find" could have been added to the list, with
its explanation --
find -- infinitive (verbal) that functions
as an adverb to "walk" and "peep"
By providing this connection, you could still fairly
ask students to explain "ourselves" and "dishonorable."
A final note regards
the "keys." Throughout this explanation, for example, I have referred to
"find" as an "infinitive (verbal)." If you are familiar with the KISS Approach,
you know that although it provides a fairly clear sequence of instruction,
it also allows teachers a wide range of how and when to introduce different
constructions. If you are teaching fifth graders to identify verbals, but
not specifically infinitives, then you obviously should expect students
to use "verbal" in their explanation. On the other hand, if they have been
taught to identify infinitives, then you should expect "infinitive."
3. Testing for Procedures and Definitions
More than twenty years of teaching with
the KISS Approach have convinced me that most students major problem is
that they refuse to memorize the relatively few, but extremely important
procedures and definitions. Students often complain, for example, that
they cannot understand complements. But when I ask them to give me the
sequence for distinguishing complements, they cannot do so. That procedure
is relatively simple: If the complement describes the subject, it is a
predicate adjective. If it equals the subject (and the verb in any way
means "equals), the complement is a predicate noun. If the complement indicates
to or for whom something is done, the complement is an indirect object.
Any other complement has to be a direct object.
Similarly, students can rarely, if ever, untangle
a multi-clause sentence without knowing that a clause is "a subject / (finite)
verb / complement pattern and all the words that chunk to it." If our objective
is to enable students to analyze sentences so that they can intelligently
discuss them, then we need to reinforce the procedures and definitions
that students need to know. Including them on assessment quizzes not only
does that, in many cases it also clearly lets us know why and where students
are having problems.
A Combined Assessment Format
It should be obvious, but I'll mention it anyway.
The three things discussed above can be combined into one assessment quiz.
A green background in the left
column indicates that the quiz is in the printable
||From The Elson Readers Primer
||From Bunny Rabbit's Diary,
by Mary Frances Blaisdell
||From The Children's Own Readers
- Book Three
by Mary E. Pennell and Alice M. Cusack
||From McGuffey's Second Reader
the Evergreen Trees Never Lose their Leaves" from
The Book of Nature Myths by Florence
This one is difficult.