COMMON CORE STANDARDS
Reading Informational Texts
RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RI.9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
RI.9-10.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
Reading in Science & Technical Subjects
RST.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
RST.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text’s explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
RST.9-10.3 Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.
RST.9-10.5 Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).
RST.9-10.7 Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).
RST.9-10.9 Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.
W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
W.9-10.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
DESCRIPTION OF ASSESSMENT
This grade 10 mini-assessment titled “Nowhere to Go” by Kathiann M. Kowalski cited on achievethecore.org is based on an article about the radioactive waste generated by nuclear power plants. It is intended to inform instruction about a student’s ability to engage in the close reading of complex text in order to demonstrate deep understanding. In this mini- assessment there are eleven text-dependent questions that address the Reading Standards listed above. There is also an optional constructed-response prompt, which is aligned to the Reading and Writing Standards. The writing prompt requires students to use the author’s objective reviews from the article and its graphics to provide details that demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy use. Students must then defend if the consequences of using nuclear energy outweigh the benefits.
Connecticut teachers are cautioned that although this mini-assessment is designed to be completed in one class period, you are encouraged to allow students additional time as necessary to read closely, answer the questions, and write to the source. It is strongly recommended that the writing prompt not be optional. Common Core Standard RST.9-10.4 (Reading in Science & Technical Subjects) should be added to the mini-assessment and “Question Annotations for Teachers” document since it is assessed in Questions #1 and #2.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
This mini-assessment is an exemplary example of how to design text-dependent questions aligned to specific Common Core Standards. It could be used in either English Language Arts or Science as a formative assessment at the start of a school year and/or to assess the growth in students’ abilities to engage in the close reading of a complex text. An annotated Teacher’s Guide for the assessment gives specific rationale for each answer option and lists which standards it addresses. There is an aligned rubric for the writing prompt as well as assessment guidelines. Information about determining text complexity (quantitative and qualitative data) is included with assessment materials.