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Florida Writing Assessment Program (FLORIDA WRITES!)

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Types of Writing Prompts

The 1995 assessment tested student achievement in writing for two different purposes at each grade level: narrative and expository in grade 4 and persuasive and expository in grades 8 and 10. These are defined as follows: (1) expository is a type of writing that gives information, explain why or how, clarifies a process, or defines a concept; (2) narrative is a type of writing that recounts a personal or fictional experience or tells a story based on a real or imagined event; and (3) persuasive is a type of writing that convinces the reader that a point of view is valid or that the reader should take a specific action.

Prompts are written to elicit writing for specific purposes. For instance, expository prompts may ask students to explain why or how, narrative prompts may direct students to recount or tell, and persuasive prompts may require students to convince or persuade.

Prompts to Florida's writing assessment are carefully selected to ensure that the subject matter will be interesting and appropriate for the students. In addition, these prompts are reviewed for any bias relating to gender, religion, race, or ethnic background.

Prompts have two basic components: the writing situation and directions for writing. The writing situation orients students to the subject on which they are to write. The directions-for-writing component sets the parameter for writing and, in the case of persuasive prompts, identifies the audience to whom the writing is directed.

Example of an Expository Prompt:

Below is an example of an expository prompt. The first component orients the student to the topic: jobs or chores. The second component suggests that the student think about various jobs or chores and then explain why a particular job or chore is done.

    Writing Situation:
    Everyone has jobs or chores.
    Directions for Writing:
    Before you begin writing, think about why you do one of your jobs or chores.

    Now explain why you do one of your jobs or chores.

Example of a Persuasive Prompt:

In the prompt below, the topic is the effects of watching television. The second component suggests that the student think about how watching television affects grades and then write to convince the school principal to accept the student's point view.

    Writing Situation:
    The principal of your school has been asked to discuss with a parent group the effect watching TV has on students' grades.
    Directions for Writing:
    Think about the effect watching TV has on your grades and your friends' grades
    Now write to convince your principal to accept your point of view on the effect watching TV has on grades.

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