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Center for Instructional Support

Writing Standards in Action

Educators, parents, and students often ask, "What does good student writing at this grade level look like?" The answer lies in the writing itself. All students can meet high standards. The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks outline content and skill expectations at each grade level. Below are examples of high-quality student writing with annotations that highlight how each piece meets or exceeds learning standards at its grade level. The annotated samples are designed to support teachers, administrators, families, and students in improving instruction and student writing.

The student writing samples below represent a range of grade levels and content areas and were written for a variety of tasks, audiences, and purposes. When possible, they include information about the assignment and teaching strategies that elicited the writing. Writers come from Massachusetts public schools in urban, suburban, and rural districts across the state.

All samples are authentic and unedited student work. Accordingly, they may contain inaccuracies in wording and content or shortcomings in the use of standard English conventions. Samples were submitted by teachers and administrators for review and selection by panels of Massachusetts educators with expertise in writing instruction and evaluation.

Please note that samples were collected and annotated before the 2018 revisions to the Massachusetts standards for history and social science.

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How to use the samples
KindergartenSample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Opinion EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 2: "How To" BookDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 3: Personal NarrativeDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 4: Personal NarrativeDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document

Grade 1Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Opinion EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 2: Opinion EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 3: Informational EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 4: Personal NarrativeDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document

Grade 2Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Persuasive EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 2: Group Research ProjectDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 3: Group Research ProjectDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 4: PoemDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 5: Personal NarrativeDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document

Grade 3Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Opinion EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 2: Informational EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 3: BiographyDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 4: Letter to Describe Hardships Experienced by the Pilgrims in the New WorldDownload Word DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 5: Personal NarrativeDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document

Grade 4Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Opinion EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 2: EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 3: Personal NarrativeDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document

Grade 5Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 2: Research ReportDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 3: Research ReportDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 4: Biographical EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 5: Personal NarrativeDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 6: PoetryDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document

Grade 6Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Persuasive LetterDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 2: Persuasive EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 3: Essay Written as a Spring Benchmark SampleDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 4: Letter to an AuthorDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 5: Short Research EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 6: PoemDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 7: Short NarrativeDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document

Grade 7Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Short Research ProjectDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 2: An Imaginary JournalDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 3: Response to a Text-Based QuestionDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 4: First Person NarrativeDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 5: PoemDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 6: Emulation

Grade 8Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Literary Interpretation EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 2: Letter to the EditorDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 3: Letter to the EditorDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 4: Letter to an AuthorDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 5: Science Fiction NarrativeDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 6: A poem that emulates the poetic structure and form of a modelDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 7: Narrative PoemDownload Word DocumentDownload Word Document

Grade 9Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Literary AnalysisDownload Word DocumentDownload Word Document

Grade 10Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Personal EssayDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
Sample 2: Personal NarrativeDownload Word DocumentDownload Word Document
Sample 3: Explanation by CategorizationDownload Word DocumentDownload Word Document

Grade 11Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: ArgumentDownload Word DocumentDownload Word Document

Grade 12Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: PoemDownload PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document



Last Updated: January 30, 2019
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