As preparation for our work today, I ask students to gather needed materials for a test on text structure and language use, including notes and any previous assignments they feel would be useful (truly, anything from the whole unit).
Why allow these aids? Think about it--how often in our daily lives do we have to complete tasks without the ability to go to references, be they people or materials which can help us? I teach skills, not facts, so it makes sense to allow students to show their abilities in a format similar to real life. They cannot simply regurgitate what's on their notes to succeed; they must apply the notes to a new situation.
We've practiced identifying, analyzing, and evaluating language use, specifically figurative language meant to impact tone, and text structure multiple times with groups and partners. We've even done a few short trial runs independently. Today, I ask students to put all the skills together on their own and complete a practice test.
The test itself is scaffolded to help students fully meet the standards. I could simply say, "Analyze and evaluate the text for structure." If I did this, students would probably do one but not the other; for some reason, directions given in pairs are rarely followed thoroughly. Plus, students have worked with the standards in this same format all through the unit.
For our practice today, I ask student to analyze a text we've already read, "Self-Reliance" by Emerson, to save time. When they don't have to read and then answer questions, we have time to immediately discuss their results in class.