English-Language Arts Released Test Questions



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Score Point 3

Commentary

In this response, the writer is responsive to the writing task, defends both positions with evidence, and anticipates the reader’s concerns. The writer concludes the first paragraph with a thesis that is responsive to the writing task, stating that “Individual conversations have fantastic advantages to them as well as having many disadvantages.”

The second paragraph is effectively organized in a pro/con format in which each advantage presented is immediately countered with a disadvantage. Some details and examples are provided to support both the advantages and disadvantages of individual conversations.

The last paragraph concludes the essay by summarizing that although individual conversations may be “enlightening” and “fast,” they may not “always be the exact truths.”

The writer does use some descriptive language such as “obtained” and “biased” as well as a variety of sentence types. Additionally, the writer demonstrates a consistent tone and focus. There are some misspellings and some errors in the conventions of the English language, but they do not interfere with the reader’s understanding of the essay. Overall, this essay is an example of a 3-point response.

2Writing



Score Point 2

Student Response

There are many sources available to people for news and such, however most people use only one. There is the television, the radio, newspapers, and even conversations to help people to get the information they need. A majority of the people focus on one main source of news or research. Relying on one source only can be both a benefit and a disadvantage.

When someone relies on one particular source, it is mainly because of laziness or lack of willingness. There are many weaknesses that come with focusing on one source only. If a person was to look in a newspaper for details on what had happened earlier that morning, that is just one opinion. One would never know the actual truth to the story, when they are exposed with one opinion.

Though relying on one source can be an issue at times, it is also comes as an advantage. Someone could be working on a research paper and could have all of the information they need right there in front of them. In this case not many more sources are needed.

Using one source is not the more favored way to go. People should always, even if they do not necessarily need it, use more than one source of information. Using more sources gives a better understanding of something.

Score Point 2

Commentary

While not typical for this writing task, the writer’s one approach of comparing the pros and cons of using one source of news as opposed to multiple sources is a valid one. The thesis—“Relying on one source only can be both a benefit and a disadvantage”—is related to the writing task.

In the following two paragraphs, the writer then attempts to argue the advantages and disadvantages of employing only one news source; however, the essay’s discussion is on a general level only, providing limited details and examples.

The writer comes to the conclusion that “Using more sources gives a better understanding of something” in the final paragraph, but details are not provided to support this conclusion.

This essay provides little support for its thesis and demonstrates a monotonous tone and focus. In addition, some awkward and incorrect use of the English language occurs. All these factors are representative of a 2-point response.
1Writing

Score Point 1

Student Response

T.V., Newspaper

Which of these news sources do you use?

Both of these sources are good in there own way

but some people May Prefer one over the other. For intance, one person might get there news off the T.V. when another person might not have time for t.v. so they prefer a newspaper.

They Both give the same news but the newspapers faster

Score Point 1

Commentary

In this response, the writer provides a weak thesis that is related to the writing task: “. . . some people may prefer one source over the other.” Although this brief essay does provide a valid foundation for further discussion, it fails to offer substantive support or evidence. Additionally, it does not address the reader’s concerns. The paper does not provide any sentence variety and uses limited vocabulary. Overall, this paper is an example of a 1-point response.


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REMINDER




  • Write your response to the writing task below.

  • You may give your writing a title if you like, but it is not necessary.

  • You may NOT use a dictionary. If you do not know how to spell a word, sound the word out and do the best you can.

  • You may either print or write in cursive.

  • Write clearly! Any erasures or strike-throughs should be as clean as possible.


Writing Task:

Some students at your school expressed an interest in making the school more attractive by getting rid of the trash on the school grounds.
Write a persuasive essay for your school paper in which you convince the readers of the importance of getting rid of the trash and making the school more attractive. Convince your readers through the use of specific reasons and examples.
Checklist for Your Writing

The following checklist will help you do your best work. Make sure you do the following:

  • Read the description of the task carefully.

  • Organize your writing with a strong introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • State your position, support it with specific examples, and address the reader’s concerns.

  • Use words that are appropriate for your audience and purpose.

  • Vary your sentences to make your writing interesting to read.

  • Check for mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence formation.


NOTE: Pages 17 through 20 provide a sample student essay for this writing task at each of the four score points with commentary and rationale for the given score. The student responses have been typed with the students’ own content, grammar, capitalization, and spelling. The CAHSEE Response to Writing Prompt Scoring Guide for this writing task may be found on pages 28-29.

4Writing



Score Point 4

Student Response

Would you enjoy taking your classes at the city dump? Trash is not beautiful. It is a well-known fact that students learn better when they’re in a clean environment. To be more attractive, trash on our school grounds must be picked up. The importance of picking up trash is to beautify our campus and make our school a healthier place to learn.

We want our campus to be attractive and clean, right? When rival schools come to compete against us, we don’t want them going home criticizing us because of our campus. We don’t want our mascot to become a rat or a pig in their eyes. We want to keep our campus clean to show that we’re not slobs and are educated enough to pick up our own garbage.

Who would want to eat lunch inside a dumpster? Or exercise in a gym that smells like rotten eggs and spoiled milk? We need a campus that will make it easier and healthier to learn. Would essays show the student’s best if they brainstormed ideas while looking out the window at old food, used bandaids, empty soda cans and gum wrappers? The way this campus looks influenses the way we perform in our classrooms. To get the maximum quality work done, we need clean and sanitary workspaces.

In conclusion, picking up any trash around school will be beneficial to everybody, especially us. If you see a piece of paper blowin around stop it with your foot and bend down, pick it up, then throw it away. There’s no reason why our campus needs to be anything other than attractive. With everyone’s help, it can be attractive and provide a better learning atmosphere.
Score Point 4

Commentary

In this response, the writer addresses all parts of the persuasive writing task: stating a position about the importance of cleaning up trash, defending the position with evidence, and anticipating the reader’s concerns. The first paragraph gives the writer’s position (“trash on our school grounds must be picked up”) and then gives two reasons that picking up trash is important (“to beautify our campus and make our school a healthier place to learn”). These two ideas become the focus for the rest of the essay.

The writer uses the questions that open each of the next two paragraphs to anticipate objections to cleaning up trash, thereby addressing the reader’s potential concerns. The second paragraph provides several images to support the argument that a more attractive campus would provide specific benefits (e.g., “We don’t want our mascot to become a rat or a pig in their [rival schools’] eyes”). Although the third paragraph provides little detail about the health aspect of the argument, it does use specific details to develop the concept that a clean environment is conducive to learning. The essay provides a strong conclusion that not only restates the writer’s position, but also extends the argument with a call to action: “If you see a piece of paper blowin around stop it with your foot and bend down, pick it up, then throw it away”.

The essay demonstrates the control of organization that is required for a 4-point paper, and the stated position is developed with details. Although there is a misplaced modifier (“To be more attractive, trash . . .”), and a few additional errors in conventions, overall the writer demonstrates the control of conventions. The essay also uses a variety of sentence types and precise, descriptive language. Overall, this essay is a sample of a 4-point response.

3Writing

Score Point 3

Student Response

Nobody would like it if people stopped picking up trash and let our school become filled with trash. It is very important to keep our school clean to provide an appropriate learning environment. If everyone would help out our school would look more attractive.

A clean school campus would offer a nicer and appropriate learning environment. A dirty school makes it harder to concentrate on school work. If trash covered the campus students might be looking out classroom windows for what awaits them after class and wondering why someone is not cleaning it up. A clean school would help the students concentrate so grades might raise not only making the school look better on the outside but academically as well.

No one enjoys being in a dirty environment. Before school, snack, lunch, and after school would be much less enjoy-able to both the students and faculty if our campus was dirty. People do not like eating in trash filled lunch areas and so there would be more students leaving school permitted or not for lunch. Basically, students and teachers would not be able to stand being in a dirty environment during school hours.

In conclusion living environments are kept clean and so it is equally important to keep learning environments clean as well. Both the students and faculty spend large portions of their days here so to make school a little better and more attractive our school needs to be kept clean. It would be easy if everyone just did their part.
Score Point 3

Commentary

In this response to the writing prompt, the writer begins with a paragraph that states three positions about picking up trash—that “Nobody would like” a school “filled with trash,” that a clean school provides “an appropriate learning environment,” and that a clean school would “look more attractive.” The paragraphs that follow discuss each of these ideas.

The second paragraph of the essay focuses on the learning environment, explaining that students can concentrate better if there is no trash on campus. The third paragraph addresses the idea that “no one enjoys being in a dirty environment.” The final paragraph restates the idea that the school could look more attractive if everyone helped.

In general, the paper defends the three positions with some details and examples, but the development is not as thoughtful or thorough as that in a 4-point paper. In the third paragraph, for example, each sentence restates the topic sentence and adds only a few additional details.

The paper addresses readers’ concerns and expectations in a general way by stating that

“Nobody would like it if people stopped picking up trash” and “No one enjoys being in a dirty environment,” and thus a general sense of audience is evident throughout the essay.

There are a few errors in the conventions of written English, but they do not interfere with the reader’s understanding. Overall, this essay is an example of a 3-point response to this writing task.
2

Score Point 2

Student Response

The importance of getting rid of garbage on school camps is very important. The importance of getting rid of the garbage is makeing are school look nice, giving less work for the teachers and janitors to do. Another reason it is important because if I don’t look oke people are going to think that it isn’t a good school.

I think that this a good subject to write on because the trash on school campus is terrible. School campuses have alot of garbage because people don’t care about throwing there trash away. But people need to think more reasonsivly because they are destroying the earth if they do not pick up there garbage. So people from now on when you have garbage don’t throw it on the ground throw it in the garbage can.

Another reason it is important for people not to litter because this where we live and we don’t need to destroy where we live. Pluse what would other people come to our school meaning the district office people think of us if we just left our trash all over the ground that would make us look bad.
Score Point 2

Commentary

In this response to the writing prompt, the writer begins by stating three reasons that picking up trash is important: “makeing are school look nice,” “giving less work for the teachers and janitors to do,” and preventing people from thinking “that it isn’t a good school.”

Although the paper states these positions with some authority, it fails to support them in the paragraphs that follow. The second paragraph focuses on a new, although related, topic, that people should pick up their trash to avoid destroying the earth. The third paragraph moves from the idea that trash destroys the earth to the idea that it destroys “where we live.” This paragraph also contains an attempt to develop the third position in the opening paragraph, that having trash around suggests that this isn’t a good school: “if we just left our trash all over the ground that would make us look bad.”

This essay provides little or no support for its thesis, shows little control over organization, and demonstrates an inconsistent tone and focus. It also fails to anticipate readers’ concerns. These factors, in addition to the lack of control over the conventions of written English, particularly spelling, make this essay an example of a 2-point response.


1

Score Point 1

Student Response

It would be a good idea to clean up our envirement, maybe if there was more trash cans well you could make our schlool cleaner if just everybody picked up on thing our schlool would not be 3/4ths clean that’s how bad our mess has gotten to who wants to attend a school that’s now for the trash and ants and roaches etc. No one does that’s why we

should clean our school & our great reward in the end a clean & safe and healthy envirement and school.

Score Point 1

Commentary

In this response to the writing prompt, the writer begins with the position that cleaning up the environment is a good idea. This statement is followed by two suggestions—that there could be more trash cans and that everyone should help pick up trash. Another topic which is a description of the extent of the trash problem at school, and then the final sentence of the response reaffirms that cleaning up trash will have beneficial results.

This response offers several ideas related to the topic but fails to support these ideas with details or examples. In addition, the response lacks consistency of focus and fails to demonstrate a control of organization. The serious errors in the conventions of written English, particularly in sentence boundaries, interfere with the reader’s understanding of the essay and result in a score of 1.
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
REMINDER



  • Write your response to the writing task below.

  • You may give your writing a title if you like, but it is not necessary.

  • You may NOT use a dictionary. If you do not know how to spell a word, sound the word out and do the best you can.

  • You may either print or write in cursive.

  • Write clearly! Any erasures or strike-throughs should be as clean as possible.



Writing Task:

Tourism committees spend a great deal of money each year advocating natural landmarks of states and countries. By using media such as posters, magazine advertisements, television commercials, and radio advertisements, committees are able to send a message about beautiful places, and hopefully convince some tourists to travel to those places.
Suppose you have been hired by a tourism committee. Write a persuasive essay in which you identify a place in the world that has something tourists might find interesting.

Explain precisely what makes that particular place so special. Develop your ideas so that a potential tourist would be persuaded to visit the place you have identified.
Checklist for Your Writing

The following checklist will help you do your best work. Make sure you do the following:

  • Read the description of the task carefully.

  • Organize your writing with a strong introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • State a thesis responsive to the task and support it fully with specific details and examples.

  • Use words that are appropriate for your audience and purpose.

  • Vary your sentences to make your writing interesting to read.

  • Check for mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence formation.


NOTE: Pages 22 through 27 provide a sample student essay for this writing task at each of the four score points with commentary and rationale for the given score. The student responses have been typed with the students’ own content, grammar, capitalization, and spelling. The CAHSEE Response to Writing Prompt Scoring Guide for this writing task may be found on pages 28-29.

4

Score Point 4



Student Response

Some call it the Happiest Place on Earth and others call it the Magic Kingdom. What is this magical place? Well, if you guessed Disneyland, you were right! Disneyland, home to Mickey and all of his friends, is the host to many tourists and visitors each year.

Racking in millions of dollars year round, this exhilerating amusement park is able to please each and every one of its guests. From the moment you set foot on Main Street to the second you exit the gates, it feels as if you’re entrapped in a dream. So, embark on a journey with me to explore the many wonders and secrets of this magical theme park.

Disneyland is most popular with its food and treats. Whether you’re dining under the midnight sky in the Carribbean or having brunch in New Orleans, the Magic Kingdom is sure to please all of your mouthwatering needs. Every restaurant you enter is set with

a different atmosphere, with elaborate decorations, sound effects and music. Vendors on the streets are always there and smiling to offer you crisp caramel apples, buttery popcorn, or fluffy cotton candy. Before you know it, you’ll have tried every food in the park.

Disneyland may have its ups and downs . . . if you’re on one of its many extreme roller coasters, of course. The second you pull down the lap bar, get ready for a fun-filled adrenaline rush to add excitement to your day. If you have little ones, Disneyland provides you with fun, colorful storybook rides also. You just sit down, relax, and watch the childrens’ eyes light up when they see characters from their favorite movies before their very eyes.

It’s not everyday that you see the big black sky light up with glittering explosions of light. Yes, Disneyland’s sky and streets are filled with entertainment for all to watch for free! People play music, put on parades, set off fireworks and perform in cute, whymsical shows. Be sure to always watch the entertainment, but be careful . . . you might bump into Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse and all of his pals make a grand appearance for you to hug, play with, and take pictures with every single day.

Sure enough, the end of your day comes and you start to get tired. finally, it’s time to leave and go back to your daily life. The only thing you’re left with is a great memory . . . and maybe a few suevenirs. So, when your vacation time rolls around and you are sitting on the couch, thinking of where to go, remember the food, rides, and fun at Disneyland, and it won’t take you long to make up your mind.

Writing

Score Point 4

Commentary

In this response, the writer addresses all parts of the persuasive writing task: stating a position about where the ideal tourist location would be, defending the position with evidence, and anticipating the reader’s concerns. In the beginning of the first paragraph, the writer includes a rhetorical question and its answer as the thesis to the essay: “What is this magical place? Well, if you guessed Disneyland, you were right!” The remainder of the paragraph states brief reasons why Disneyland is an ideal tourist location (e.g. hosts many visitors, pleases all ages, and is a fantasy). The writer entreats the reader to continue the journey by resuming to read about the wonders of Disneyland.

The second paragraph emphasizes the variety of food offered at the park. The writer addresses the concerns of the reader by stating that every restaurant has “a different atmosphere” (e.g., Caribbean and New Orleans). Other potential concerns are addressed by the descriptive language used to mention that there are not only restaurants but also vendors selling “crisp caramel apples, buttery popcorn, or fluffy cotton candy.”

The third paragraph begins with a pun on the phrase “ups and downs,” when referring to Disneyland’s roller coasters. Once again, the reader’s concerns are addressed by noting that not all visitors to Disneyland will be interested in roller coasters and relating that Disneyland also has rides for children based upon the franchise’s popular storybook and movie characters: “You just sit down, relax, and watch the childrens’ [sic] eyes light up when they see characters from their favorite movies before their very eyes.”

The next paragraph details the multitude of free entertainment that is available at the park

(e.g., the fireworks at night, the parades, the shows, and even Mickey Mouse). The writer uses ironic humor by suggesting the reader “ . . . be careful . . . you might bump into Mickey

Mouse.”

The final paragraph reemphasizes the reasons to visit Disneyland as an ideal tourist location. It concludes the tight structure and organization of the essay. The use of a responsive meaningful thesis that is thoroughly supported by specific details and examples is representative of a 4-point response. The writer also demonstrates a consistent tone and focus highlighted by the sense of audience and organization of the paper. The essay uses a variety of sentence types and precise, descriptive language. While there are a few errors in the conventions of the English language, they are first draft in nature. Overall, this essay is a sample of a 4-point response.


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