Instructional Support

2017 English Language Arts and Literacy Framework

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.

KindergartenSample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Opinion Essay
Sample 2: "How To" Book
Sample 3: Personal Narrative
Sample 4: Personal Narrative
Grade 1Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Opinion Essay
Sample 2: Opinion Essay
Sample 3: Informational Essay
Sample 4: Personal Narrative
Grade 2Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Persuasive Essay
Sample 2: Group Research Project
Sample 3: Group Research Project
Sample 4: Poem
Sample 5: Personal Narrative
Grade 3Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Opinion Essay
Sample 2: Informational Essay
Sample 3: Biography
Sample 4: Letter to Describe Hardships Experienced by the Pilgrims in the New World
Sample 5: Personal Narrative
Grade 4Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Opinion Essay
Sample 2: Essay
Sample 3: Personal Narrative
Grade 5Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Essay
Sample 2: Research Report
Sample 3: Research Report
Sample 4: Biographical Essay
Sample 5: Personal Narrative
Sample 6: Poetry
Grade 6Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Persuasive Letter
Sample 2: Persuasive Essay  
Sample 3: Essay Written as a Spring Benchmark Sample
Sample 4: Letter to an Author
Sample 5: Short Research Essay
Sample 6: Poem
Sample 7: Short Narrative
Grade 7Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Short Research Project
Sample 3: Response to a Text-Based Question
Sample 4: First Person Narrative
Sample 5: Poem
Grade 8Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Literary Interpretation Essay
Sample 2: Letter to the Editor
Sample 3: Letter to the Editor
Sample 4: Letter to an Author
Sample 5: Science Fiction Narrative
Sample 6: A poem that emulates the poetic structure and form of a model
Sample 7: Narrative Poem
Grade 9Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Literary Analysis
Grade 10Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Personal Essay
Sample 2: Personal Narrative
Sample 3: Explanation by Categorization
Grade 11Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Argument
Grade 12Sample & CommentaryUnmarked Sample
Sample 1: Poem

Last Updated: November 20, 2019

 
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