Professional Development / Bridging Cultures

By: Donna R. Peterson

August 2,2002


Action Research Problem : PSSA open-ended essay writing.

Problem: Why are students not writing well or responding to open-ended questions on the PSSA writing exam.

Small Group Activity:

Purpose: To engage teachers from each subject area and grade level to develop a action research plan that may address or identify why students are not responding to the opened-ended questions on the PSSA exam?

Report Out Session:

Each small group will :

Report out the recorded information in a summarized form.

Refer to displayed information (white sheets) generated by group.

Have open discussion to address any questions of what teachers have concluded as the reason for students not responding to open-ended essay question.


Learning Style Questionnaire:

Each individual teacher would participate by responding to the questionnaire relative to his or her own learning styles. An explanation of the questionnaire on learning styles will be reviewed so that teachers can compare and contrast they’re learning style with the other learning styles that have be identified.

Guest Speaker: Kim Cassidy Associate Professor Bryn Mawr College:

Dr. Cassidy will discuss the topic on learning styles generating open discussion on how students learning styles may effect their academic performance.





Small Group Activity:

PSSA Booklet (language/Writing)

PSSA Data 2002 11th grade writing

Have teachers look at their subject area; see how it is implemented in the PSSA writing component.

Discuss strategies on how to integrate each discipline in the PSSA writing component.

Review the four writing styles: persuasive informative, narrative, expository

-Create a writing piece that represents each writing styles and incorporates each subject area.

-Have each small group compare their sample writing with PSSA sample writing. Discuss the different writing styles and how the particular subject areas are implemented.

-Teachers will use the rubric method to understand how students writing is scored based on the subject area and the four writing styles.

Each small group will report out their information on the four writing styles pieces written by the group that incorporates each subject area along with the PSSA sample writing. They will discuss the pros/cons of the assessment.

Each group will share their strategies on how to address the writing component in the individual subject areas.

Have a Parking Lot for questions teachers may need to have answered at a later time.


    1. Have teachers do an Action Research: Do an assessment of students attitude towards open-ended essay questions.
    2. Have the teachers decided how they need to change their teaching strategies in order to get students to be able to address open-ended questions. (Teaching children how to think)



Evaluation Form

Professional Development on PSSA open-ended questions

August 2, 2002

Please respond to the evaluation question by circling the appropriate number which ranges from (1 —Disagree) ------( 5 — Strongly Agree)

1.Was the subject matter adequately presented? 1 2 3 4 5


2.Was the materials appropriate for the presentation? 1 2 3 4 5


3.Were you given enough time for group question and answer so that all issues were address? 1 2 3 4 5


4.Will the information you received change your practice? 1 2 3 4 5


5.Were the presenters knowledgeable about the subject areas discussed? 1 2 3 4 5


6.What additional information would you need to put research into practice? ______________________________