I put this assessment together knowing that in all the previous grades, students have had much experience using a Venn diagram. What happens when they get to 4th grade, though, is that they must use that Venn diagram or the idea behind it to create a well crafted essay comparing and contrasting two or more things, people, places, texts, etc.
The letter I received from one of my previous students provided just the authentic text my students would need to further their understanding of comparing and contrasting. The text was written in compare/ contrast structure, but it wasn't nicely laid out like my students are used to seeing in a workbook or in the younger grades. They actually had to read the letter and analyze it for similarities and differences.
They also were given the choice to use or not use the Venn diagram I included in the assessment. I was glad I included it to provide scaffolding for those that needed it, but for those that used it they spent too much time on it like I knew they would!!
At least- and this is what I love about pretesting- I know where to start!!