10th Grade Writing Test
St. Stephens High 2010-2011
Warning: 3 minute time limit! … Warning: 3 minute time limit!
About the Test
• All 10th grade students will take the test
Tues., March 8th from approximately 8:30 –
• You have 100 minutes to write.
• The test is a state test developed by North
Carolina testing division. They wish to see
all 10th graders writing at or above grade
Did you say 100 minutes?!?
• Don’t stress… plan
out your time.
• 100 minutes = 1 hour
and 40 minutes
• 100 minutes = 1 full
class period + 10
More about the test…
• A level III or IV is considered passing. This
workshop is designed to help you reach at least a
• Two trained readers read your paper and score it.
The scores are combined and set to a scale.
• Misconception: Students cannot review or study
for this test.
• Wrong! There are techniques and strategies!
How do they score it?
Content = 2/3
Conventions Conventions =
• The information (quotes, data, statistic, or excerpts) located
within the box.
• If quotes or data, analyze each. Try to put it into your own
words – paraphrase.
• If you do not understand one, skip it and see if another is
easier to understand.
• Do you want to use any of the information in your paper?
• The prompt follows the introductory text box.
• It will relate the information you need to get started writing.
• Look for the role of the writer, the audience, the format, and the
• It also relates the type of informational writing: definition, cause,
• Strategy for prompt… RAFT
R: Role Who are you?
A: Audience Who are you writing to?
F: Format What are you writing?
T: Topic What is your focus?
#1 – Write a speech to present to your community’s elementary
and middle school Parent/Guardian Associations in which you
examine the harmful effects of children watching too much
#2 – As a school guidance counselor, write an article for the local
newspaper discussing the effect of peer pressure on high school
#3 – Congratulations for completing half of your sophomore
year! Along the way you have learned invaluable lessons. Write
a letter of advice to eighth grade students advising them on the
best way to be successful in high school.
Try these and check your answers.
Answers to RAFT practice
#1 – R: student (yourself) A: Parent/Guardian Association
F: speech T: harmful effects of too much TV
#2 – R: School Guidance Counselor A: local newspaper
(community) F: article T: peer pressure
#3 – R: 10th grader (yourself) A: rising 9th graders
F: letter of advice T: success in high school
Past Prompts (a breakdown):
Year Role Audience Format Topic Type Link
2003 10th educ. PTO Speech Harmful effects effect 2003
(yourself) (elem/mid) of too much
2004 valedictorian Peers, grad. Speech Meaning of definition 2004
2005 10th educ. Peers, Article Meaning of definition 2005
(yourself) teachers, individuality
2006 10th educ. School Board Letter Effects of no- effect 2006
(yourself) pass, no-play
2007 10th educ. Admin, Article Meaning of definition 2007
(yourself) teachers, human rights
2008 10th educ. Admin, Article Effects of effect 2008
(yourself) teachers, peer technology
2009 10th educ. Readers of Letter to the Effects of cell effect 2009
(yourself) your local Editor phone
newspaper (everyday life)
2010 10th educ. Readers of Letter of Meaning of definition 2010
(yourself) high school explanation responsibility
orientation (re: high school)
• Are the pictures hanging on your wall
at home in focus or out of focus?
• Focus = staying on topic throughout the paper.
• Level III begins with maintaining focus.
• How do you ensure focus is maintained?
Brainstorming and planning…
• Bubble map
Topic: Success as a result of
Success comes from
making mistakes and
Studying learning from them. Bad Play
“You can’t win unless
you know how to lose.”
- Kareem Abdul Jabar
Lied At Home
Outline Form/Plan for Topic
I. Introductory Paragraph
A. Introduce myself to audience
B. State reasons for speech – topic
C. Use quote (hook)
II. Success as a student
A. Story of Final Exam – did not study = failure
III. Success as an Athlete
A. Story of basketball game – bad play = team loss
IV. Success at Home
A. Story of late arrival – lied = loss of trust
A. How I turned everything around… learned from my mistakes.
B. Life worth living is one with mistakes
C. Quote from George Bernard Shaw (clincher)
• How does it affect me,
my family and friends,
humankind as a whole?
Ripple Effect Example
What it means to me…
What it means to my friends
What it means to my
community or society…
• Use graphic organizers such as bubble map, list, outline,
or cause/effect list.
• Types of organization:
•Chronological – order in which it happened
•Spatial – in relation to space
•Importance – most important to least important
•Cause/effect – cause leads to effect, repeat…
Support and Elaboration
• What is the difference
between a bowl of ice cream
and a sundae? The extra
toppings! Make’s it more
• Males need to work on
support and elaboration; data
• Give evidence to back up
ideas, and use anecdotes, or
• Explode a moment!
• You have been issued a dramatic license for the 10th grade
writing test. Use it!
• This gives you the right to bend the truth… but it must be
believable. (Similar to a poetic license where poets may
bend the rules of poetry.)
• Ex: When I was sixteen, my parents caught me in a lie. I was not allowed
to ride home from school with any of my friends. At dinner, my father
asked me how I got home from school. “The bus,” I replied. “Why do you
ask?” He shook his head with disappointment and said, “I guess you have a
twin. I saw your best friend Kim with your twin on Springs Rd.” Trust me,
I should have told the truth. I was grounded for two months.
***this did not actually happen to me, but to a friend = dramatic license
Jeans to a prom?
Evening gown or
suit to a bowling
• Are your words/verbs precise?
• How do you build your sentences?
• Style is acquired. Biggs 2010-2011
• Conventions encompasses grammar, spelling, and mechanics.
• Common mistakes:
•Fragments and Run-ons
•Misplaced phrases or unclear phrases
•Incorrect use of verbs
•Misuse of a word
•Failure to indent Biggs 2010-2011
Top half of bun = Intro
Burger = Body
Cheese, lettuce, tomatoes =
Ketchup, Mayo, Mustard =
Bottom half of bun =
Hook? Try something humorous or
Quote? Use an old adage or a quote
from the introductory text.
Story? Once there was… or Pretend
you are a basketball player who has
just scored a basket for the other
Statistic/Data? 75% of all high school
graduates admit to cheating.
• SO WHAT? The reader must not
leave without this question being
answered… how does it matter to
• Restate thesis
• Leave them thinking…
• Rhetorical Question or Clincher?
• Advice or a quote that sums things
what you are
What are you
trying to prove?
• Each body paragraph must begin with a main
idea. The next sentence should offer a
supporting point. The final sentences should
elaborate with further discussion or explanation.
• Time should allow for 3 fully developed
paragraphs or 2 extensively developed
• Think Power Writing…
Power 1 (red) = main idea or topic sentence
Power 2 (blue) = supports main idea
Power 3 (green) = elaborates main idea
Power 4 (orange) = concluding sentence
Power 0 (yellow) = above and beyond in detail
*Be conscious of your writing…
Example of Power Writing
Two unusual mammals live in Australia. The koala bears
live in trees. They seldom come down to the ground. The
kangaroos live in the grasslands. They live in large groups
(1) Two unusual mammals live in Australia. (2) The koala
bears live in trees. (3) They seldom come down to the
ground. (2) The kangaroos live in the grasslands. (3) They
live in large groups called mobs.
** Every body paragraph should begin with a 1, 2, 3…
• Most level II papers could
have been level III had the
student reread and revised with
the leftover time.
• Learn to hear yourself in your
head! Crazy? A little… but
works for the writing test.