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Writing Test -2 Grade 12

1.   A tall tale is a type of story that uses exaggeration to solve a real-life problem. As the story progresses, the main character demonstrates superhuman abilities to overcome ordinary obstacles. The story shown below is an example of a tall tale.

A Flood and Drought Tale

It had been raining without a break for four days. The roads were flooded, power outages were common, and dry basements had become a thing of the past. At the same time, a drought on the other side of the country was responsible for dangerously low reservoir levels, thirsty cattle, and parched fields.

Victor, a young man who lived in one of the flooded towns, was very unhappy about the continuing bad weather. Not only had he spent the last two days bailing water from his family’s basement, but he was due to miss out on a camping trip, originally planned for the upcoming weekend, that he and his friends had been excitedly anticipating.

Victor put a small rope in his back pocket and walked outside. As he stood with the rain pelting down on him, he grew until he stood a mile high. Standing up above the rain clouds, he took the rope from his back pocket. The rope was now hundreds of yards long and Victor used it to lasso the rain clouds. Holding the clouds in the rope, he walked across the country taking fifty-mile steps. He untied the clouds over the drought-stricken land and a heavy rain began to fall there. Then he walked back to his house in his town where the sun was now shining, shrunk back down to his regular size, and went inside to pack for the camping trip.

Imagine that you will participate in a “tall-tale writing contest” at your school. Write you own tall tale. You can write about yourself, someone you know, or someone you imagine. Be sure to give your main character whatever superhuman abilities are necessary to save the day.

Scoring Guide

Score & Description
Excellent

• Tells a clear story that is consistently well-developed and detailed; details enhance story being told.

• Well organized; integrates narrative events into a smooth telling; effective transitions move the story forward.

• 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

• Tells a clear story that is well-developed and supported with pertinent details in much of the response.

• Well organized with story elements that are connected across most of the response; may have occasional lapses in 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

• Tells a clear story that is developed with some pertinent details.

• Generally organized, but transitions among parts of the story may be lacking.

• 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:

• Tells a story that may be clear and developed in parts; other parts are unfocused, repetitive, or minimally developed 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:

• Attempts to tell a story, but is very undeveloped, list-like, or fragmentary.

• Disorganized or unfocused in much of the response OR the response is too brief to detect organization.

• 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:

• Responds to prompt but provides little or no coherent content OR merely paraphrases 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.

2.   A novel written in the 1950’s describes a world where people are not allowed to read books. A small group of people who want to save books memorize them, so that the books won’t be forgotten. For example, an old man who has memorized the novel  The Call of the Wild helps a young boy memorize it by reciting the story to him. In this way, the book is saved for the future.

If you were told that you could save just one book for future generations, which book would you choose?

Write an essay in which you discuss which book you would choose to save for future generations and what it is about the book that makes it important to save. Be sure to discuss in detail why the book is important to you and why it would be important to future generations.

Scoring Guide

Score & Description
Excellent

• Information is presented effectively and consistently supported with well-chosen details.

• Information is focused and well organized, with a sustained controlling idea and effective use of transitions.

• Response 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

• Information is presented clearly and supported with pertinent details in much of the response.

• Response is well organized, but may lack some transitions.

• Response 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

• Information is presented clearly and supported with some pertinent details.

• Information 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:

• Information is presented clearly in parts; other parts are undeveloped or 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:

• Provides information that is very undeveloped or list-like.

• Much of the response is disorganized or unfocused, OR the response is too brief to detect organization.

• Author has 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:

• Responds to prompt but may be incoherent OR provides very minimal information OR merely paraphrases 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.

3.   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.