How Can I Use Utah Compose to Help Students Prepare for the State Summative Assessment?

Utah Compose is designed to support the teaching and learning of writing by providing automated scores and feedback to students' writing. Unlike summative assessment, Utah Compose is not intended for evaluating student learning at the end of an instructional period. However, by providing increased writing practice opportunities students need to improve writing quality, Utah Compose can help students prepare to demonstrate what they know and can do on end of year assessments. In fact, researchers have linked the use of automated writing evaluation (AWE) tools with higher performance on large-scale writing assessments. 

Summative assessments require on-demand writing, which differs from process writing used during the school year. On-demand writing need not be polished; the content, such as organization and elaboration, is most important. Utah Compose can be configured to assign on-demand writing tasks, providing students the opportunity to practice the kind of writing expected on a summative test. 

To make the most of Utah Compose during the school year, ensure your students have ample writing practice opportunities to write for multiple purposes with increasing complexity. As the end-of-year assessments draw near, consider the additional following strategies for using Utah Compose effectively:

  • Create Similar Prompts: Create prompts that are similar in structure and complexity to those on your state's end-of-year assessment, providing relevant reading passages or visual aids as stimulus materials. 
  • Develop Constructed Response Prompts: Craft prompts to elicit short-answer responses, emphasizing complete and concise answers.
  • Simulate Testing Conditions: Provide students with on-demand writing practice by setting due dates, enabling timers, and controlling the number of drafts allowed for a prompt. Consider delaying grammar and spelling feedback to encourage students to focus any revisions on higher-level concerns. 
  • Analyze Utah Compose Reports: Use the Utah Compose Reports to identify areas where your students may benefit from additional instruction or support. 
  • Utilize Utah Compose Lessons: Make use of Utah Compose's lessons to reinforce writing skills for the entire class, small groups, or individual students. 
  • Encourage Revision: Allow students to revise their essays using both PEG feedback and teacher guidance. Monitor their progress using Utah Compose Reports. Encourage students to generalize and transfer feedback to improve subsequent initial drafts. 
  • Simulate Test Conditions Again: Create another prompt that closely resembles the actual testing situation, disabling the multiple drafts feature to create an on-demand writing assignment.

If used intentionally, Utah Compose will provide valuable assessment data, indicating the extent to which students are prepared and identifying areas for improvement. Have conversations with students about how practicing with Utah Compose can enhance their writing skills and aid in their preparation. Make sure that students understand the purpose and format of the assessment and how Utah Compose aligns with these objectives. 

In sum, incorporating these strategies will help students practice writing under test-like conditions, fostering confidence and readiness for upcoming state assessments.