Strong Writing and Reading: Lessons Learned from MCAS Scoring, North Adams

This institute is free and open to Massachusetts teachers. Lunch will be served at midday. Participants earn 10 PDPs.

Day 1: Long Composition

Participants will learn about recent trends in Long Composition writing, the development of prompts, and how to use sample sets of 2009 student writing. We will focus on the characteristics of high-score writing and on ways to enable students to reach them. Three breakout sessions (grades 3-4, grades 5-7, and grades 8-12) will be led by teachers who are involved in MCAS development and scoring.

Day 2: Open Response

Participants will learn about recent trends in Open Response results, the development of items, and the use of sample sets of 2009 student responses. We will discuss how to keep students focused using reading comprehension strategies, analyze student work on 2009 fiction and nonfiction Open Response items, and present ways to help students reach higher scores. Four breakout sessions (grades 3/4, grade 5/6, grades 7/8, and grade 10) will be led by teachers.

What participants learn in this workshop during the summer is important; what students learn in their classrooms is more important. Throughout the workshop, we will emphasize specific strategies students can use to improve their reading and writing, and in so doing experience greater achievement, not only on MCAS assessments, but also in broader, real-world contexts.


Please note that this workshop is designed to raise student achievement and we especially encourage teachers from high-need districts ( to apply, as well as teachers of English learners and/or students with disabilities, and teachers teaching out of field or on waiver will have priority. Others will be put on a waiting list and be contacted when space is known.

If the school-level session in which you are interested is filled for this workshop location, you may want to register at another location or email Janet Furey ( to be placed on a waiting list. We can eventually accommodate many waitlisted people in workshops. 


Name Sales End Price
Grades 3-4   Ended Free
Grades 5-6-7   Ended Free
Grades 8-12   Ended Free

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