These student essays provide examples of varying levels of performance on different types of writing assignments by students in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 (English I, II, III, and IV). Each essay has been marked with comments based on the five Features of Effective Writing: focus, organization, support and elaboration, style, and conventions. General comments are also provided for each essay, as well as "Next Steps" that offer suggestions for helping the writer improve.
The first group of grade-specific tasks provides exemplars of high, middle, and low performance for one to two tasks designed specificially for each of the grades 9–12. These exemplars are intended for a close examination of various levels of writing and different writing environments (argumentative writing, critical writing, etc.) within a particular grade level. The second group of multi-grade prompts consists of responses by students in each of the grades 9–12 to each of two writing prompts. These latter exemplars are not ranked by level of performance, but are intended for a comparison of the range of performances and appropriate expectations throughout the high school grades.
Middle grades examplars are available from NCDPI in PDF format.
These exemplars have been designed to stimulate and facilitate discussions of student writing, teacher expectations, and instructional strategies for improving student writing, with the ultimate goal of improving teacher instruction and student writing. They are not intended to reflect actual classroom assessment practice, to dictate students' grades, nor to replace or supplement information from NCDPI Assessment about scoring of the state writing assessment. Please read this explanation before using these exemplars!
Additionally, please note that this resource is still in development. As changes and additions are made, they will be available on the Web at http://www.learnnc.org/topics/writing/exemplars/.
To view comments on a particular feature of an essay, use the navigation links in the header. Each feature is coded with a different color (focus, organization, support and elaboration, style, and conventions). Text on which comments have been made will be highlighted with the color assigned to the selected feature. To view comments on a word, phrase, or sentence, hold your mouse over the text of interest. In addition, each paragraph is numbered. If the paragraph number is highlighted, you can also hold your mouse over the paragraph number to view comments on the entire paragraph.
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The student essays and comments are provided by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction; please contact Kimberly Bowen, Secondary English Language Arts Consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments on the content of this resource.