Measuring Writing Skills

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The following shows the types of tasks students at each of three grade levels will be asked to complete in the 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress in writing:

Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12
Narrative A letter to a grandparent about an interesting personal experience related to a season of the year depicted in an illustration. An article for a sports magazine about a time the writer participated in a hobby or skill he enjoyed. A letter to a friend about a time when the student had to make an important decision.
Informative An essay to an English teacher explaining how a person, such as a parent, teacher, or friend, influenced the writer in an important way. Based on a series of brief journal entries from another historical time, write an essay on what is revealed about the person who wrote the journal. Choose one of several quotations from political campaigns and tell a social studies teacher what it means in the context of the campaign.
Persuasive An essay that aims to convince a parent or guardian that a particular animal would make the best pet. A review for the school newspaper that aims to persuade other students to watch a favorite film or TV program or read a favorite book. A letter to the editor of the local newspaper that takes a position on some aspect of education and supports it from personal experience.

Source: National Assessment Governing Board

Vol. 15, Issue 35

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