Core Content for Writing Assesment
Kentucky's writing tests are designed to evaluate student products to determine if students can apply specific writing criteria in the context of both the daily classroom and an on-demand situation. Students are expected to produce writing for various audiences (readers) and for various purposes across a range of forms. In Kentucky's state assessment students at various grades take two kinds of writing tests: These two kinds of tests are designed to provide information for schools about their writing programs. Writing Criteria Kentucky teachers use established qualities of good writing to teach and evaluate student writing. Altogether, these qualities, which are the scoring criteria, make up a set of high standards for Kentucky students. Purpose/Audience, Idea Development/Support, Organization, Sentences, Language, and Correctness make up the scoring criteria for Kentucky's writing assessment. The Writing Portfolio Students choose from their best writings produced in all of their classes over several months, or even previous school years, pieces for the writing portfolio part of the assessment. Kentucky educators established the writing portfolio content requirements to broaden the writing experiences of Kentucky's students. The portfolio requires three different kinds of writing: (1) writing in which the student focuses primarily on self and personal experiences; (2) writing in which the student creates fictional or poetic pieces; and (3) other types of writing which the student produces to accomplish specific purposes. The kinds of writing in the portfolio allow for and encourage a wide range of forms . On-Demand Writing The purpose of Kentucky's on-demand writing assessment is to determine if students can independently apply skills and knowledge of the writing criteria. Under supervision in a testing situation, students produce a single response to a prompt within a single, limited time frame. Prompts provide a context which includes an audience, purpose, and form for the piece of writing. The prompts are structured to elicit student writing which narrates an event, persuades, or responds to text, graphic, or chart.


Academic Expectation 1.11: Students write using appropriate forms,conventions, and styles to communicate ideas and information to different audiences for different purposes.

Elementary (Assessment at Grade 4)

Writing Criteria


Purpose/Audience--Students demonstrate a clear sense of the reason(s) for producing a piece of writing. They meet the needs of the reader, or audience, by focusing on the reason for the piece. Purpose and audience provide the foundation for the piece of writing as it progresses. (As demonstrated in benchmarks and exemplar portfolio samples, elementary students may demonstrate a beginning sense of audience and purpose and may demonstrate a less controlled focus than expected from middle and high school students.)

Idea Development/Support--Students decide which idea(s) to develop and make the idea(s) clear to the reader. Students support the idea(s) by elaborating on them with details chosen because they are relevant. (As demonstrated in benchmarks and exemplar portfolio samples, elementary writings may include topics and ideas that are less sophisticated and employ less in -depth elaboration than that expected at the middle and high school levels.)

Organization--Students arrange ideas in a clear and logical manner. They join ideas in a smooth way that guides the reader through the piece of writing. (As demonstrated in benchmarks and exemplar portfolio samples, elementary students may employ basically sequential organizational strategies. )

Sentences--Students compose sentences that are correct, as well as varied in length and structure. (As demonstrated in benchmarks and exemplar portfolio samples, elementary students may employ fewer complex sentence structures than those found in middle and high school writing but still demonstrate correct and effective sentences.)

Language--Students use wording and language that demonstrate standard usage. They choose correct and effective words. (As demonstrated in benchmarks and exemplar portfolio samples, elementary students may employ less sophisticated language than that seen at other levels but still demonstrate correct use of language.)

Correctness--Students spell correctly, use correct punctuation, and capitalize letters according to standard rules.
Portfolio Content Requirements

Student includes a total of 6 pieces.
(At least 1 piece must come from a study area other than English/language arts)
  • Letter to the Reviewer (Student must include one)
  • Personal Expressive Writing(s) in the form of - Personal Narrative - focuses on one event in the life of the writer - Memoir - focuses on a person and the student's relationship with the person (Student may choose to include 1 or 2 )
  • Imaginative Writing(s) in the form of
- Short story
- Poem
- Script
(Student may choose to include 1 or 2 )
  • A piece which presents/supports a position, tells about a problem, or informs. (These selections may include forms such as letters, brochures, and articles, among other appropriate forms for these purposes.)*
(Student may choose to include 1 or 2 ) Students and teachers refer to the 4th grade Proficient Benchmark, "Turkey's Disguise,"and Proficient Exemplar Portfolio, "Storm Damage," as examples which achieve the criteria for writing at the 4th grade level.
On-Demand Requirements

Student responds to prompt in specific form:
  • Letter
  • Article
Students and teachers refer to 4th grade Benchmark, "Turkey's Disguise,"as an example which achieves the criteria for writing at the 4th grade level.
*See "1996-97 Update Pages for Kentucky Writing Portfolio Teacher's Handbook" to find information on additional forms a piece may take.


Academic Expectation 1.11: Students write using appropriate forms, conventions, and styles to communicate ideas and information to different audiences for different purposes.

Middle Level (Assessment at Grade 7)

Writing Criteria


Purpose/Audience--Students demonstrate a clear sense of the reason(s) for producing a piece of writing. They meet the needs of the reader, or audience, by focusing on the reason for the piece. Purpose and audience provide the foundation for the piece of writing as it progresses. (As demonstrated in benchmark portfolio samples, middle level students demonstrate a building sense of audience and purpose and a clear focus.)

Idea Development/Support--Students decide which idea(s) to develop and make the idea(s) clear to the reader. Students support the idea(s) by elaborating on them with details chosen because they are relevant. (As demonstrated in benchmark portfolio samples, middle level students demonstrate a more in-depth understanding of necessary and appropriate support for ideas.)

Organization--Students arrange ideas in a clear and logical manner. They join ideas in a smooth way that guides the reader through the piece of writing. (As demonstrated in benchmark portfolio samples, middle level pieces demonstrate a growing sophistication in organizational strategies which may include flashbacks and order of importance.)

Sentences--Students compose sentences that are correct, as well as varied in length and structure. (As demonstrated in benchmark portfolio samples, middle level students demonstrate increased variety and sophistication in sentence structure. In addition, students demonstrate the ability to construct complete and correct sentences.)

Language--Students use wording and language that demonstrate standard usage. They choose correct and effective words. (As demonstrated in benchmark portfolio samples, middle level students employ more precise and sophisticated language choices than expected of elementary students. Language choices are also effective and correct.)

Correctness--Students spell correctly, use correct punctuation, and capitalize letters according to standard rules.
Portfolio Content Requirements

Student includes a total of 6 pieces.
(At least 1 piece must come from a study area other than English/language arts)
  • Letter to the Reviewer (Student must include one)
  • Personal Expressive Writing(s) in the form of - Personal Narrative - focuses on one event in the life of the writer - Memoir - focuses on a person and the student's relationship with the person - Vignette - captures a moment in time in the life of the writer and focuses on painting a picture with words (Student may choose to include 1 or 2)
  • Imaginative Writing(s) in the form of
- Short story
- Poem
- Script
(Student may choose to include 1 or 2 )
  • Writing which achieves one or more of a variety of purposes (e.g., predict an outcome, defend a position, analyze a situation, draw a conclusion, create a model, or explain a process or concept) (These selections may include forms such as letters, brochures, feature articles, and editorials, among other appropriate forms for these purposes.)*
(Student may choose to include 2 or 3 ) Students and teachers refer to 7th grade Proficient Benchmark Portfolio as an example which illustrates the criteria for writing at the 7th grade level.
On-Demand Requirements
Student responds to prompt in specific form:
  • Letter
  • Article
  • Editorial
Students and teachers will refer to the appropriate benchmark which illustrates the criteria for writing at the 7th grade level.
*See "1996-97 Update Pages for Kentucky Writing Portfolio Teacher's Handbook" to find information on additional forms a piece may take.


Academic Expectation 1.11: Students write using appropriate forms, conventions, and styles to communicate ideas and information to different audiences for different purposes.

High School (Assessment Grade 11/12)

Writing Criteria


Purpose/Audience--Students demonstrate a clear sense of the reason(s) for producing a piece of writing. They meet the needs of the reader, or audience, by focusing on the reason for the piece. Purpose and audience provide the foundation for the piece of writing as it progresses. (As demonstrated in benchmarks and exemplar portfolio samples, high school students demonstrate a mature sense of audience in writings that are solidly focused on a purpose.)

Idea Development/Support--Students decide which idea(s) to develop and make the idea(s) clear to the reader. Students support the idea(s) by elaborating on them with details chosen because they are relevant. (As demonstrated in benchmarks and exemplar portfolio samples, high school students include solid and in-depth support for ideas.)

Organization--Students arrange ideas in a clear and logical manner. They join ideas in a smooth way that guides the reader through the piece of writing. (As demonstrated in benchmarks and exemplar portfolio samples, high school students demonstrate logical and increasingly sophisticated organizational strategies.)

Sentences--Students compose sentences that are correct, as well as varied in length and structure. (As demonstrated in benchmarks and exemplar portfolio samples, high school students compose a variety of complex sentence structures appropriate and effective for the particular form of writing.)

Language--Students use wording and language that demonstrate standard usage. They choose correct and effective words. (As demonstrated in benchmarks and exemplar portfolio samples, high school students employ effective and appropriately sophisticated language for the particular form of writing.)

Correctness--Students spell correctly, use correct punctuation, and capitalize letters according to standard rules.
Portfolio Content Requirements

Student includes a total of 6 pieces.
(At least 2 pieces must come from study areas other than English/language arts)
  • Letter to the Reviewer (Student must include one)
  • Personal Expressive Writing in the form of - Personal Narrative - focuses on one event in the life of the writer - Memoir - focuses on a person and the student's relationship with the person - Vignette - captures a moment in time in the life of the writer and focuses on painting a picture with words - Personal Essay - focuses on a central idea supported by a variety of incidents in the writer's life (Student must include one)
  • Imaginative Writing in the form of
- Short story
- Poem
- Script
- Play
(Student must include one)
  • Writing which achieves one or more of a variety of purposes (e.g., predict an outcome, defend a position, analyze a situation, draw a conclusion, create a model, or explain a process or concept)
(These selections may include forms such as letters, brochures, feature articles, editorials, proposals, and journal article, among other appropriate forms for these purposes.)* (Student must include three)

Students and teachers refer to the 12th grade Proficient Benchmark, "A Hero's Magic," and Proficient Exemplar Portfolio, "Questioning Santa," as examples which achieve the criteria for writing at the 12th grade level.
On-Demand Requirements
Student responds to prompt in specific form:
  • Letter
  • Article
  • Editorial
  • Speech
Students and teachers refer to 11/12th grade Benchmark, "A Hero's Magic" as an example which achieves the criteria for writing at the 11/12th grade level.
*See "1996-97 Update Pages for Kentucky Writing Portfolio Teacher's Handbook" to find information on additional forms a piece may take.