Writing Test Samples: Grade 12:Persuasive Writing


  1. The twentieth century has given us inventions that have changed our lives in many ways. Big inventions, like television, computers, or microwave ovens, have had such a great impact on our culture that they seem to overshadow the small ones, like ballpoint pens, headphones, or calculators.

    Write an essay in which you argue whether the “big” inventions or the “small” ones play a more important role in your daily life and provide reasons to support your position. You may use the examples of inventions given above or come up with some of your own. Give as many examples as you feel necessary to support your position.

Scoring Guide

Score & Description

Excellent

• Takes a clear position and supports it consistently with well-chosen reasons and/or examples; may use persuasive strategy to convey an argument.
• Is focused and well organized, with effective use of transitions.
• Consistently exhibits variety in sentence structure and precision in word choice.
• Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation are few and do not interfere with understanding.

Skillful

• Takes a clear position and supports it with pertinent reasons and/or examples through much of the response.
• Is well organized, but may lack some transitions.
• Exhibits some variety in sentence structure and uses good word choice; occasionally, words may be used inaccurately.
• Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation do not interfere with understanding.

Sufficient

• Takes a clear position and supports it with some pertinent reasons and/or examples; there is some development.
• Is generally organized, but has few or no transitions among parts.
• Sentence structure may be simple and unvaried; word choice is mostly accurate.
• Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation do not interfere with understanding.

Uneven

May be characterized by one or more of the following:
• Takes a position and provides uneven support; may lack development in parts or be repetitive OR response is no more than a well-written beginning.
• Is organized in parts of the response; other parts are disjointed and/or lack transitions.
•  Exhibits uneven control over sentence boundaries and sentence structure; may exhibit some inaccurate word choices.
• Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation sometimes interfere with understanding.

Insufficient

May be characterized by one or more of the following:
• Takes a position but response is very undeveloped.
• Is disorganized or unfocused in much of the response OR clear but very brief.
• Minimal control over sentence boundaries and sentence structure; word choice may often be inaccurate.
• Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation interfere with understanding in much of the response.

Unsatisfactory

May be characterized by one or more of the following:
• Attempts to take a position (addresses topic) but position is very unclear OR takes a position, but provides minimal or no support; may only paraphrase the prompt.
• Has little or no apparent organization.
• Minimal or no control over sentence boundaries and sentence structure; word choice may be inaccurate in much or all of the response.
•  Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation severely impede understanding across the response.

Excellent – Student Response

The twentieth century has given us inventions that have changed our lives in many ways. Big inventions, like television, computers, or microwave ovens, have had such a great impact on our culture that they seem to overshadow the small ones, like ballpoint pens, headphones, or calculators.

Write an essay in which you argue whether the “big” inventions or the “small” ones play a more important role in your daily life and provide reasons to support your position. You may use the examples of inventions given above or come up with some of your own. Give as many examples as you feel necessary to support your position.

Scorer Comments:

“Excellent” responses present information with descriptive, well-chosen details throughout. This response is focused and well-organized by the use of an introduction, which presents each invention that will be discussed. The student sustains controlled support across the response and effectively makes use of transitions.

Skillful – Student Response

The twentieth century has given us inventions that have changed our lives in many ways. Big inventions, like television, computers, or microwave ovens, have had such a great impact on our culture that they seem to overshadow the small ones, like ballpoint pens, headphones, or calculators.

Write an essay in which you argue whether the “big” inventions or the “small” ones play a more important role in your daily life and provide reasons to support your position. You may use the examples of inventions given above or come up with some of your own. Give as many examples as you feel necessary to support your position.

Scorer Comments:

“Skillful” responses develop and shape information with detail in parts of the response. This response is organized and exhibits sentence variety and some good word choice; however, a lapse in continuity exists between the descriptions of each invention used as an example for support. There are some errors in grammar and usage, but they do not interfere with understanding.

Sufficient – Student Response

The twentieth century has given us inventions that have changed our lives in many ways. Big inventions, like television, computers, or microwave ovens, have had such a great impact on our culture that they seem to overshadow the small ones, like ballpoint pens, headphones, or calculators.

Write an essay in which you argue whether the “big” inventions or the “small” ones play a more important role in your daily life and provide reasons to support your position. You may use the examples of inventions given above or come up with some of your own. Give as many examples as you feel necessary to support your position.

Scorer Comments:

“Sufficient” responses provide information that is generally related, but there are few to no transitions. This response offers some extension in the details regarding “small” inventions, such as the chair or pen. Overall, this response contains simple word choice.

Uneven – Student Response

The twentieth century has given us inventions that have changed our lives in many ways. Big inventions, like television, computers, or microwave ovens, have had such a great impact on our culture that they seem to overshadow the small ones, like ballpoint pens, headphones, or calculators.

Write an essay in which you argue whether the “big” inventions or the “small” ones play a more important role in your daily life and provide reasons to support your position. You may use the examples of inventions given above or come up with some of your own. Give as many examples as you feel necessary to support your position.

Scorer Comments:

“Uneven” responses provide some clear information, but they are often undeveloped and disjointed. This response presents some different pieces of information about big and small inventions, but errors in spelling and the lack of control over sentence boundaries sometimes interferes with understanding.

Insufficient – Student Response

The twentieth century has given us inventions that have changed our lives in many ways. Big inventions, like television, computers, or microwave ovens, have had such a great impact on our culture that they seem to overshadow the small ones, like ballpoint pens, headphones, or calculators.

Write an essay in which you argue whether the “big” inventions or the “small” ones play a more important role in your daily life and provide reasons to support your position. You may use the examples of inventions given above or come up with some of your own. Give as many examples as you feel necessary to support your position.

Scorer Comments:

“Insufficient” responses attempt to provide information on big or small inventions with minimal support for development. This response is too brief to detect any significant organization and is list-like.

Unsatisfactory – Student Response

The twentieth century has given us inventions that have changed our lives in many ways. Big inventions, like television, computers, or microwave ovens, have had such a great impact on our culture that they seem to overshadow the small ones, like ballpoint pens, headphones, or calculators.

Write an essay in which you argue whether the “big” inventions or the “small” ones play a more important role in your daily life and provide reasons to support your position. You may use the examples of inventions given above or come up with some of your own. Give as many examples as you feel necessary to support your position.

Scorer Comments:

“Unsatisfactory” responses offer very minimal information or no coherent writing. This response exhibits no apparent organization and offers only brief mention that big inventions are more important and useful.


  1. Who are our heroes? The media attention given to celebrities suggests that these people are today’s heroes. Yet ordinary people perform extraordinary acts of courage every day that go virtually unnoticed. Are these people the real heroes? Write an essay in which you define heroism and argue who you think our heroes really are—mass-media stars, ordinary people, or maybe both. Be sure to use examples of specific celebrities, other people you have heard or read about, or people from your own community to support your position.

Scoring Guide

Score & Description

Excellent

  • Takes a clear position and supports it consistently with well-chosen reasons and/or examples; may use persuasive strategy to convey an argument.
  • Focused and well organized, with effective use of transitions.
  • Consistently exhibits variety in sentence structure and precision in word choice.
  • Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation are few and do not interfere with understanding.

Skillful

  • Takes a clear position and supports it with pertinent reasons and/or examples through much of the response.
  • Well organized, but may lack some transitions.
  • Exhibits some variety in sentence structure and uses good word choice; occasionally, words may be used inaccurately.
  • Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation do not interfere with understanding.

Sufficient

  • Takes a clear position and supports it with some pertinent reasons and/or examples; there is some development.
  • Generally organized, but has few or no transitions among parts.
  • Sentence structure may be simple and unvaried; word choice is mostly accurate.
  • Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation do not interfere with understanding.

Uneven

May be characterized by one or more of the following:

  • Takes a position and provides uneven support; may lack development in parts or be repetitive OR is no more than a well-written beginning.
  • Organized in parts of the response; other parts are disjointed and/or lack transitions.
  • Exhibits uneven control over sentence boundaries and sentence structure; may exhibit some inaccurate word choices.
  • Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation sometimes interfere with understanding.

Insufficient

May be characterized by one or more of the following:

  • Takes a position but is very undeveloped.
  • Disorganized or unfocused in much of the response OR clear but very brief.
  • Minimal control over sentence boundaries and sentence structure; word choice may often be inaccurate.
  • Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation interfere with understanding in much of the response.

Unsatisfactory

May be characterized by one or more of the following:

  • Attempts to take a position (addresses topic) but position is very unclear OR takes a position but provides minimal or no support; may only paraphrase the prompt.
  • Little or no apparent organization.
  • Minimal or no control over sentence boundaries and sentence structure; word choice may be inaccurate in much or all of the response.
  • Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation severely impede understanding across the response.
Excellent – Student Response
Who are our heroes? The media attention given to celebrities suggests that these people are today’s heroes. Yet ordinary people perform extraordinary acts of courage every day that go virtually unnoticed. Are these people the real heroes? Write an essay in which you define heroism and argue who you think our heroes really are—mass-media stars, ordinary people, or maybe both. Be sure to use examples of specific celebrities, other people you have heard or read about, or people from your own community to support your position.

Scorer Comments:

Excellent responses offered consistent support for their positions in the form of well-chosen reasons and examples. In the sample response below, the writer uses the strategy of question/answer to advance and maintain the focus of his or her argument: “So, what about the sports stars we call heroes?” The response is also outstanding in its consistent variety in sentence structure and precise word choices.

Skillful – Student Response
Who are our heroes? The media attention given to celebrities suggests that these people are today’s heroes. Yet ordinary people perform extraordinary acts of courage every day that go virtually unnoticed. Are these people the real heroes? Write an essay in which you define heroism and argue who you think our heroes really are—mass-media stars, ordinary people, or maybe both. Be sure to use examples of specific celebrities, other people you have heard or read about, or people from your own community to support your position.

Scorer Comments:

Skillful responses took clear positions and supported them with reasons or examples in parts of the response. The response shown below supports a clear position with pertinent examples (such as the friend’s grandmother) in much of the response. The paper is well organized overall, but does not consistently exhibit well-executed sentence variety or good word choices.

Sufficient – Student Response
Who are our heroes? The media attention given to celebrities suggests that these people are today’s heroes. Yet ordinary people perform extraordinary acts of courage every day that go virtually unnoticed. Are these people the real heroes? Write an essay in which you define heroism and argue who you think our heroes really are—mass-media stars, ordinary people, or maybe both. Be sure to use examples of specific celebrities, other people you have heard or read about, or people from your own community to support your position.

Scorer Comments:

“Sufficient” responses took clear positions and developed those positions with some pertinent reasons or examples. Ideas were generally related with few transitions. The response below makes a clear argument that heroes are those who perform courageous acts, but lacks development and is only generally organized, due to an absence of transitions among ideas.

Uneven – Student Response
Who are our heroes? The media attention given to celebrities suggests that these people are today’s heroes. Yet ordinary people perform extraordinary acts of courage every day that go virtually unnoticed. Are these people the real heroes? Write an essay in which you define heroism and argue who you think our heroes really are—mass-media stars, ordinary people, or maybe both. Be sure to use examples of specific celebrities, other people you have heard or read about, or people from your own community to support your position.

Scorer Comments:

“Uneven” responses took a clear position and offered support, but that support was often lacking in development. This response also has some typical “Uneven” grammatical errors, inaccurate word choices, and some minor difficulties with sentence structure that occasionally interfere with understanding.

Insufficient – Student Response
Who are our heroes? The media attention given to celebrities suggests that these people are today’s heroes. Yet ordinary people perform extraordinary acts of courage every day that go virtually unnoticed. Are these people the real heroes? Write an essay in which you define heroism and argue who you think our heroes really are—mass-media stars, ordinary people, or maybe both. Be sure to use examples of specific celebrities, other people you have heard or read about, or people from your own community to support your position.

Scorer Comments:

“Insufficient” responses attempted to take positions and offer support but were very brief, disorganized, or marked by severe errors in sentence control and/or grammar. The “Insufficient” response below is underdeveloped.

Unsatisfactory – Student Response
Who are our heroes? The media attention given to celebrities suggests that these people are today’s heroes. Yet ordinary people perform extraordinary acts of courage every day that go virtually unnoticed. Are these people the real heroes? Write an essay in which you define heroism and argue who you think our heroes really are—mass-media stars, ordinary people, or maybe both. Be sure to use examples of specific celebrities, other people you have heard or read about, or people from your own community to support your position.

Scorer Comments:

“Unsatisfactory” responses responded to the prompt but either had positions that were very unclear or offered no coherent support for a position. The response below has errors in sentence structure and word choice severe enough to interfere with understanding across the response.


  1. Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
    Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
    Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
    Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

    Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scoring Guide

Score & Description

Excellent

  • Takes a clear position and supports it consistently with well-chosen reasons and/or examples; may use persuasive strategy to convey an argument.
  • Is focused and well organized, with effective use of transitions.
  • Consistently exhibits variety in sentence structure and precision in word choice.
  • Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation are few and do not interfere with understanding.

Skillful

  • Takes a clear position and supports it with pertinent reasons and/or examples through much of the response.
  • Is well organized, but may lack some transitions.
  • Exhibits some variety in sentence structure and uses good word choice; occasionally, words may be used inaccurately.
  • Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation do not interfere with understanding.

Sufficient

  • Takes a clear position and supports it with some pertinent reasons and/or examples; there is some development.
  • Is generally organized, but has few or no transitions among parts.
  • Sentence structure may be simple and unvaried; word choice is mostly accurate.
  • Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation do not interfere with understanding.

Uneven

(may be characterized by one or more of the following:)

  • Takes a position and provides uneven support; may lack development in parts or be repetitive OR response is no more than a well-written beginning.
  • Is organized in parts of the response; other parts are disjointed and/or lack transitions.
  • Exhibits uneven control over sentence boundaries and sentence structure; may exhibit some inaccurate word choices.
  • Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation sometimes interfere with understanding.

Insufficient

(may be characterized by one or more of the following:)

  • Takes a position but is very undeveloped.
  • Is disorganized or unfocused in much of the response OR clear but very brief.
  • Minimal control over sentence boundaries and sentence structure; word choice may often be inaccurate.
  • Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation interfere with understanding in much of the response.

Unsatisfactory

(may be characterized by one or more of the following:)

  • Attempts to take a position (addresses topic) but position is very unclear OR takes a position, but provides minimal or no support; may only paraphrase the prompt.
  • Exhibits little or no apparent organization.
  • Minimal or no control over sentence boundaries and sentence structure; word choice may be inaccurate in much or all of the response.
  • Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation severely impede understanding across the response.
Excellent – Student Response
Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scorer Comments:

In this “Excellent” response, the student consistently elaborates reasons with details or examples, uses transition throughout, and shows consistently good control of language. This student provides a consistent, elaborated argument and uses rhetorical devices effectively to support points.

Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scorer Comments:

In this “Excellent” response, the student writes with a clear and persuasive voice, and demonstrates a solid ability to provide transitions between ideas and examples. The paper is well developed and focused, and offers specific support for ideas.

Skillful – Student Response
Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scorer Comments:

In this “Skillful” response, the student elaborates reasons with details or examples in some, but not all, of the response. The student introduces the theme in the first paragraph: “Voting isn’t a responsibility, it’s an opportunity.” He or she then points out why it is important to vote: to make the “beliefs of the general public” clear (second paragraph) and “to get an accurate representation of what all citizens want” (third paragraph). This response does not display the same level of command of complex sentence structure and rhetoric as the “excellent” responses.

Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scorer Comments:

In this “Skillful” response, the student follows the prompt’s suggestion to provide a “response” to the “friends” who are debating about voting in the prompt. The letter format helps to showcase the logic of the writer’s argument, which moves from the general (“the ability to vote is one of the issues the fathers of this nation fought for”) to the specific (“I felt very strongly about voting no matter how old you are.”). Though not as developed as an “excellent” paper, this “skillful” paper shows good control of syntax and grammar.

Sufficient – Student Response
Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scorer Comments:

In this “Sufficient” response, the student organizes reasons into a complete, clear argument. The reasons are developed with some details and the paper is organized and unified. Some points are very clearly stated: “If no one voted our country would not have democracy.” Some problems with mechanics, as shown especially in the last sentence of the essay, do not impede the overall clarity and unity of the response.

Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scorer Comments:

This “Sufficient” response is clearly written and makes good points in comparing people who have the privilege of voting with those who do not have that right. The student does not employ clear links between sections of the paper, but overall the paper is organized.

Uneven – Student Response
Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scorer Comments:

The response shown was rated “Uneven.” The student provides a somewhat undeveloped argument, despite the example at the end to illustrate how one vote can make a difference. The student jumps from the point that “everyone should vote to support what they feel is nessecary” to the statement that “1 vote can defenatly make a diffrence” without developing either point. The control of language is noticeably less strong than in responses rated “Sufficient” or better.

Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scorer Comments:

The “Uneven” response shown exemplifies the lack of clear transitions often found in essays in this category. The writer jumps from the statement “Well the go vote for who you want win. Don’t just sit there and discuss it” to the remark “Some people can’t vote, they might have some kind of disorder that makes them unable to vote” with no explanation or transition. The rhetoric is awkward, and the response lacks syntactic variety. There is, however, an attempt to develop a qualified position, between those of Friend One and Friend Two presented in the prompt, that shows some development.

Insufficient – Student Response
Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scorer Comments:

In this “Insufficient” response, the student does not justify his or her position beyond saying that it matters who gets elected. The paper is very repetitive.

Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scorer Comments:

This response was rated “Insufficient.” The response is somewhat repetitive and has consistent errors in language use. The list of issues to be considered by voters, while relevant, tends to lead the student away from a sustained argument into repetition in the latter part of the paper.

Unsatisfactory – Student Response
Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scorer Comments:

In this “Unsatisfactory” response, the student only states that he or she agrees with one of the three friends in the reported conversation in the prompt and goes no further.

Your school is sponsoring a voter registration drive for 18-year-old high school students. You and three of your friends are talking about the project. Your friends say the following,
Friend 1: “I’m working on the young voters’ registration drive. Are you going to come to it and register? You’re all 18, so you can do it. We’re trying to help increase the number of young people who vote and it shouldn’t be too hard — I read that the percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds who vote increased in recent years. We want that percentage to keep going up.”
Friend 2: “I’ll be there. People should vote as soon as they turn 18. It’s one of the responsibilities of living in a democracy.”
Friend 3: “I don’t know if people should even bother to register. One vote in an election isn’t going to change anything.”

Do you agree with friend 2 or 3? Write a response to your friends in which you explain whether you will or will not register to vote. Be sure to explain why and support your position with examples from your reading or experience. Try to convince the friend with whom you disagree that your position is the right one.

Scorer Comments:

This “Unsatisfactory” response does not go much beyond saying that the student agrees with one of the “friends” cited in the prompt. The response has consistent problems with control of language.

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