Persuasive Writing Prompts
Offering Extra Credit
In most high school classrooms sit students who fail classes due to lack of participation
and effort. Some students, however, decide at some point during a school term that they
want to pass the class and thus begin participating in class activities and completing
assignments. Reality, though, often reveals that these students cannot pass classes
because they are unable to overcome their previous low grades and achieve passing
Should teachers then allow students who decide they want to pass a class the opportunity
for extra credit to enable them to pass the course at the end of the term? Would granting
such opportunity be fair to other students in the class who have maintained passing
grades throughout the term?
Write an essay in which you prove your opinion as to the fairness and necessity of extra
credit. Defend your position with specific reasons supported by several detailed
examples. Consider the audience to whom you would direct this appeal.
High School athletes in Knox County Schools must pass three out of four courses to be
eligible to participate in their sport. Some teachers and coaches believe that allowing
athletes to fail one class and still participate in their sport is too lenient and isn’t a high
enough standard. Therefore, it has been suggested that athletes must pass all four classes
in the term prior to a sports season to be eligible to participate in that sport. For example,
a student who wishes to participate in football in fall 2005 must pass all four classes his
spring term 2005.
Write a persuasive essay to support raising the course completion requirement for athletes
or to keep the requirements as they currently stand.
Honor Rolls/Scholar Recognition
Recently the Nashville-Metropolitan School District voted to eliminate honor rolls from
all its schools based on the idea that honor rolls discourage underachieving students and
damage their educational esteem. Do you agree with this decision? Do school honor
rolls discourage students who are not able to achieve as well academically as other
students? Write an essay to the Knox County School Board arguing whether honor rolls
are positive or negative. Support your answer with specific reasons and relevant, specific
examples from your own life or from your culture.
2003 Prompt: Driver’s Licenses
A law has been passed changing the driver’s license system to a graduated system.
Under the new system, a person can be issued a restricted learner’s permit at age 15, an
intermediate license at age 16, and a full non-restricted license at age 17. Both the
learner’s permit and intermediate license limit the number of passengers allowed in the
driver’s vehicle and limit the hours the person can drive. The full license carries no
Consider carefully the advantages and disadvantages of the graduated driver’s license
system. Do you agree or disagree with the graduated license system?
Now write an essay in which you persuade the reader to support your point of view.
Support your position with specific reasons and examples.
Select one of the following thesis statements and
prove it in a well-developed, well explained essay.
Thesis one: Despite student protest, administrators are wise to require students to wear
ID badges at ______ High School.
Thesis two: Requiring students to wear ID badges is a bad idea for ______ High School.
911 Attacks – honoring victims & heroes
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, changed our country forever. Three
thousand citizens died including hundreds of New York City firefighters & policemen
who sought to rescue citizens from the World Trade Center Towers and forty citizens on
United flight 93 who sacrificed their lives to stop would-be terrorists from destroying
potentially the White House or the Capital.
In a well organized and developed essay, argue the best way(s) for Americans to honor
the memories of the citizens who died that day. Support your reasons with specific
examples & explanation.
You may use the space provided for prewriting notes, but you should write your essay on
the lined pages provided.
You have 35 minutes to complete your essay.
Driver’s Education Programs
In order to save money for academic programs, many school systems in Tennessee are
considering cutting Driver’s Education programs. Should your school system continue to
offer Driver’s Ed as an elective course?
Write a persuasive essay arguing the merits of a Driver’s Ed program.
Support your argument with clear reasons, specific examples and explanation.
“Children waste far too much time playing games when they could be involved in more
constructive activities.” – E. Gorkin
Think about how you feel about Gorkin’s quote. Write a persuasive essay proving your
opinion. Support your position with reasons and examples from your own experience,
observations, or reading.
Working full time in high school
One of your friends is considering going to work on a full-time basis in addition to
staying in school. Your friend feels the need to increase her income in order to improve
her standard of living. Her parents feel that her grades will suffer if she works full-time,
and fear that she may even flunk out of school. Write a well-organized essay in which
you convince your friend to either take the full-time job or not to take it. Support your
reasons with clear examples.
Student search for drugs
One day on your school campus, you see a dog and a police officer that are at the school
to check the grounds for the presence of drugs. Some students are thankful that the dogs
are there, while others are complaining that their privacy is being invaded. Write an
essay in which you support or refute the use of police search dogs on high school
campuses. Give specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.
Marriage vs Single
Your social studies class has been discussing marriage. Some people remain single all of
their lives, while others get married. Many marriages end in divorce, and then people get
remarried. The entire class has been discussing the emotional and practical issues of
marriage. Do you think the single life is overall better than married life? Or is marriage
better than single life? Write an essay in which you persuade that single or married life is
best. Offer specific reasons and explanations to support your answer.
Media devices Prompt
In today’s media-driven culture, many teenagers own personal CD players, MP3 players,
and hand-held gaming devices. To prevent instructional distractions, many high schools
prohibit students from using those devices while on school campus. Is such a rule
effective and necessary? What are the reasons administrators create such a policy?
CHOOSE ONE SIDE:
1. Write a persuasive essay to a local school administration encouraging a new
school rule to allow students to use portable media devices at school during non-
educational times (lunch, class changes, etc).
2. Write a persuasive essay to a local school administration encouraging them to
maintain current school rules that prohibit students from using portable media
devices at school.
Your essay must include valid reasons for support of the stance you take. Those reasons
must be supported with relevant, specific examples. You should address an opposing
view – but should counter that address with more valid reasons.
Myspace & parental censorship
Web sites such as myspace.com have become popular with American high school
students as an outlet for personal expression, online chat rooms, and development of
relationships. Some teens, however, post information that their parents would find
Write an essay directed to parents arguing whether they should or should not censure
what their teenagers may have posted online. Support your argument with specific
examples and fully explained reasons.