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.
Last Updated: November 20, 2019
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