Something exciting just happened in the world of writing assessment. A good friend–Connie Spiegel–started a company in Portland, Oregon called Raters of the Lost Art. The Raters are committed to assessing student writing as it was meant to be assessed–you remember: a person sits down with a paper and reads it, thinks about it, sometimes reads it a second time, and responds thoughtfully. And not just with scores, either. We’re talking comments. Remember those? And here’s a new twist: Connie and her team can assess papers using both 6-trait and Common Core criteria. How about that?

Maybe this is even more important than we thought. In a recent post, Spiegel takes us on a small assessment journey, looking at a piece of writing–“Horses”–posted in the CCSS Appendix as a model. She weighs it against the demands of both the traits and the Common Core, asking us in effect to focus on the best of both worlds. The piece is written by a highly competent third grade student who has completed an impressive amount of research, but is clearly held in check by some formulaic requirements. You will find Spiegel’s analysis, I think, both enlightening and thought provoking. I urge you to have a look. Go to “Raters of the Lost Art” to find the website; click on “Forum,” then on “Hold Your Horses.” Get ready for an exhilarating ride.

Coming up on Gurus . . .

I (Vicki) am putting the finishing touches on my review of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s delightful book Exclamation Mark, and will have that post up shortly. Thanks for stopping by, and please do so often, even if we are into summer. Jeff and I keep writing, and we hope you’ll keep visiting, in between other adventures. You’re probably not thinking about professional development right now, but when you do, remember . . . we can custom build a writing workshop for you and your district–featuring traits, standards, literature, workshop, or all of it combined. Call us: 503-579-3034.