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Released Writing Prompts for State Testing January 10, 2012

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Where Do You Find Released Writing Prompts?

Are you looking for a fabulous collection of released writing prompts from state writing assessments? Would 114 PAGES of these released writing prompts be enough? If so, you have landed on the right page! Below you will find the finest collection of released writing prompts available. Nearly all the prompts are appropriate for elementary and middle school students, and there are quite a few designed specifically for high school students.

You may also enjoy reading: Writing Prompt Structure and Keywords for State Writing Tests and Elementary Writing Samples, Middle School Writing Examples, Sample Essays.” If you are looking to improve student writing FAST, be sure to check out the Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay page.

What types of writing are students asked to write on state writing tests? What types of prompts will you find in the collections below? 

On state writing tests you will find descriptive, expository, persuasive, informative, narrative, imaginative, summarize, and response to literature writing prompts. In the collections of released writing prompts below, you will find examples of all of these different types of writing prompts. (Note: You will not find many examples of “summarize” and “respond to literature” prompts. These types of prompts are built around a reading passage connected to the prompt. As such, I have included a few examples of these types of prompts at the bottom of this page.)

What is The Value and Benefit of Released Writing Prompts?

The value and benefit of these writing prompts can be far-reaching. Spending just a little time dissecting and analyzing these released writing prompts will have a very large payoff. The truth of writing assessments is that many students are off track before they even place their pencil on the paper. Many students completely miss the mark on what they are supposed to write. They write about what they thought they were supposed to write about, or they write about what they wish they had been asked to write about. It is SO FRUSTRATING to see good writers miss the purpose and intent behind a writing prompt and get a poor score.

In other words, these released writing prompts from state writing assessments have more benefit than simply providing interesting topics to write about. (Once again, be sure to read Writing Prompt Structure and Keywords for State Writing Tests.” As well, check back for upcoming posts dealing with state writing assessments.)

Directions: Open up a second browser and copy and paste the links below into your address bar.

Collection 1: The first collection comes from a very good book called Blowing Away the State Writing Assessment Test. You can find the released writing prompts section of this book on the internet in PDF format (follow the link below.) You can buy the complete book used for $2 + shipping on Amazon. It’s a great deal and you will find at least a few ideas that will help you understand state writing assessments. This collection of writing prompts is 33 PAGES. These prompts are designed for elementary, middle, and high school students.

http://educationnorthwest.org/webfm_send/664   (copy and paste the link into your browser)

Collection 2: If you teach 3rd-5th grade, you are going to love this collection! This collection is from Florida’s fourth grade writing assessment, the FCAT. It’s just four pages, but it contains many, many excellent narrative, expository, and persuasive writing prompts.

http://www.putnamschools.org/departments/title1/FCAT_Sec_Prompts.doc   (This is a Word .doc, so you will be asked to save it. Remember, copy and paste the link into your browser.)

Collection 3: Here is another fabulous collection from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. It’s 47 PAGES and has released writing prompts from the sixth grade, ninth grade, and eleventh grade writing assessments.

http://www.chambersburg.k12.pa.us/curric/K-12%20Curriculum%20CD/Language%20Arts/Resources/Writing.Asses.Rel.Writing.Prompts.pdf   (copy and paste the link into your browser)

Collection 4: Here are released prompts from the California Writing Standards Test for Fourth Grade. It’s 12 pages.

http://k6englishlanguagearts.rusd.k12.ca.us/Documents/Reading-Writing%20Workshop/Grade%204%20Theme%204%20Writing-%20CST%20Prep.pdf   (copy and paste the link into your browser)

Collection 5: Here is a collection from Oregon. It’s 10 pages and includes prompts for elementary, middle, and high school students.

http://www.ode.state.or.us/wma/teachlearn/testing/samples/2009_10/writing_sampleprompts_2009.pdf   (copy and paste the link into your browser)

Collection 6: Here is a collection just for high school students. It’s from the Georgia High School Writing Test and it’s 7 pages.

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/DMGetDocument.aspx/GHSWT%20Released%20Prompts.pdf?p=6CC6799F8C1371F6778017113C51AA891E0791CED9D2C650F3271928E7627F14&Type=D   (copy and paste the ENTIRE link into your browser)

Summarize and Respond to Literature Prompts

Once again, you will not find many of these types of prompts in any of the collections above. As such, I wanted to give a few examples of what they look like.

Respond to Literature Example Prompts

• Read the story. What message about life is the author trying to communicate to the reader? Be sure to use specific examples from the story to support your answer.

• Based on the story “Down and Out, but Not Done,” how can the reader tell that life during the Great Depression was a struggle? Use specific examples from the passage to support your answer.

• Do you think “Time for Tea and Crumpets” is a good title for this story? Why or why not? Be sure to use details from the story to support your answer.

Write a Summary Example Prompt

Write a summary of the article. Be sure to:

  • state the main idea or ideas of the article
  • tell the important details that support the main idea
  • use your own words when writing your summary .

Important Note: Good writing prompts are not a substitute for effective writing instruction, so here is a plan for writing success. First, download these writing prompts and then immediately check out Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay.” Every day more and more teachers are discovering how much quicker and how much easier teaching writing is once they understand Pattern Based Writing!

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