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Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section – Writing and Language Test

 

The ability to read, write, understand, and use language properly to edit and correct passages are the important aspects of the Writing and Language Test in the Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT Assessment. The Writing and Language Test is one of two parts of the SAT Assessment’s Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section. The other part is the Reading Test. When students take the Writing and Language Test, they will read passages and become editors to correct, improve and explain what they have read. Students will use their knowledge of grammar, punctuation, frequently confused words, and their ability to express ideas clearly and logically to answer the questions. Four passages and 44 multiple-choice questions will be used to demonstrate the student’s knowledge of these skills. Some questions ask students to locate a piece of information or an idea stated directly to see if it could be stated more clearly. All questions can be answered directly from reading the passages and understanding what students have read. In other words, students will have to read critically to see if the words covey the intended thoughts and ideas. Teachers and students should utilize the tips and tricks discussed here to optimize the student’s opportunity to score their best on the SAT Assessment Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section’s Writing and Language Test.

 

The SAT Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing Section breakdown and Scoring

 

The Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section is scored between 200 – 800 points. If students fill in their name and do not answer a single question on either of the two tests, they will score a 200 on this section. The SAT Scaled Score for this section is a composite score from the two different tests in this section. The total number of multiple-choice questions answered correctly on the Reading Test will translate into an SAT Scaled Score for the Reading Test. The total number of multiple-choice questions answered correctly on the Writing and Language Test will translate into an SAT Scaled Score for the Writing and Language Test. Those two SAT Scaled Scores will be added together and multiplied by 10 to get the overall SAT Scaled Score for the Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section. A complete explanation of how the how the SAT Assessment is scored can be found at: Practice Test Scores Worksheet

 

Our Plan to Help with the SAT Assessment

 

INcompassing Education knows how important it is for Administrators, Teachers, Students, and Parents to have quick easy reference guides to help them understand the SAT Assessment Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section’s Writing and Language Test. This guide will provide the best way for students to prepare and practice for the Writing and Language Test. It is divided into two parts. The first part of the Writing and Language Test quick reference sheet has the important information everyone needs. It identifies what will be included in the 4 different passages, the specifics about how many questions, pacing while taking the tests, the writing and language skills that will be assessed, and different tips and trick students can use to ensure their best possible scores on the Writing and Language Test. Teachers should give students a variety of different types of passages, some of which include charts and graphs. Students can use these to practice reading and analyzing each type of passage. The second part of the assessment is the specific English/Language Arts topics that are covered in the SAT Assessment Writing and Language Test. Teachers should use it to identify the Indiana Academic Standards for English/Language Arts that they need to prioritize for their instruction throughout English 9, 10, and 11. Becoming familiar with this information and these facts will help schools and students improve their SAT Assessment Scale scores. The overall goal for these quick reference sheets is for all students to achieve their best possible score and allow them to achieve their dreams and aspirations as they move past high school!

⇒ The Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section on the SAT Assessment is broken down into the following two tests with the information given on each section:

 

Test Section Total Minutes for this Section Total Number of Question Total Number of Passages Multiple-Choice Questions per Passage Pacing: Minutes per Passage
Evidenced-Based Reading 65 52 5 10 – 11

per passage

13 min./passage

1-1¼ min./question

Writing and Language 35 44 4 11

per passage

9 min./passage

45 sec./question

Total 100 96 9

 

Khan Academy is the Official College Board preparation partner for the SAT Assessment. They have many practice problems and multiple complete practice SAT Assessments. Teachers and Students can sign up for free to access the preparation materials. Try this before purchasing supplemental materials.

⇒ The 4 passages on the SAT Assessment Writing and Language Test will be on the following topics:

  • Careers
  • Science
  • Humanities
  • History/Social Studies

⇒ Writing and Language Test covers 3 types of writing modes:

    • Narrative
    • Argumentative
    • Informative/Explanatory

⇒ Writing and Language Test has 2 types of questions:

    • Expression of Ideas which focuses on improving the development of the topic, the organization of information and ideas, and the effectiveness of the language. There are usually around 24 questions of this type.
    • Standard English Conventions which focuses on recognizing and correcting errors in sentence structure, grammar, word usage, and punctuation. There are usually around 20 questions of this type.

 

⇒ Students will be asked to make appropriate and effective transitions between ideas. The 4 relationships students should know and be able to select the right type of transition word to establish the correct relationship. When a transition word is underlined, students should ask themselves, “How are these ideas related?”

    • Reinforcement/Emphasis/Examples– one idea supports or builds off another, so transitions to use include: in addition, furthermore, for example, and also.
    • Comparison or Contrast– one idea opposes another, so transitions to use include: however, yet, on the other hand, despite, instead, and unlike.
    • Cause-and-effectone idea directly leads to another, so transitions to use include: consequently, therefore, since, thus, as a result, and because.
    • Sequence transitions are used for items part of a series. Transitions to use include: first, then, besides, afterwards, furthermore, as well, and finally

⇒ Students should recognize the 4 C’s of writing. Good writing is:

      • Clear
      • Concise
      • Consistent
      • Has Complete Sentences

 

⇒ Students should wear a Basic Wristwatch to keep track of Pacing shown above!

 

⇒ The Writing and Language Test will include Informational Graphics. There will be questions that ask students to analyze charts, tables, graphs, or pictographs to make connections between text and graphics. Other questions might be used to provide additional support or to correct the writer’s misconceptions.

 

⇒ Either read the entire paragraph or read the entire sentence! DO NOT just read the underlined words.

 

⇒ Always pick the clearest, most concise way of saying something. Shorter is better! Make sure when appropriate the answer choice is a complete sentence.

 

⇒ There will NEVER be two correct answers! If in doubt, students should always pick the answer choice that sounds the most normal and they think sounds the best when read aloud! Usually, the shorter more concise choice is better. The most fancy choice is rarely the correct answer.

 

⇒ Know the Punctuation Rules, Grammar Rules, Frequently Confused Words, along with the keys to Expression of Ideas!

 

⇒ Passages and questions DO NOT go in order of difficulty. Students should start with first passage and attempt the questions in order. After reading the passage and spending 30 – 45 seconds on a question GUESS and move on!

 

⇒ The are NO penalties for guessing on the SAT Assessment. There are ways to improve students overall SAT Scores by knowing how to eliminate answer choices by “Plugging in the answer choices”, “Spotting common grammatical errors”, “Using topic sentences”, and “Recognizing incorrect punctuation”.

 

⇒ Read the Title of each Passage. It will help students with context.

 

⇒ Students should not be afraid to choose “NO CHANGE”.

 

⇒ Remind students to remain Calm and Breath while they are taking the Writing and Language Test. Students might even try doing a little wiggle or adjusting their position in their seat during the test.

 

⇒ There is NO Future Tense ONLY Present and Past Tense on the Writing and Language Test.

 

⇒ The SAT Assessment Writing and Language Test is NOT Gender Neutral! It uses Gender Specific language in the passages and for the answer choices.

 

⇒ The Oxford Comma Rule is NEVER a choice for using a comma when other comma choices are given. Its’ is NEVER a correct answer choice!

 

⇒ Students should pay close attention to what the question is asking them to do.

 

⇒ Pay attention to the answer choices. What is changing and what is staying the same?

⇒ The National Average SAT Scale Score for the Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section was:

⇒ Currently for Indiana the SAT Scale score a student needs to achieve to be considered proficient is a 480 in the Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section.

 

⇒ To get a 480 SAT Scale score in the Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section is a little more ambiguous. Students would need to get about 23 – 24 questions correct out of the 52 possible (about 45.1% correct) on the Reading Test and about 22 questions correct out of the 44 possible (about 50% correct) on the Writing and Language Test. Students could get less on one test and more on the other or vice vera and still achieve the 480 SAT Scale Score Benchmark. You can see the complete explanation of the sample scores on the College Board website at: Practice Test Scores Worksheet

 

⇒ The SAT Assessment will be administered in school ONLINE for the first time on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. It will NOT be a paper-pencil test when it is administered. Students will take the entire SAT Assessment on a computer. They will be allowed and encouraged to use scrap paper and have a calculator they are familiar with using regularly. 2021 – 2022 Indiana Assessment Schedule

 

⇒ Beginning with the Graduation Class of 2023 the SAT Assessment will be one of the ways for all Indiana high school students to fulfill a Graduation Pathway Option for the Postsecondary-Ready Competencies of the Indiana Graduation Requirements.

    • Starting with the class of 2023 Indiana Students will now have three requirements to graduate from high school.
      1. Earn a High School Diploma
      2. Learn and Demonstrate Employment Skills
      3. Post-Secondary Ready Competencies

Below are the punctuation rules, frequently confused words, and grammar rules students need to know and understand. These will be used in the Standard English Conventions questions (20 of the 44 questions) on the Writing and Language Test.

 

⇒ 6 Punctuations and the Rules students should know to use them. Approximately 2 questions on each passage will be about punctuation.

    • Commas (,) are used for many different reasons. When in doubt leave the comma out. A pause when reading a sentence does not always mean a comma must be used. The Writing and Language Test assesses commas in 6 main ways:
      • Introductory phrases
      • Separate three or more items in a list
      • Separate two or more independent clauses with a conjunction
      • Set off introductory information from the rest of the sentence
      • Afterthoughts set off non-essential descriptive information within or at the end of a sentence
      • Interruptions or appositives
    • Semicolons (;) are fancy periods used in 2 ways:
      • To join two independent clauses without the use of a conjunction. The sentences on both sides of a semicolon must be complete and able to stand alone.
      • In short phrases, quotations, explanations, examples, or lists. The portion of the sentence before the colon must be an independent clause.
    • Dashes (—) have 2 main purposes:
      • Indicate a hesitation/break in thought. Interruptions or Appositives.
      • Set off an explanatory example or list from the rest of the sentence, like afterthoughts.
    • Apostrophes (‘)also have 2 main purposes:
      • Indicate possession using ’s for singular possession and s’ for plural possession
      • Create contractions
    • Parenthesis ( ) can be used to show an interruption.

 

⇒ Key punctuation facts:

    • There are 4 ways to separate two complete sentences: Period, Semicolon, Comma and a Conjunction, and a Colon.
    • There are 3 ways to mark an interruption: Commas, Dashes, and Parentheses.
    • There are 3 ways to mark and afterthought: Dash, Commas, and Colon.
    • Quotation Marks
      • Commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks.
      • Colons, semicolons, and dashes always go outside the quotation marks.
      • Exclamation marks can go inside or outside so the Writing and Language Test does not test this fact.
    • Words ending in “s”
      • Plural of the word ending in “s” usually uses “es” at the end.
      • Possessive of the word ending in “s” usually uses “ ’s ” at the end.
      • Singular of the word ending in “s” is just the word.

Frequently Confused Words

    • Accept/Except:Accept means “to receive.” Except means “excluding.”
    • Affect/Effect:Affect is a verb: Effect is a noun: Substitute the word “alter” or “result.” If alter fits, use “affect.” If result fits, use “effect.”
    • Allude/Elude: Allude means “to refer to”. Elude means “to escape from.”
    • Among/Between:Among indicates a loose relationship between many things. Between expresses a relationship between one thing and one or more things.
    • Complement/Compliment: Complement means “to complete.” Compliment means “to flatter.“
    • Either…or/Neither…nor: Use either…or when describing two options. Use neither…nor when describing options that are not possible.
    • Elicit/Illicit:Elicit means “to draw out/evoke” Illicit means “illegal”.
    • Farther/Further:Farther indicates a physical distance. Further indicates a metaphorical distance.
    • I/Me: Use “I” as the subject. Use “me” as the object of a verb or preposition.
    • It’s/Its/Its’: Use “it’s” as a contraction for “it is.” Use “its” to show ownership.” Its’ is NOT a word but may be given as an answer choice.
    • Lead/Led:Lead, when it rhymes with bed, refers to a type of metal. When lead rhymes with read (present tense), it means “to guide.” Led is the past tense of the verb lead, meaning “to guide.”
    • Less and Much/Fewer and Many: Use less and much when talking about things that cannot be counted. Use Fewer and many when talking about things that can be counted.
    • Lie/Lay: Lie means “to tell a lie.” It can also mean “to recline.” Lay means “to place down.”
    • Loose/Lose:Loose is usually an adjective meaning “free/released from attachment”. Lose is always a verb, meaning “to misplace” or “to not be victorious”.
    • Principle/Principal: A “principle” is a rule, a law, a guideline, or fact. A “principal” is the person in charge of a school or certain things in a company. “Principal” is also an adjective that means original, first, or most important.
    • Than/Then:Use “than” when making a comparison. Use “then” when referring to a cause and effect relationship or time.
    • There/Their/They’re:Use “there” to indicate a place. Use “their” to show ownership. Use “they’re” as a contraction for “they are.”
    • To/Too/Two: Use “to” to indicate direction or form infinitives. Use “too” when talking about quantities of things. Use “two” to indicate the number 2.
    • Who/Which:Use “who” to refer to people. Use “which” to refer to things that are not considered people.
    • Which/That:Use “which” when referring to things that are not essential to the sentence or phrase. Use “that” when referring to things that are essential to the sentence or phrase.
    • Who/Whom:Use “who” as the subject. Use “whom” as the object of a verb or preposition.
    • Who’s/Whose: Use “who’s” as a contraction for “who is.” Use “whose” to show ownership.
    • Your/You’re: Use “your” to show ownership. Use “you’re” as a contraction for “you are.“

⇒ There are 7 Grammar Rules students should know and understand.

    • Students must be able to recognize what is, and what is not, a complete sentence. Every complete sentence must contain a subject, a verb, and express a complete thought.
    • Parallelism is a literary device in which parts of the sentence are grammatically the same or are similar in construction. These can be words, phrases, or entire sentences repeated. Always express ideas in a consistent, grammatically similar way.
    • Students must always check for subject and verb agreement! Within a sentence, a singular subject must be followed by a singular verb and a plural subject must be followed by a plural verb. A common question on the Writing and Language Test begins with a singular subject and is followed by several prepositional phrases with plural nouns and then a verb. This verb MUST be singular to agree with the sentence’s singular subject.
    • Students must always check for subject and pronoun agreement! Within a sentence, a singular subject must be followed by a singular pronoun, and a plural subject must be followed by a plural pronoun.
    • Students must recognize and choose verbs that are CONSISTENT in tense and form with the surrounding sentences and verbs. Be sure to use context clues. If a verb is underlined in the passage, choose an answer that is consistent in tense and form.
    • Students must understand modifiers. If there is an introductory phrase, the subject of the sentence must come right after the comma.
    • Students should understand and recognize diction. It is the meaning of words, the way in which words are commonly used in speech or writing. Not every question can be answered using “The Rules.” Some questions rely on students understanding of the correct diction needed in context.

 

On the Writing and Language Test, students will encounter a variety of questions that will ask them to revise and edit passages in different ways. The Expression of Ideas questions (24 of the 44 questions) ask students to improve the effectiveness of a text by revising with emphasis of these key topics: topic development, organization (including accuracy, logic, cohesion), and effective language use.

 

⇒ Topic Development— These questions will ask students to focus on revising text in relation to rhetorical purpose.

    • Proposition questions will ask students to add, revise, or retain central ideas, main claims, counterclaims, and topic sentences to structure text and convey arguments, information, and ideas clearly and effectively.
    • Support questions will ask students to add, revise, or retain information and ideas (e.g., details, facts, statistics) intended to support claims or points in a text.
    • Focus questions will ask students to add, revise, retain, or delete information and ideas in text for the sake of relevance to topic and purpose.
    • Quantitative Information questions will ask students to relate information presented quantitatively in such forms as graphs, charts, and tables to information presented in text.

Organization— These questions focus on revision of text to improve the logic and cohesion of text at the sentence, paragraph, and whole-text levels.

    • Logical Sequence questions will ask students to revise text as needed to ensure that information and ideas are presented in the most logical order.
      • Paragraphs: If a question asks about paragraph order, it typically has to do with chronological order. Link the topic and concluding sentences of each paragraph.
      • Sentences: If a question asks about sentence order, there is typically an order of actions. Read for context.
    • Introductions questions will ask students to revise text as needed to improve the beginning of a text or paragraph. If a question asks students to pick the sentence that best introduces a paragraph, read the next sentence or two of the paragraph in question. Basically, students must answer these questions IN CONTEXT! Students should think about what they would write as a topic sentence, and then go to the answer choices. There should only be one answer choice that has anything to do with what they predicted. Be careful to only read one or two sentences! If students read the whole paragraph, they might pick an answer choice that has to do with a smaller detail in the paragraph, rather than the overall topic.
    • Conclusions questions will ask students to revise text as needed to improve the ending of a text or paragraph.
    • Transitions (words, phrases, or sentences that are used to relate ideas) questions will ask students to revise text as needed to ensure that transition words, phrases, or sentences are used effectively to connect information and ideas. Questions will ask about transitions between thoughts. If all answers except one have a transition, pick the one without a transition. (Shortest is best!)
      • If all answers contain transitions, do the following:
        • Look for two transitions that have similar meanings.
        • Eliminate the two with similar meanings.Look at the sentence before and after the transition to determine how the sentences should be linked. One of the two remaining answers should clearly be the better choice.

 

⇒ Effective Language Use— These questions will ask students to identify stated central themes or determine themes that are implied in the text.

    • Precision is the use of vivid verbs and descriptive nouns to create strong mental pictures and to avoid wordiness. Questions will ask students to revise text as needed to improve the exactness or content appropriateness of word choice.
    • Concision is an intentional brevity by the author to communicate clearly and directly. Questions will ask students to revise text as needed to eliminate wordiness and redundancy).
    • Style and Tone: The Writing and Language Test prefers passages written in active voice. In active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action. Active voice emphasizes the subject and limits unnecessary words. However, at times, passive voice is appropriate, even necessary, when students want to focus on the object of the action or when the object becomes more important than the person. Questions will ask students to revise text as necessary to ensure consistency of style and tone within a text or to improve the match of style and tone to purpose.
    • Syntax: Questions will ask students to use various sentence structures to accomplish needed rhetorical purposes.

Conclusion

Teachers and students should utilize the tips and tricks discussed here to optimize the student’s opportunity to score their best on the SAT Assessment Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section’s Writing and Language Test. If you would like more information about the Indiana SAT, please contact us.

 

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IN SAT Reading & Writing Assessment

 

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