Pennsylvania Writing Assessment Domain Scoring Guide

Compare/Contrast Assignment (100 points)

Focus / Content / Organization / Style
4 / The paper is clear, focused on the topic, and purposeful. The author has the audience in mind when writing.
·  I know a lot about this topic and when someone else reads it, he’ll find out some new or little-known information.
·  I made sure my topic was small enough to handle.
·  I can easily answer the question, “What is the point of this paper/story?”
20 points / Substantial, specific, and/or illustrative content demonstrating strong development and sophisticated ideas with supportive details.
·  My writing is full of the kinds of details that keep the reader’s attention and show what is really important about my topic.
·  I know a lot about this topic, and when others read it, they’ll find out some new or little-known information.
·  I filled my paper with interesting tidbits that make reading it fun and memorable.
20 points / The paper has a strong internal structure, which highlights the main idea, leads the reader to the key points, and comes to important conclusions.
·  My beginning gets the reader’s attention and gives clues about what is coming.
·  Every detail adds more to the main idea or story.
·  All my details are in the right place. The piece fits together like a puzzle.
·  I end at a good spot and didn’t drag on too long. I left my reader with something to think about.
20 points / Well-chosen words make the message precise and expand the reader’s understanding of the topic. Sentences are thoughtfully structured to make reading easy and enjoyable. Voice and tone are appropriate for topic, purpose, and audience.
·  My words are colorful, snappy, vital, and fresh. You won’t find overdone, vague, or flowery language. Some of the words and phrases are so vivid that the reader won’t be able to forget them.
·  Readers can tell that I’m talking right to them. I’m not afraid to say what I really think.
·  You can tell that I have good “sentence sense” because my paper just flows.
20 points
3 / Topic is noticeable, but writer strays somewhat from the point. There seem to be varied reasons for the writing. Audience might also vary.
·  I start with a strong, focused topic but then I lose my way and the reader may have difficulty following my train of thought.
·  Sometimes I was very clear about what I meant, but at other times, it was still fuzzy.
15 points / Sufficiently developed content with adequate elaboration or explanation. Readers will see a mix of new information and common, basic knowledge.
·  Some of the things I said are new, but other points everyone knows already.
·  Some details I have used are pretty general like, “She was always there for me,” or “He was so nice.”
15 points / The structure is present but not always logical. The introduction could get the reader’s attention more quickly and effectively. The ending wraps up the discussion but could be extended to form valuable conclusions.
·  I have a beginning, but it really doesn’t grab you or give you details about what is coming.
·  I’ve lingered too long in some places and sped through others.
·  I have a conclusion, but it just isn’t the way I want it yet.
15 points / The words are reasonably accurate with a clear message. Sentences are relatively clear and varied. More connecting phrases would help clarity. The voice and tone are appropriate but could demand more attention.
·  I use everyday words pretty well, but I don’t stretch for a new or better way to say things.
·  Although readers will understand what I mean, it won’t make them feel like crying, laughing, or pounding on the table.
·  Some sentences should merge. Others should be cut in two to make reading easier.
15 points
2 / The topic is very hard to pinpoint. The information is not anchored with a clear purpose for writing. Identification of a specific audience is a guess.
·  I haven’t shared much information. I may not know enough yet about this topic to write about it.
·  Maybe I’ll write about this, but then maybe I’ll write about that.
10 points / More knowledge, stronger support, and greater attention to detail are needed for the reader to gain new information and sustain interest.
·  My topic is too big and I got bogged down trying to tell a little about a lot instead of a lot about a little.
10 points / Lack of organizational structure causes confusion. Introduction is very stale, “I will tell you.” Ending comes "all of a sudden" and leaves the reader hanging. Reader can’t keep interest to the end.
·  Sometimes it’s not clear how the details I have used connect to the main idea or story.
·  Some of the details may be in the right spot, but others should come earlier or later.
·  I may have forgotten to write a lead or conclusion.
10 points / Sometimes the language confuses the reader. Sentence structure is redundant in places and sometimes too long and wordy. Sentences need to be more fluid. The writer is too distant from the audience.
·  My words aren’t specific. Better, juicier details are needed.
·  My personality pokes through now and then, but there is no clear voice to my writing.
·  As I read my paper, I have to go back, stop, and read over just to figure out the sentences.
10 points
1 / The writer has not really identified a topic. It is just many ideas strung together. What's the purpose? Who is the intended audience?
·  I’m still thinking aloud on paper. I’m still looking for a good idea.
·  It would be quite difficult to answer the question, “What is the point of this paper?”
5 points / Superficial and/or minimal content. The writing just wanders and doesn't highlight anything important or of interest to the reader. The reader is left asking, "What is this paper supposed to be about?"
·  I haven’t shared much information. I guess I don’t know enough yet about the topic to write about it.
·  My details are so vague that it would be hard to picture anything.
5 points / Organizational structure leaves the reader confused. No lead, the paper just starts in. Reader struggles to find patterns. There is no conclusion; the paper just stops.
·  There is no beginning or end to my paper. It just kind of “takes off.”
·  My ideas seem scrambled, jumbled, or disconnected. It’s confusing.
5 points / The language is inappropriate for the topic. Sentences are hard to follow making the reader pause to figure out the message. The tone and flavor of the writing are inappropriate for topic, audience, and purpose. No personal enthusiasm is showing.
·  My words and phrases are vague. My words don’t make pictures yet.
·  I held myself back by using only the most general statements. You can’t hear my true voice at all.
·  I’m having a hard time telling where one sentence stops and another begins. 5 points

Proper MLA Format (20 points)

Proper Heading 5 Points
Upper left-hand corner of first page. Double spaced, like the rest of your paper. / Running Headers 5 points
Upper right-hand corner of every page. Place in Header. / Correct Use of In-Paragraph Citations 5 points
MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. / Correct Works Cited Entry 5 points
Basic Format.
Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Place of
Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.
Medium of Publication.
Your Name
Mr. Antonioli
Honors English 10
Day Month Year / Your Last Name Page Number
Shmoe 1 / Caesar shows us his amazement at Brutus’ unexpected betrayal in his legendary final words, “Et tu, Brute! Then fall, Caesar” (Shakespeare 85).
NOTE: The period that usually goes inside the quote comes after the citation instead. / Shmoe, Joe. Super-Cool Book of Awesome
Fun. New York: Penguin, 2009. Print.
From our textbook:
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar.
Prentice Hall Literature: Grade 10.
Boston: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.