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Direct Writing Assessment

The Direct Writing Assessment (DWA) is a summative writing experience designed to assess student writing skills in the fifth and eighth grades. The DWA is part of Utah Comprehensive Accountability System (UCAS). In grades with no DWA, each CRT content area (English language arts, mathematics, and science) is weighted equally (one third). When the DWA is included, it counts for one half of the weight of one CRT content area.

This year the DWA will align with the Utah Core’s writing standard 1. In 5th grade (W.5.1), this means that students will write an opinion essay. They will receive a prompt and passage set, and must compose an opinion essay that incorporates information from the passage set.

In 8th grade (W.8.1), students will write an argument essay. They will receive a prompt and passage set, and will use this to compose an argumentative essay in which their claim is supported by evidence from the passage set. They must also use valid reasoning to explain how the evidence supports their claim.

Utah Write

The USOE has contracted with Measurement Incorporated to provide Utah students with an online writing practice program, Utah Write. Students can practice using an online writing tool and teachers can use the program as a formative assessment tool to improve writing instruction. After students submit writing, they, and their teacher, are given immediate feedback on their writing as both an overall score and in each of the six traits of writing: Ideas and Content, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Conventions. Students in grades five and eight are provided with access to this program free of charge. LEAs and schools may purchase student licenses for other grades.

Please contact julie[dot]benson[at]schools[dot]utah[dot]gov(Julie Benson) at (801) 538-7542 or daron[dot]kennett[at]schools[dot]utah[dot]gov(Daron Kennett) at (801) 538-7819, if you need further information about the DWA or the Utah Write practice program.

DWA Resources

2013-2014 DWA Calendar

2014 DWA Test Administration Manual

2011-2012 DWA Training Presentation

2014 DWA Rubric

Utah Write Resources

Utah Write Student Guide

Utah Write Teacher Guide