7th Grade STAAR Writing


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2015 Writing Samples

The following samples should NOT be used with students since it would interfere with the MOY Benchmark that will be given in January.

Take a look at the samples of Expository Writing from the 2015 STAAR. Before looking at the official scores talk about the key elements in the rubric and discuss how they should be scored according to the rubric.

The Non-Negotiables

  • The form of the essay must "match" the purpose for writing.
  • The essay must be responsive to the central "charge" of the prompt (the "write about").
  • An explicit, specific thesis must be evident- the earlier in the paper, the better.
  • The essay must progress logically and smoothly from sentence to sentence.
  • Development must be narrow and deep- focused on one or two ideas that are explained in enough depth to add substance and thoughtfulness to the essay.
  • Each part of the essay must "build" on what comes before it- meaningful transitions are essential for this to happen.
  • The use of language must establish an appropriate tone and enhance the development of ideas.
  • Sentences must be controlled and effective.
  • Writing must be fluent and relatively free from errors.

In a Nutshell—Lower Score Range

Typical problems we’ve seen in papers falling in the lower score range (1s and 2s)

  • Wrong organizational structure/form for purpose
  • Weak, evolving, or nonexistent thesis
  • Wasted space: repetition, wordiness, extraneous details or examples, looping/meandering, meaningless introductions and conclusions
  • Inclusion of too many different ideas for 1 page
  • General/vague/imprecise use of language or inappropriate tone for purpose
  • Essay poorly crafted
  • Weak conventions

In a Nutshell—Higher Score Range

Typical strengths we’ve seen in papers falling in the higher score range (3s and 4s)

  • Strong match between structure/form and purpose
  • Explicit thesis and sustained focus
  • “Narrow and deep” development—no wasted words or space Think quality over quantity!
  • Introduction and conclusion short but effective
  • Specific use of language and appropriate tone for purpose
  • Essay well crafted
  • Strong conventions