Dale Comley

About me

My name is Dale Comley. I graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2013 with my undergraduate degree in elementary education with a concentration in liberal arts. I am currently teaching in the Greater Amsterdam School District as 4th and 5th grade ELA teacher. Our district has the 4th and 5th grade departmentalized vertically so I teach ELA while my partner teacher teaches the bulk of the math and science curriculum. I have been teaching for 3 years and am just starting my fourth year of teaching. I am currently working on my masters degree from UAlbany.

Dale Comley.jpeg

My Topic/Purpose

In this course, educators will learn how to score written responses for grades 3-5 students on the rubric that NYS uses for state tests. We will then focus on transferring this information to students and give them specific tools and strategies to be successful.

Questions that will be addressed:

  • What are the two different types of written response questions?
  • How are the two types of questions graded differently?
  • What strategies will benefit students in answering these questions?
  • How can a written response program be implemented in the classroom?

Needs Assessment

1. Instructional Problem Although grades 3-5 students spend a lot of time writing in the classroom they predominately spend that time writing in narrative, persuasive, or expository writing. Writing that is centered around response to text often is a struggle for students and we see evidence of that with high numbers of grade 3-5 students failing NYS tests and scoring low on written response questions. Students are generally unaware of the expectations that are required for this kind of writing style and need to truly understand the intricacies of writing of this nature. Through methods of self assessment and strategies, educators can pass crucial knowledge on to their students to prepare them for state testing and beyond as they conclude the final years of elementary school.

2. What is to be Learned Educators will learn the actual scoring procedures for NYS written responses. They will be given tools to help reteach this content to their students and additional instructional strategies that will help their students write in a way that meets the criteria of text response writing.

3. The Learners The learners of this course will be K-5 teachers. Although ELA state testing includes only grades 3-5, the work that will be taught in this mini-course will be valuable knowledge additionally for K-2 teachers that are engaged in the scaffolding process of getting students ready for grades 3-5. The concepts taught in this mini-course will be applied directly to grades 3-5 and will be more of an end goal for K-2 teachers as they decide on what skills their students need to prepare for this kind of work in the upper elementary grades.

4. Context for Instruction Participants will be able to learn this course material in a location of their choosing. Materials will be presented online and therefore need a stable internet connection.

5. Exploring the Instructional Problem and Solution Participants will conduct their own written responses and will learn how to accurately grade written responses according to the NYS short and extended response rubrics. Participants will engage in the same learning process that they will than reteach to their eventual students. They will be given instructional tools to help their students master this form of writing.

6. Goals of this Mini-Course One major goal of this mini-course is to provide educators and students with the information required to accurately assess short and extended response questions. This mini-course will also provide teachers with resources that will allow their students to score higher on response questions. Finally this course will give teachers the tools necessary to implement a written response program within their classroom.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Performance Objectives

Upon successful completion of this mini-course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the difference between short response and extended response questions.
  • Score writing samples in accordance to short and extended response rubrics.
  • Implement strategies to score higher on written response questions.
  • Implement a written response program in their classrooms.

Task Analysis

Prerequisite Skills:

- instructional experience in a 3-5 classroom

- familiarity with state test format writing questions

- understanding of grading with a rubric


Unit 1: Understanding Written Responses

- identify the components of a short response (2 point answer)

- identify the components of an extended response (4 point answer)

- become familiar with the scoring system for 2 and 4 point responses

- score sample responses and add the missing pieces to achieve maximum scores


Unit 2: Improving Student Writing

- writing strategies that complement the rubrics

- practice writing full credit responses

- how to sequence instruction in the classroom setting

Curriculum Map

Written Response Curriculum Map: Comley_Curriculum_Map.jpg

References and Resources