The Printable KISS Workbooks The KISS Grammar Home Page

Writing Samples from State Standards

     Many states are putting not only their writing standards but also examples of students' papers for these standards on the web. These documents should receive much more attention than they are getting for the simple reason that they enable the public not only to see the ratings, but also the wide range of students' writing at various grade levels. These samples are particularly important for the KISS Approach because they reflect the complexity of sentence structure of students at different grade levels. In addition, of course, they reflect the errors that the students make and the various types of sentence patterns that the students use.
     This is particularly important for questions of research. Much of the statistical research that was ultimately used to claim that teaching grammar is "harmful" was based on samples of students' writing, but that writing was edited in various ways (in some cases, before it was evaluated), and the original texts are simply not available for review. Thus the samples from these states' standards provide evaluated sets of original samples that were neither selected nor rated by me. In some cases I have included the original scan (provided by the state) of the samples. When I have not done so, I have the scans and can e-mail them or otherwise make them available to anyone who wishes to check my transcription of them.
     Although these documents are on the open web, and thus, for educational, non-profit purposes such as ours, probably in the public domain, I have decided to ask for permission to use them. As I write this, Arizona and Pennsylvania have granted permission. Thus their flags fly below. Please note that their permission is not a statement of their support/approval of the KISS Approach. (They haven't gotten that far yet.) They have simply given permission to use their samples, prompts, ratings, etc. for the purposes of this site. Once I receive permission, it takes dozens of hours to transcribe the samples, put them on the site, create analysis keys, etc. Thus I have not yet even asked most states for such permission.
     In order to start at the beginning (primary school), the main focus is currently grades three, four, five, and six. In searching for such samples, I have found them for various states, but have not had time to use them. Thus in the information below I have included links to those samples -- you may find them very interesting. 
     The primary work on the samples, once I have permission to use them, is done in the KISS Research Books. There they are transcribed, analyzed (with analysis keys), and, ideally, added the the KISS statistical studies. (That takes a fair amount of additional time.) Once that is done, some of the samples are used for exercises in the Work Books. [Note that you will find links from the Research Books to the Work Books and vice versa.]
     Since the main objective of KISS, however, is to enable students to analyze and discuss the structure of the sentences in their own writing, you may want to use the materials in the Resource Books as a primary instructional focus. Thus, for example, the typical fourth grader should be asked to analyze the sentences of fourth graders, but not the sentences of eighth graders. Obviously, for exercise material, the students need to all work on the same text, which can then be reviewed in class. These writing samples should be superb for that purpose, and they also include writing prompts such that the students can also discuss how the various samples do or do not meet the various states' writing criteria for the other important aspects of writing -- focus, organization, content, etc.


Arizona
2001 Grade 3, [Dec 2] Grade 5, [Nov. 1] Grade 8 [Nov 1] H S [H]

North Carolina [Grades 4, 7, 10] [1/25/05]
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/testing/writing/ [H]

Pennsylvania
2000-2001 Grade 6 [Nov] Grade 9 [Taken] Grade 11 [H]