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Lesson Plan Template WCSD Writing Program Teacher’s name: Wesley Reid Teacher’s school: Wooster High School

Writing Type/Genre: Non-fiction Prose: Argument, Informative/Explanatory, Narrative Lesson Title: College Placement Portfolio Semester Plan

Standards-based Outcomes: Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing: Text Types and Purposes: 1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. 2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. 3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

Student Outcomes: Over the course of a semester (in my mind the final semester of their senior year), students will develop, select and reflect on three pieces of nonfiction prose (essays) that demonstrate their ability to write for informative purpose, to write for persuasive purpose, and to use narrative effectively on its own or in support of an informative or persuasive purpose. Students will compose a professional cover letter designed to introduce and reflect upon the writing that the reader will encounter in the three-essay collection. As a result of preparing this comprehensive portfolio, students will be better able to develop nonfiction prose that effectively reaches a specific audience and articulates an identifiable purpose. Audience and Purpose for Lesson: 1. One potential audience is the members of the Core Writing Program Placement Committee at the University of Nevada, Reno (or other institution of higher learning such as TMCC if the opportunity is available). The purpose is to challenge and improve upon initial placement, based on ACT or SAT (or Accuplacer) scores, in a college freshman composition course. 2. Another potential audience is the other members of the high school senior English class. The purpose is to inform, to convince, to make aware, to entertain, to shock, to astound, to inspire.

3. Within the broad framework of the portfolio, there may exist any number of distinct audiences and purposes, as many as there are pieces of writing produced.

Pre-requisite Skills/Background Knowledge: This semester-long assignment is designed to be both a culminating experience, allowing the students to demonstrate the sum of their writing skills and abilities at the end of their high school career, and an anticipatory experience, providing the students a concrete glimpse into what will be expected of them at the community college, college and university levels. These students should obviously have significant experience writing non-fiction prose coming into the final semester of their senior year. While students will be developing new pieces of writing throughout the semester, they should have a number of essays written in the previous semester or two that they might consider for possible revision and inclusion in the portfolio. At Wooster, for example, in recent years almost all second semester seniors will have just completed a semester-long Senior Project, including a comprehensive researched essay. Several of my students included a further revised version of their Senior Project paper in their final portfolio in the Spring of 2011. Resources/Supplies Needed: Copies of or access to University of Nevada, Reno Core Writing Program Course Placement information ( This web page and its links contain a wealth of information, samples, and other resources that teachers might use to support instruction or that students can access directly. Mentor Text(s): Although the Common Core College and Career Readiness Standards listed above treat argument, informative/explanatory text, and narrative in separate statements, I believe it is crucial that we not automatically teach them as separate genres or modes. It is difficult to find real writing, especially effective real writing, that is entirely informative or entirely argumentative. How does one put forth an argument without providing information, for example? I see presenting an argument and providing information as two of the three to five most common and universal general purposes for publishing a piece of writing, and I see them as existing on a spectrum, always intertwining to some degree. If newspapers were still alive, we would say that news articles are primarily informative and that columns and editorials are primarily persuasive, but those lines of demarcation are unclear, and they grow murkier in the digital age. Narrative writing certainly can stand on its own. Narrative can entertain. It can help the writer, and the reader, explore and reflect. Narrative can also inform or present an argument in its arrangement. It can be the entire piece, or it can play a role in a synthesis and be employed in support of a piece that ultimately seeks to inform or persuade or both. From this philosophical foundation, I tend to search for and use mentor texts that effectively make argumentative, informative and narrative moves in combination and as appropriate to serve the rhetorical ambitions of the piece. Annie Dillard’s “Living Like Weasels” is a strong example, as is “Black Men and Public Spaces” by Brent Staples, two much-anthologized essays.

Last semester I used Mary Oliver’s “Owls,” which narrates, provides information, and employs a lyrical style, all in support of an argument about what the world is and what it is to be in the world. There are numerous other fine examples, from classic texts to the latest blog. Ultimately, however, the most effective mentor texts are those that the teacher writes and those that the students write. I find it has a powerful effect on a group of students if I join the fray, especially at the beginning, and write a draft of an assignment, give them a chance to provide response, and then show them a revision. Even more effective is to put a spotlight on those early student drafts that exemplify the approaches to writing that you are trying to promote. Such examples give the other students both a roadmap and courage. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a bank of student samples from previous classes. Finally, besides sample high school student essays, you’ll find included here actual sample portfolios submitted to the University of Nevada, Reno, Core Writing Program by incoming freshman seeking to improve freshman composition course placement. These portfolio samples had a profound effect on my students. (Kim: I have not yet sought nor gained permission to use these samples from Maureen.)

Brief Overview of Lesson: This is not a lesson or a unit but a semester plan, a framework describing a writing process and workshop approach to the final semester of senior English. As you will have gathered, the inspiration comes from the University of Nevada, Reno. Incoming students there are initially placed in a freshman composition course based on ACT or SAT scores. The portfolio placement option allows students to challenge that initial placement by submitting their actual writing for review. The idea of this semester plan is that students will develop such a portfolio and will have the opportunity to submit it to the university as appropriate to their situation. At the same time, the framework emphasizes the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchors Standards for Writing.

Steps in Implementation: I can imagine a number of ways to implement this framework. Before we get to the week-by-week synopsis you’ll find below, allow me to offer some context and philosophy and example and so on. The success of this semester plan depends in large part on a workshop model of writing instruction. A writing mentor of mine once said, “Writers need information about what they have written.” A writing workshop culture can provide such information directly and indirectly to students. It can also inspire and encourage and challenge and cajole and create possibilities and become a breeding ground for ideas. I expect my students to become active participants in a community of writers, and I continually instruct them as to what that means. When the first draft of their first essay is due, I expect the students to have the manuscript of that draft in hand. In class, they will seek feedback from their peers regarding what their draft does well and what work they still need to do to make the piece increasingly effective. At the same time,

the students are responsible for providing meaningful feedback to their peers, so the process is recursive, and each student is both giver and receiver. Developing an effective writer’s workshop is not a simple thing, and it does not happen overnight. Over the course of the semester, I give my students a number of opportunities to interact in this way, and I use a number of structures, from pairs to small groups to fish bowls to MFA-style sessions to whole group modeling to speed dating and so on. My goal is that as the semester proceeds I won’t need to provide as much structure but can simply turn them loose and watch them seek out the voices they’ve found to be valuable in the past. One thing that I continue to emphasize is that their focus as readers and responders should not be on the minutiae of comma placement and other sentence-level issues but on reporting their experience as readers: What do they like? What do they find effective? What is the writer doing well? Where are they confused? Where would they like to know more? What questions do they have? Do they have organizational suggestions? Does the writer have a clear sense of purpose? And so on. I try to impart the idea that providing effective feedback is very similar to writing effectively. The feedback should be honest, clear, detailed, informative and ultimately encouraging. I also do my best to let the writers know that they are the drivers of their essays and that their job is to sift through all the information they’ve received and to decide what to apply and ignore as they proceed. I can’t draw it here, but I see the writing process as a kind of multi-dimensional relationship among invention, drafting, feedback, revision, and publication. In my model, there are arrows going to and fro between each of the points in this process as dictated by the needs of a particular piece. Say a piece starts with invention, whether in response to an assignment or prompt or as a result of an idea the student comes up with independently. The invention stage is informal, and can include listing, brainstorming, reading, listening, journal writing, free writing, thinking and various other strategies. The idea is to generate some material, to see what the writer thinks or knows or wonders or has experienced about some topic. Many ideas may never advance beyond the invention stage. If one does, the next step would be to generate a first draft, to attempt to take the material from informal to formal. Drafting can be broken down into components (introductions, conclusions, etc.) or generated as a whole. Either way, a shape to the piece should start to emerge as well as a sense of purpose. I tell my students that the first draft should be the best, most complete work they can do on their own. At this point, many writers are ready to seek feedback, which can come in many forms, as indicated throughout this discussion. Sometimes, the feedback writers receive will send them back to the invention stage as they realize the piece is going nowhere or they’re no longer interested in it. Feedback might send the piece back to the drafting stage as well, when a writer wants to take an entirely new approach to the same idea. Most often, feedback leads to revision, where writers seek to develop and organize and fine tune the material that they’ve already generated. The number of stops between feedback and revision may be many before a piece reaches the publication stage, which can range from turning the assignment into the teacher to reading the piece at an open mike to including the piece in a portfolio designed to improve one’s freshman composition course placement and so on.

What follows is a description of how I have implemented this semester framework sprinkled with a dash of what I intend to do next time around, including a rough week-by-week schedule of activities and a closer description of some of those activities and sequences. Week 1: Two Starters The idea here is to get the ball rolling, to get students writing in an informal, open-ended, brainstormy, journalizing kind of way. I use a number of methods. Sometimes I tell a story from my own experience or observation. I use poems, songs, news articles, online audio, and other texts. Occasionally, I might go so minimalist as to simply throw out a topic, but usually I provide a significant level of information and invite discussion prior to asking the students to write. When they do write, it is rarely in simple and direct response to whatever text I’ve presented. I am hoping to create an intellectual and connective space in which they can find their own way. More on prompts as we go along. Week 2: Two Starters Starter prompts that I’ve used most recently include: Short Version --education --love

--The Rant --wind

Longer Version --the culture of education in a student’s family, parents’ levels of education and expectation --the idea of falling in love but as applied not just to people but also to poems, places, skills, ideas, activities, and so on; as much about passion and epiphany as love --used to evoke strong feeling; baby steps toward building an argument --describing experiences that somehow feature wind; can be extended to all sorts of weather phenomena

Week 3: First Essay First Draft Once students have completed several starters, I ask them to select the one they find most interesting or promising to develop into the a first draft of an essay. This can be a challenging moment because, depending on their experience, many students feel as though the starter they’ve written is already an essay. Here’s where it’s important to look to the master texts not only as idea prompts but also as examples of what an essay looks and smells like, what its scope and structure are. I don’t necessarily read these drafts, or all of them, though I do make myself available to students who would like me to respond to their work at this point in the process. I do make sure that the students have written and gotten feedback on their drafts – I listen in, lean over shoulders, get a sense of where they are – and I talk about next steps leading into the upcoming second draft.

Week 4: Two Starters More starters that I’ve used recently: Short Version --The Interview




Longer Version --requiring students to arrange, plan for, conduct and write up an interview with a person of their choosing; the idea might be to develop of profile of that person, or that person might have information or expertise regarding a particular topic of interest --describing experiences and encounters while traveling on foot (might be paired interestingly with driving, public transportation, flying, or other forms of travel) --this one can seem to overlap with the walking prompt, but here I mean for students to record the heroic or horrible or humorous events that they have witnessed --asking students to identify and carefully describe something at which they are skilled (can be paired with The Interview if some other person is the expert)

Week 5: First Essay Second Draft You will notice that these essay assignments don’t say “Argument Essay” or “Narrative Essay.” The word “essay” as a verb means “to try” or “to attempt,” which for me captures the sense of exploration that is important in any successful essay. The writer should have the opportunity to explore the material, to discover the subject and the sense of purpose. Rather than having my students write essays that will fit into labeled categories, I encourage them to discover what they have to say and to employ those techniques, often including narrative, that will best serve their rhetorical ambitions. I do collect and respond to the second drafts while continuing to give students opportunities to get feedback from their peers. Week 6: Two Starters Most of these starters can be completed in class, but some might require outside effort. Besides the official starters, I also keep for my students a running list of writing topics, including but not limited to: -the body -sports -food -injury -illness

-the seasons -work -play -friendship -love

-weather -art -music -animals -survival

-nature -urban issues -rural issues -water -literature


Week 7: Catch Your Breath So now your students should have a bank of starters or journal entries to choose from. Use this week to get them started on drafting the first draft of their second essay. Now is a good time to remind them about the overall requirements of the portfolio, that they need to make sure that information and persuasion and narration are all represented effectively in their writing. For example, if their first essay was primarily informative, perhaps they should seek a more persuasive opportunity with this second essay. Week 8: Second Essay First Draft As with the first draft of the first essay, I will create some sort of writer’s workshop opportunity at this point, perhaps introducing the students to some format that we haven’t used previously. As always, the idea will be to provide the students with information about what they’ve written. Week 9: Cover Letter Instruction The cover letter is the overtly meta-cognitive portion of the portfolio. It is the fourth formal piece of writing that will ultimately be included. I want my students to be professional in their approach to this letter as they address the various requirements, so we talk about format and organization and credibility and so on. Week 10: Second Essay Second Draft Another set of essay drafts to read, respond to, conference over. Week 11: Looking at Sample Portfolios Over time, I will gather sample portfolios from previous students. I currently have a selection of actual portfolios submitted to the University of Nevada by actual students seeking to appeal their freshman composition course placement. We will look at these on both macro- and micro-levels. Week 12: Third Essay First Draft Going in to the third essay, the students should have a sense of what shape their portfolio is starting take and where it is stronger and weaker in terms of argument, informative text, and narrative. They should also have a sense of what they still want to write that they haven’t had a chance to get into yet. They will have plenty of starters to choose from, as well as, potentially, essays or papers that they would like to revisit from previous classes or other subject areas.

Week 13: Cover Letter Draft Week 14: Third Essay Second Draft Week 15: Portfolio Compilation If they’ve been following the schedule, students will have at least two drafts of three essays at this point and one draft of the cover letter. They should take advantage of this week to do additional, final drafts of each, making sure that their portfolio represents the range of their writing skills at the highest possible level. Week 16: Portfolio Due; Presentations Once the students have presented, I read and score their portfolio. I believe it is vital to include the presentation aspect of the process; it is one version of publication, of students completing the cycle for the piece. Often these sessions are powerful as students celebrate what they and their peers have accomplished. Week 17: Presentations Week 18: Presentations

Revision Strategy: While many revision strategies are embedded or implied in the Steps in Implementation above, let me add some thoughts here. I think it is difficult and less productive to talk about revision in isolation from the other way stations on the writing process journey, so by way of example, let’s begin with one of my starters or prompts (the invention stage) and take it through to publication. A discussion or topic that I like to start with is the idea of education as it applies to each student’s circumstances, what I call the culture of education in the family. Before I ever ask the students to write even a journal entry about this topic, I will provide them with quite a bit of fodder for discussion and consideration. I might start with an investigation into the word culture, which I mean it not in the scientific sense (although there are connections) but as a set of customs and expectations and beliefs held by a certain group. At that point, I might describe the culture of education in my family: how my father finished his master’s degree not long after I was born; how although my mother only lasted two quarters at college the first time around, she pursued a nursing degree, while raising four boys, that she completed by the time I was twelve; how my maternal grandparents met at college and told us stories about fraternities and sororities and athletics and what things were like at the University of Nevada in the early 1940s; how two of my great-grandmothers went to college when very few women did and one finished her degree, in nutrition; how my father would preside over report card celebration

dinners at least twice a year; how my father was a teacher and my mother a school nurse; how although no one ever said I had to there was never any question in my mind that I would go to college after high school; how three of my parents’ four sons have master’s degrees and that the one who doesn’t is the most financially successful of all; how although my wife graduated from high school as a National Merit Scholar, she saw no path to college until nine years later, when coming off a divorce and wanting to be able to provide for her five and two year old daughters, she enrolled as a twenty-seven year old freshman; how those two girls, my stepdaughters, watched their mother complete her degree and graduate with honors even as I was completing my master’s degree; how those two girls have said they never thought of anything but college and have both completed bachelor’s degrees and have completed or are pursuing post-graduate degrees and are leading productive, so-far-successful lives. At that point, I might invite my students to write for the first time on this subject, to complete a journal entry in which they describe the levels of education completed by their parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and so on; in which they describe the attitudes and beliefs toward education that have been communicated to them by their parents or by the other significant adults in their lives (I try to be aware of not making assumptions about my students’ family situations); in which they discuss whether they are or will be educational pioneers in their families, being the first to accomplish this or complete that, or if, like I did, they have luxury of following in someone’s footsteps. I may ask to read the journal entries at this point, as much to get information about their ability to develop information and articulate it clearly as to get a sense of where each student has started. Within a day or two, I will return to the subject by providing a relevant text for us to examine and discuss. This year it’s going to be a piece from Sports Illustrated called “Straight Outta Compton” that describes one family’s attempt change their own culture of education and create one that will allow their son to literally survive high school and go on to college to pursue his athletic and academic goals. My students will add to their original journal in response to this article. For the next step, I will have my students interview someone in their circle of acquaintances, preferably a parent or someone from the previous generation, about that individual’s educational narrative and philosophies. Here again I will probably share with my students some of the fruits of such interviews that I’ve conducted with my own parents, so as to give them a way into the activity. The students will be responsible for generating questions beforehand, for making an appointment with the interview subject, for recording the interview in some fashion (at least notes, preferably notes plus audio recording), and for writing a summary of the interview as a segment of the starter or journal. At this point, we will have spent several days and quite a bit of energy on this one topic, all still in the invention stage, and the students will now have a choice regarding whether or not it’s a topic they want to pursue. I assume that some students will elect to write the first draft of their first essay on the topic of education and the culture of education in their family. Those that do

will have to find a way to continue exploring the topic while trying to make sense of and organize the material we’ve already generated. They will bring that first draft to the first writer’s workshop and receive feedback from their classmates. They will also have the option of asking me to read the draft as well as others outside the class. Then they’ll have a bit of time to consider the information they’ve gotten about their draft before the second draft is due in a couple of weeks. That draft I will read and comment on more closely. Ideally we will have a conference about the draft somewhere in this time frame as well. One exercise I love to ask students to try, after they’ve written a draft or two, is to outline, paragraph by paragraph, what they’ve written, and then to outline what they’d like or need to write to make the piece more effective. In my experience, outlines prior to drafting often have the effect of predetermining a piece of writing and forestalling any sense of discovery or inquiry, but these mid-stream outlines can be revelatory. With two drafts under their belts, I might ask the students to put the piece away for the moment, to work on other tasks and gain a little distance before giving it a third draft treatment prior to compiling the portfolio. That isn’t always the prescription, but regardless, by the time a piece makes it into the portfolio it ideally will have been through at least three drafts and will have been looked at by multiple readers. In that way, the work will be published after having had a great deal of attention devoted to it and a great deal of energy spent on it. Publication will occur, at least, in written form in the final portfolio, and in verbal form for one of the pieces in the final presentation. Some students may publish the portfolio by submitting it for college placement purposes. Some may pursue additional outlets for publication. So revision is an ongoing and dynamic element of my approach to this assignment framework.

Rubric: The rubric is attached (sent as a separate file.) Student Samples: (Kim: I have obtained files of a number of essays from last spring. I was unable, in the rush at the end of last year, to gain the permissions you asked us to seek, so I would still need to work on that if necessary. And I didn’t make any copies of annotated, rubric-scored essays.)

Universal Access: It has been my experience the pace of this sequence of assignments allows the instructor to work with individual students at their current level and that students see growth commensurate with their effort and engagement. It has also been my experience that the range of prompts and the range of options students have regarding what they ultimately write about tend to increase engagement and effort

Connections/Extensions: So many my brain might explode.

Additional Resources: Copies of (attached) or access to University of Nevada, Reno Core Writing Program Course Placement information. (


The University of Nevada, Reno Core Writing Program Dr. Maureen McBride Lori Farias Sue Vaughn and Maggie Folkers for the Rant idea Dr. Susan Tchudi

College Placement Portfolio Assignment Sheet


You. That is, the students in my English 8 classes.


A collection of your best academic writing – three essays and a cover letter.


Now into June.

Where: Wooster. C-2. Computer labs. Your house. Your computer. Your brain.


To improve your writing and thinking skills. To hold your skills up against the Common Core Standards, especially the writing standards that have to do with argument, informative text and narrative. To prepare you for college, career, community, citizenship.


Writing process. Writing workshop. Audience and purpose. Instruction. Effort.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a portfolio? Generally speaking, a portfolio is a collection of work. If you’re a visual artist, yours will contain paintings or drawings. If you’re a supermodel, yours will include photographs of you in dramatic poses. In this case, your portfolio will contain your writing.

What exactly do we need to put in this portfolio? In short, essays. At least three essays, plus a cover letter.

What’s an essay? Seriously? Okay, here goes. Let’s start with what an essay is not. An essay is not a piece of writing with five paragraphs, including an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. It doesn’t always have to have a thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph or at the beginning of the first paragraph or even in the introduction. It doesn’t always have to have a thesis statement at all, in which the case the thesis will be implied. If these distinctions are confusing, don’t worry; we’ll clear everything up as we go along this semester. The point is that not every essay has to fit the same rigid formula. Imagine if every song was organized the exact same way, or every class, or every car.

In reality, the term essay indicates a large category of writing. Many different types of writing fit into the essay genre. We use the term essay a lot in school, but you’ll find versions of it out in the world as well. Letters to the editor and editorials and columns and even many blogs are types of essays. The printed versions of many sermons and speeches are essays. Essays get published in newspapers and magazines, posted on web sites, collected in books.

There are a few features that all essays have in common. Essays are, by definition, non-fiction. They are written about the people and events and circumstances of this world, not an imagined one. Essays are written in prose – that is, they are made of sentences and organized into paragraphs, not written in script form or in lines like a poem. They are one to many pages long. Essays are designed for a certain audience and are trying to achieve a specific purpose. Essays address a particular subject; sometimes that subject is simple and sometimes it’s complex, but the writer finds a way to stay focused on that subject. And the essay is a way to develop, and present to a reader, the writer’s ideas and point of view on that subject – that is, his or her stance or claim or thesis. All essays are personal in the sense that they express what the writer knows and thinks about a subject, even if the subject is provided in an essay question on a final exam.

Some essays are intended to be sharply persuasive and clearly put forth an argument. Others can seem to be quite a bit more informative than persuasive, although if the piece seems to be primarily informative then it is probably more of an article than an essay. Many essays tell stories. These are called narrative essays, logically enough, because, as you know, narrative simply means story. But narrative essays always include these stories to help achieve a broader informative/persuasive purpose, not simply for the sake of story telling.

Separately or in combination, the essays in your portfolio must demonstrate your ability to use narrative effectively and purposefully, your ability to provide information effectively and purposefully, and your ability to be persuasive, to construct an effective written argument.

Where will the essays we include come from? Your essays will come from the work we do this semester. You may also want to include, with additional revision, your Senior Project research paper or maybe even your Senior Project reflective essay. Perhaps you wrote a paper in junior English or Government or U. S. History or science or photography that you would like to take another look at and continue to work with. Your essays should come from the writing you’ve done in the last year or so.

What’s a cover letter? Well, you know what a letter is, right? And you remember the proposal letter from Senior Project, right? A cover letter is kind of a mixture of a proposal letter and the reflective essay you wrote at the end of Senior Project. In the letter, you will be introducing and discussing the essays you’ve chosen to include in your portfolio – the strengths and weaknesses you see in your writing, the growth your work demonstrates. Your purpose is to try to convince a committee of college professors and graduate students that you belong in a regular freshman composition course like English 101 – that’s the placement part of the placement portfolio. You won’t write your cover letter until toward the end, once you’ve made and selected your essays.

When is it due? Your portfolios are due on …. They are due on that date for two reasons: One, so I will have time to read and evaluate them; and, two, so we will have time for all of you to present the essay of your choice to the class.

We have to present? Of course you have to present.

How many points is it worth? I’m not sure exactly how many points yet, but I do know that the portfolio itself is worth 50% of your semester grade, the presentation of your portfolio is worth 10%, and the process work (prompts, pre-drafting, workshops, writing folders, and so on) you do during the course of the semester to make your portfolio is worth 15%. That adds up to 75%, which is a lot. The other 25% will come from reading journals, homework and in-class activities unrelated to the placement portfolio.

English 8 Reid Spring Semester

UNR Placement Portfolio Scoring Guidelines and Essay Rubric Portfolio Points Breakdown The entire portfolio is worth 1200 points, distributed as follows: Essay 1*

300 points

Essay 2*

300 points

Essay 3*

300 points

Reflective Cover Letter**

200 points

General Requirements***

100 points


1200 points

*Points earned on each essay will be determined with the use of the 9 Point Scoring Guide or the Essay Rubric, which you’ll find on the following pages. **Points earned on the reflective cover letter will be determined with attention to the following elements: format, quality of your introduction of your work, quality of your reflection on your work, and copy editing. ***Points in the General Requirements category will come down to this: Does your portfolio, as a whole, represent your ability to write effectively for argumentative (persuasive) purpose, to write effectively for informative/explanatory purpose, and to use narrative effectively in support of these purposes? A B C D F

= = = = =

1080 to 1200 960 to 1079 840 to 959 720 to 839 719 or below

9 Point Scoring Guide^ 9 Essays earning a score of 9 meet the criteria for a score of 8 and, in addition, are especially sophisticated in their argument, thorough in their development or particularly impressive in their control of language. 8 Effective Essays earning a score of 8 effectively argue, inform, and/or narrate. The evidence and explanations used are appropriate and convincing, and the purpose is especially coherent and well developed. The prose demonstrates a consistent ability to control a wide range of the elements of effective writing. 7 Essays earning a score of 7 meet the criteria for a score of 6 but provide a more complete explanation, more thorough development or a more mature prose style. 6 Adequate Essays earning a score of 6 adequately argue, inform and/or narrate. The evidence and explanations used are appropriate and sufficient, and the purpose is adequately developed and coherent. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but generally the prose is clear. 5 Essays earning a score of 5 argue, inform and/or narrate. The evidence or explanations used may be uneven, inconsistent or limited. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but it usually conveys the student’s ideas. 4 Inadequate Essays earning a score of 4 inadequately argue, inform and/or narrate. The evidence or explanations used may be inappropriate, insufficient or less convincing. The purpose may be inadequately developed or have lapses in coherence. The prose generally conveys the student’s ideas but may be less consistent in controlling the elements of effective writing. 3 Essays earning a score of 3 meet the criteria for a score of 4 but demonstrate less success in purposefully arguing, informing and/or narrating. The essays may show less maturity in control of writing. 2 Little Success Essays earning a score of 2 demonstrate little success in purposefully arguing, informing and/or narrating. The prose often demonstrates consistent weaknesses in writing, such as grammatical problems, a lack of development or organization, or a lack of coherence and control. 1 Essays earning a score of 1 meet the criteria for a score of 2 but are undeveloped, especially simplistic in their explanation and argument, weak in their control of language or especially lacking in coherence and development.

In order to determine a final score for each essay using this method, I will give the essay a holistic score from the 9 Point scale then multiply that number by 35. Therefore, 9 = 315, 8 =280, 7 = 245, 6 = 210, 5 = 175, 4 =140, 3 = 105, 2 = 70, 1 = 35 out of 300. (Yes, a 9 would earn a little extra credit using this scale.) ^Adapted from the College Board’s AP English Language and Composition Scoring Guidelines.

Essay Rubric Purpose


Title and Introduction


Organization/Paragraph Making


Idea Development


Level of Detail




Coherence/Clarity/Control/Sentence Making




Copy Editing/Conventions/Mechanics



315 possible points (Yes, there is a bit of extra credit available.)

College Placement Portfolio Semester Plan  
College Placement Portfolio Semester Plan  

This is not a lesson or a unit but a semester plan, a framework describing a writing process and workshop approach to the final semester of...