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Florida Writing Assessment Program (FLORIDA WRITES!)

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Description of FLORIDA WRITES!

The FLORIDA WRITES! requires students to produce a piece of writing within established guidelines and specific parameters.

Each student receives a writing folder containing one writing prompt (topic) with two lined pages for the written response. Students are given 45 minutes to read the prompts independently, plan their responses, and write their responses in the folders. A separate sheet is provided for planning or prewriting activities (e.g., outlining, clustering, mapping, and jotting down ideas).

The student responses are scored by trained readers using the holistic method to evaluate a piece of writing for its overall quality. The readers consider four elements: focus, organization, support, and conventions. In this type of scoring, readers make a judgment about the entire response and do not focus on any one aspect of writing.

Focus refers to how clearly the paper presents and maintains a main idea, theme, or unifying point. Papers representing the higher end of the point scale demonstrate a consistent awareness of the topic and do not contain extraneous information.

Organization refers to the structure or plan of development (beginning, middle, and end) and whether the points logically relate to one another. Organization also refers to (1) the use of transitional devices to relate the supporting ideas to the main idea, theme, or unifying point and (2) the evidence of a connection between sentences. Papers representing the higher end of the point scale use transitions to signal the plan of development or text structure and end with summary or concluding statements.

Support refers to the quality of details used to explain, clarify, or define. The quality of support depends on word choice, specificity, depth, and thoroughness. Papers representing the higher end of the point scale provide examples and illustrations in which the relationship between the supporting ideas and the topic is clear.

Conventions refers to punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and variation in sentence structure. The conventions are basic writing skills included in Florida's Minimum Student Performance Standards. Papers representing the higher end of the point scale follow, with few exceptions, the conventions of punctuation, capitalization, and spelling and use a variety of sentence structures to present ideas.

Next FLORIDA WRITES! Item: Types of Writing Prompts