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									                                                                      January 2009

                       Raising Standards in Writing
                     Using Ros Wilson’s Criterion Scale

This version of the criteria for assessing writing in English has been
standardised by assessing over 20,000 pieces of children’s writing spanning
LW to L5. Many teachers have applied it successfully when assessing and
moderating samples of writing across the Early Years Foundation Stage and
Key Stages 1, 2 and 3.

Structure
    Each level is broken down into specific criteria against which writing
      can be assessed. The criteria from L1 to L5 give an indication of
      common performance at the sub-levels: C (low); B (secure); and A
      (high). However, many children will demonstrate skills at all three
      sub-levels at any one time, while not having some skills at sub-levels
      below their main level of attainment. So it is for that reason that a
      ‘best fit’ judgement must be made.
    The point scoring system gives an indicator of the sub-level shown.
      You should regard it as an indicator to within a point each side
      because ephemeral factors such as voice, style and confidence may
      affect the overall judgement. These factors are often as important, or
      more important, than any specific, isolated skill, but cannot be
      described in specific criteria.

How to use the Criterion Scale
   For each level there are guidance notes to help you make a
     judgement. Please read them carefully before assessing writing
     samples.
   The assessment system is straightforward. Count one mark when you
     are sure the child meets the criteria in the writing sample. At the end,
     total the marks and use the scoring system to decide on a level. If a
     child is borderline at sub-level C or A, you will need to check the
     writing sample against the next lower or higher level. Remember you
     are making a ‘best fit’ judgement.
   For LW the first 11 criteria can be observed through general writing
     behaviour on a day-to-day basis in the classroom. These must be a
     mixture of independent child-initiated and teacher-directed activities.
     This also applies to Criteria 1 at L1 and Criteria 2 at L4.
   It is very important that you see enough evidence to give a mark for
     any criteria. For example, one or two adventurous or ambitious words
     at L2 would not qualify for Criteria 11. Use the abbreviation I/E
     (insufficient evidence) to show the skill is emerging, but do not count
     it for scoring.
   Remember that assessing writing is inevitably subjective. We all have
     slightly different definitions of ‘imaginative’, ‘lively’ or ‘interesting’. So
     it is important that teachers regularly compare and discuss work for
     moderation and consistency.
Linking the Criterion Scale to the Assessment Focuses (AFs)
Assessment focuses (AFs) are based on the National Curriculum programmes of study
and level descriptions. They cover the areas for assessment and provide the framework
for National Curriculum tests at KS2 and the assessment tasks at KS1.

Writing AFs

          Assessment focus
AF1       Write imaginative, interesting and thoughtful texts
AF2       Produce texts which are appropriate to task, reader and purpose
AF3       Organise and present whole texts effectively, sequencing and structuring
          information, ideas and events
AF4       Construct paragraphs and use cohesion within and between paragraphs
AF5       Vary sentences for clarity, purpose and effect
AF6       Write with technical accuracy of syntax and punctuation in phrases,
          clauses and sentences
AF7       Select appropriate and effective vocabulary
AF8       Use correct spelling

The Criterion Scale is now aligned with the eight writing assessment focuses.
At each level there is a column showing how each criteria links to one or
more AFs. You can have confidence that using the criterion scale to assess
writing will cover all the AFs from L2 to L5. It will also link the criterion scale
with the Primary National Strategy Assessing Pupils’ Progress materials.

Using the criterion scale to set targets for future teaching
When assessing writing samples for an individual or a group, take note of
which criteria are missing. Then decide on priorities for next steps in
learning and teaching. For example, if a group of Y3 children are missing
Criteria 11 at L2, there is a clear teaching point related to using ‘wow’ words.
Record individual or group findings in the target box at the end of each level.

There is a helpful grid for plotting scores in a class on the Cumbria Grid for
Learning: http://www.cumbriagfl.org.uk/index.php?category_id=835

Joan Stark
October 2008
                                                                  January 2009

     Ros Wilson writing assessment – Working towards L1 (W)

Name…………………………………………………Date…………………….

Class…………….

General writing behaviours to be assessed through day-to-day
classroom observations

1    Will tolerate hand manipulation
2    Will work with another to allow mark marking using body
     parts or an implement
3    Will attempt to mark make independently
4    Can recognise mark making materials
5    Can use and enjoy mark making materials
6    Can show some control in mark making
7    Will attempt to ‘write’, including own name, using random
     letters
8    Can copy over/under a model
9    Can imitate adults’ writing and understands the purpose of       AF1
     writing                                                          AF2
10   Is aware of the different purposes of writing                    AF2
11   Can use a pencil and hold it effectively
12   Writes captions, labels and attempts other simple forms of       AF2
     writing (lists, stories, etc)

Assessment of independent writing sample

Text genre…………………………………………. Date………………………

13   Can produce some recognisable letters
14   Can write initial letter of own name                             AF8
15   Can differentiate between different letters and symbols
16   Shows some awareness of sequencing of letters                    AF8
17   Will write own name but often with wrong letter formation or     AF8
     mixed lower/upper case
18   Can ascribe meaning to own mark making (can ‘read’ what          AF2
     has been ‘written’)
19   Knows print has meaning and that in English is read from left
     to right and top to bottom
20   Can write own name with appropriate upper and lower case         AF8
     letters
21   Can form most letters correctly
22   Write simple regular words                                       AF8
23   Begins to make phonic attempts at words                          AF8
24   Can write single letters or groups of letters which represent    AF2
     meaning                                                          AF8
25   Can show some control over size, shape, orientation, in
     writing
26   Can say what writing says and means                           AF2

Scoring
   0 – 19 = W
   20 – 26 = W+         > consider assessing for L1
   23 – 26 = W +        > assess for L1 before making final judgement

Outcome: …………………….


Key writing targets as result of assessment
                                                                 January 2009

                Ros Wilson writing assessment – Level 1

Name…………………………………………………………. Date…………….

Class………………………………..

Guidance notes
   The child must show evidence of statement 9 to attain L1.
   An adult who does not teach the child regularly must be able to
     read/decode the child’s writing without help.
   The writing must be more than one simple statement. There should
     usually be at least three simple statements of three words or more in
     each statement. A simple list of statements (for example, I can…; I
     have a…; I like…) cannot be assessed above L1C, unless the assessor
     is sure that it is not a rote-learned strategy.
   Do not use a simple re-telling of a well-known or recently told story for
     assessment.


General independent writing observed on a day-to-day basis in the
classroom

1   Can write simple texts such as list, stories, recounts,         AF1
    explanations                                                    AF2

Assessment of independent writing sample

Text genre……………………………………….

2   Can produce own ideas for writing                               AF1
3   Can write own name                                              AF8
4   Can show some control over word order, producing logical        AF6
    statements
5   Can spell some common monosyllabic words correctly              AF8
6   Can make recognisable attempts at spelling unknown words,       AF8
    (most decodable without the child’s help)
7   Begins to show awareness of how full stops are used             AF6
8   Can usually give letters a clear shape and orientation
9   Can use simple words and phrases to communicate                 AF2
    meaning so that the majority of the work can be                 AF7
    read/decoded by an adult without help from the child


Scoring
   Statement 9 + any 4 others          Total 5      L1C
   Statement 9 + any 5/6 others        Total 6/7    L1B
   Statement 9 + any 7/8 others        Total 8/9    L1A > assess for L2
Outcome………………………….


Key writing targets as result of assessment
                                                                 January 2009



                Ros Wilson writing assessment – Level 2

Name……………………………………………………………Date…………

Class………………

Guidance notes
   The child must have achieved the essential L1 criteria 5 before
     being assessed at L2: can spell some common monosyllabic words
     correctly.(AF8)
   L2C may only consist of a few statements, usually four or more.
   For L2B and above, about 100 words or at least one side of wide-lined
     A4 is usual.
   Do not use a simple re-telling of a well-known or recently told story for
     assessing narrative writing.

Text genre……………………………………………..

1      Can write with meaning in a series of simple sentences; may     AF1
       not have correct punctuation and structure at L2C               AF2
2      Can produce short sections of developed ideas; L2C may be       AF3
       more like spoken than written language
3      Can use appropriate vocabulary i.e. coherent and sensible       AF7
4      Can use simple phonic strategies, with CVC words accurate       AF8
       and other simple words mainly accurate, when trying to
       spell unknown words
5      Can control the use of ascenders/descenders, upper/lower
       case letters, although shape and size may not always be
       consistent
6      Can use any connective (may only be and) to join 2              AF4
       sentences, thoughts, ideas etc
7      Can communicate ideas and meaning confidently in a series       AF1
       of sentences (may not be accurate but mainly flows)             AF3
8      Can usually sustain narrative and non-narrative forms           AF3
       staying on the subject for more than a few statements
9      Can provide enough detail to interest the reader, beginning     AF2
       to provide extra information or description beyond a simple
       list
10     Can vary the structure of sentences to interest the reader      AF5
       e.g. using questions; direct speech; or opening with a
       subordinate clause
11     Can sometimes use interesting and ambitious words which         AF7
       are not usually in the vocabulary of a child of that age; and
       not a word used in a taught context e.g. volcano or
       evaporate
12     Can match organisation to purpose e.g. showing structure in     AF2
       a letter; openings and endings; organisational devices          AF3
13    Can usually use basic sentence punctuation – full stops        AF6
      followed by capital letters; may not be accurate for L2C
14    Can spell common monosyllabic words accurately                 AF8
15    Can use phonetically plausible strategies to spell or try to   AF8
      spell unknown polysyllabic words. NB If all the spelling is
      correct in a long enough piece with few or no polysyllabic
      words, tick the criteria
16    Can use connectives other than and to join 2 or more simple    AF6
      sentences, thoughts, ideas, etc (e.g. but; so; then)
17    Can make writing lively and interesting e.g. consciously       AF1
      varies sentence length; uses punctuation for effect            AF7
18    Can link ideas and events, using strategies to create flow,    AF3
      e.g. last time; also; after; then; soon; at last               AF4
19    Can use adjectives and descriptive phrases for detail and      AF1
      emphasis e.g. consciously selects adjective for purpose,       AF2
      rather than using a well known phrase: great big Billy Goat    AF7
      Gruff; big bad wolf
20    Can usually structure basic sentences correctly, including     AF6
      capital letters and full stops
21    Can use accurate and consistent handwriting, with
      consistent upper/lower case; ascenders/descenders, size
      and form
22    Begins to show evidence of joining handwriting

Scoring
   8 – 12 = L2C
   13 – 17 = L2B
   18 – 22 = L2A > assess for L3

Outcome…………………..


Key writing targets as result of assessment
                                                                      January 2009

                 Ros Wilson writing assessment – Level 3

Name………………………………………………………………Date…………..

Class………….

Guidance notes
If the following basic skills are not yet evident in the child’s writing, they
must be urgent targets for L3:
     basic sight vocabulary/common monosyllabic words (AF8)
     range of phonic structures/strategies (AF8)
     neat and accurate cursive handwriting

Text genre…………………………………………………………

1     Can produce work which is organised, imaginative and clear           AF1
      e.g. simple opening and ending                                       AF3
2     Can use a range of chosen forms appropriately and                    AF2
      consistently e.g. provide information about characters or
      setting; make a series of points
3     Can adapt chosen form to audience                                    AF2
4     Can use interesting and varied word choices: MUST pick up            AF7
      on ‘ambitious’ from L2B
5     Can develop and extend ideas logically in sequenced                  AF3
      sentences                                                            AF4
                                                                           AF6
6     Can extend sentences using a wider range of connectives to           AF4
      clarify relationships between points and ideas e.g. when; if;        AF5
      because; after; while; also; as well                                 AF6
7     Can usually use correct grammatical structures in sentences          AF5
      e.g. noun-verb agreement
8     Can use sentence punctuation accurately: full stops; capitals;       AF6
      question marks
9     Can structure and organise writing clearly e.g. beginning,           AF3
      middle, end; letter structure; dialogue
10    Can adapt form and style for purpose e.g. clear difference           AF2
      between formal and informal letters
11    Is experimenting with a range of punctuation, although use           AF6
      may not be accurate e.g. commas; inverted commas;
      exclamation marks; ellipsis; apostrophes
12    Can use cursive script accurately and neatly, although may be
      slow (may not be accurate at L3C)
13    Can use adjectives and adverbs for description                       AF1
                                                                           AF7
14    Can use phonetically regular or familiar common polysyllabic         AF8
      words accurately (some of the time for L3C)
15    Can develop characters and describe settings, feelings and           AF1
      emotions                                                             AF2
16   Can link and relate events, including past, present & future,    AF3
     sensibly (afterwards, before, also, after a while, eventually)   AF4
17   Can attempt to give opinion, interest or humour through          AF1
     detail                                                           AF2
18   Can use generalising words for style e.g. sometimes; never;      AF4
     always; often                                                    AF7
19   Is beginning to develop a sense of pace suited to the chosen     AF1
     form                                                             AF2

Scoring
   7 – 10         L3C
   11 – 15        L3B
   16 - 19        L3A > assess for L4

Outcome………………………..


Key writing targets as result of assessment
                                                                  January 2009

                Ros Wilson writing assessment – Level 4

Name………………………………………………………………….Date……………….

Class……………………………..

Guidance notes
   The following skills should be in place by L4. If not, they are now
     urgent targets:
        - can almost always use correct grammatical structures (AF6)
        - can almost always structure and punctuate sentences correctly
        - can use a range of connectives (AF6)
        - can spell monosyllabic and common polysyllabic words correctly
             (AF8)
   If the writing is narrative or a recount, criteria 2 (* below) cannot be
     assessed. Put a line through the bullet point and reduce the scoring
     by one. If the writing is a letter, dialogue, information, explanation etc
     and the structure is accurate, you know they will be able to write a
     narrative and a recount, so you can tick the criteria.
   Do not assess a child at L4 or 5 on the evidence of one
     piece of writing. Skills will vary over the different genres, so the
     overall level should be assessed using a range of writing, using the
     ‘best fit’ model.

Text genre……………………………………………………

1    Can write in a lively and coherent style                          AF1
                                                                       AF4
                                                                       AF7
2    Can use a range of styles confidently and independently*          AF2
                                                                       AF3
3    Can use interesting language to sustain and develop ideas –       AF7
     MUST pick up on ‘ambitious’ from L2B; may be using very
     adventurous language, although inaccurately
4    Can organise ideas appropriately for purpose and audience         AF2
     e.g. captions; headings; fonts; chapters; letter formats;         AF3
     paragraphs; logically sequenced events; contextual and
     background information
5    Can use full stops, question marks and commas accurately          AF6
6    Can write in a clear, neat and legible cursive style
7    Can use more sophisticated connectives e.g. although;             AF4
     however; despite                                                  AF5
                                                                       AF7
8    Can use, or try to use, paragraphs                                AF4
9    Can produce thoughtful and considered writing e.g. uses           AF1
     simple explanation; opinion; justification; deduction             AF2
10   Can use, or try to use, grammatically complex sentences e.g.      AF5
     subordinating clauses; noun phrases
11   Can spell unfamiliar polysyllabic words accurately               AF8
12   Can use nouns, pronouns and tenses accurately and                AF4
     consistently                                                     AF6
13   Can use apostrophes and inverted commas, usually                 AF6
     accurately
14   Can choose from a range of known, adventurous vocabulary         AF7
     for a purpose; some words are particularly well-chosen
15   Can use connectives to give order or emphasis                    AF3
                                                                      AF4
16   Can select interesting strategies to move a story forward e.g.   AF1
     characterisation; dialogue with the reader; scene changing       AF2
17   Can advise assertively, although not confrontationally, in       AF1
     factual writing                                                  AF2

18   Can develop ideas in interesting and creative ways               AF1

Scoring (see guidance note above)
   6–9           L4C
   10 – 13       L4B
   14 – 18       L4A > assess for L5

Outcome………………………….


Key writing targets as result of assessment
                                                                    January 2009

                Ros Wilson writing assessment – Level 5

Name………………………………………………………………..Date………………..

Class………………….

Guidance notes
   The following L4 criteria are essential before moving to L5
     - can use nouns, pronouns and tenses accurately (AFs 4 and 6)
     - can use a range of sentence punctuation accurately (AF6)
     - can use ambitious vocabulary (AF7)
   Do not assess a child at L4 or 5 on the evidence from a single piece of
     writing. Skills will vary over the different genres, so the overall level
     should be assessed using a range of writing, using the ‘best fit’ model.

Text genre………………………………………………………………

1    Can produce writing which is varied, interesting and              AF1
     thoughtful                                                        AF2
2    Can produce well-structured and organised writing using a         AF2
     range of conventions in layout                                    AF3
3    Can use appropriate informal and formal styles with               AF2
     confidence e.g. standard English; conversational; colloquial      AF7
4    Can choose from a wide range of known imaginative and             AF7
     ambitious vocabulary, and use precisely; spelling including       AF8
     complex words almost always correct
5    Can use paragraphs consistently and appropriately                 AF3
                                                                       AF4
6    Can group subjects appropriately before or after a main verb      AF5
     e.g. The books, pens and pencils were all ready on the table      AF6
7    Can use pronouns appropriately to avoid repetition when           AF4
     referring back or forwards
8    Can use different techniques to conclude work appropriately       AF2
                                                                       AF3
9    Can use complex sentences appropriately                           AF5
10   Can use a range of punctuation, including commas, inverted        AF6
     commas and apostrophes, to clarify structure and meaning
11   Can use punctuation to create effect e.g. exclamation             AF6
     marks; dashes; ellipsis
12   Can write fluently in clear, cursive script
13   Can adapt handwriting for a range of tasks and purposes,
     including for effect
14   Can use the passive voice for variety and to shift focus          AF2
                                                                       AF5
15   Can show confident and established ‘voice’                        AF1
                                                                       AF2
16   Can use a range of narrative techniques with confidence,          AF1
     interweaving elements when appropriate e.g. action;               AF2
     dialogue; indirect speech
17   Can vary sentence length and word order confidently to          AF5
     sustain interest
18   Can use a range of strategies and techniques confidently        AF1
     and appropriately to engage and involve the reader              AF2
19   Can use a range of devices to adapt writing to the needs of     AF2
     the reader e.g. introduction; headings; contents; footnotes;    AF3
     glossary
20   Can use literary features to create effect e.g. alliteration;   AF1
     figurative language                                             AF2
                                                                     AF7
21   Can interweave implicit and explicit links between sections     AF4
22   Can use punctuation to show division between clauses; to        AF3
     vary pace; to create atmosphere; and to sub-divide e.g.         AF6
     commas; colons; semi-colons; brackets; ellipsis


Scoring
   9 – 12        L5C
   13 – 17       L5B
   18 – 22       L5A

Key targets as a result of writing assessment
Ros Wilson Criterion Scale linked to writing assessment focuses and NC levels

Level   AF1            AF2            AF3             AF4             AF5             AF6             AF7           AF8
        Composition    Composition    Structure and   Structure and   Sentence        Sentence        Composition   Spelling
        and effect     and effect     organization    organization    structure and   structure and   and effect
                                                                      punctuation     punctuation
        Voice/style    Audience and   Sequence and    Organisation    Varying         Grammar/        Effective
                       purpose        organisation    and             sentence        technical       vocabulary
                                                      paragraphing    structure       accuracy
W       9              9 10 12 18                                                                                   14 16 17
                       24 26                                                                                        20 22 23
                                                                                                                    24
L1      12             19                                                             47              9             356

L2      1 7 17 19      1 9 12 19      2 7 8 12 18     6 18            10              13 16 20        3 11 17 19    4 14 15

L3      1 13 15 17     2 3 10 15 17   5 9 16          5 6 16 18       67              6 8 11          4 13 18       14
        19             19
L4      1 9 16 17 18   2 4 9 16 17    2 4 15          1 7 8 12 15     7 10            5 12 13         3 7 14        11

L5      1 15 16 18     1 2 3 8 14     2 5 8 19 22     5 7 21          6 9 14 17       6 10 22         4 20          4
        20             15 16 18 19
                       20

								
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