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Writing Prompts in the Format of the Florida Writes Assessment

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The prompts used for the Florida Writing Assessment Program consist of a writing situation and directions for writing. The writing situation is a one to three sentence orientation to the topic. The directions for writing are usually shorter and composed of three elements:
  1. a suggestion about how a student might think about the topic to get started,
  2. a concise statement that names the audience and
  3. cue words (also called key words) indicating whether the writing should be expository or persuasive.
    • expository: tell, describe and explain.
    • persuasive: convince and persuade. Students are not given reminders about these cue words nor any other aspect of the prompt which is presented without headings, numbers or labels.

When Writing Your Own Prompts:

  1. Check for readability and conciseness.
  2. Avoid bias and any wording that suggests that the student should take a particular position.
  3. Try to keep the structure of your prompts consistent with the example below so students will be comfortable with this format at the time testing.
Example:

Writing Situation The principal at your school has been asked to discuss the effect of watching television on students' grades with a parent group.

Directions for Writing Before you begin writing, think about the effect that watching television has on your grades and on your friends' grades.

Now write to convince your principal to accept your point of view on the effect of watching television on grades.

Note: For the expository essay, writing topics that involve three parts such as three causes, three characteristics, three reasons, three factors, three ways, and three consequences are ideal for students practicing the five paragraph essay.

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