Expository Essay Collection

Writing Prompt Scoring Rubric 

MCAS Scoring Guide (Grade 6-8)  

MCAS Scoring Guide (Grade 4-5)  




1. [Personal Goals] Many students have personal goals, such as making the honor roll, playing a musical instrument, or being a top scorer in a video game. To be successful in reaching goals, it helps to have certain qualities. Some of these might include self-discipline, determination, or a positive attitude. Think about a goal that you would like to achieve. In a well-developed composition, state your goal. Describe at least two qualities you will need to reach your goal, and explain why each quality is important to be successful. (MCAS Grade 7, 2004)


2. [Welcoming Committee] Every year students across the state transfer from one school to another. Sometimes it is difficult for these students to adjust to their new surroundings. Imagine your school would like to have a student-run welcoming committee, and it is taking suggestions for helping new students adjust to your school. Suggest at least two ways that the committee can help new students adjust to your school. Explain why these suggestions would be helpful. (MCAS, Grade 7 Make-up, 2004)


3. [Favorite Hobbies] Many young people enjoy favorite hobbies or activities outside of school. These can include sports, performing arts, or collecting special items, to name a few. Think about an activity or hobby in which you participate. In a well-developed composition, describe this special interest or activity and explain why it is important to you. (MCAS Grade 7, 2003)


4. [A Special Day] Imagine that your principal is interested in rewarding the students in your class with a special day at the end of the year. The principal is looking for suggestions for entertainment, a possible field trip, or a variety of activities. Think about what would make the day wonderful for you and your classmates. In a well-developed composition, describe the special day and explain why the students would enjoy the day. (MCAS, Grade 7 Make-up, 2003)


5. [Respect and Admiration] Respect. Singers sing about it. Some people inspire it. Think about someone you respect and admire. The person can be someone you know, or someone you have read or heard about. In a well-developed composition, describe the person you have selected. Explain in detail at least two reasons why you respect this person. (MCAS Grade 7, 2002)


6. [Challenges] All of us face challenges in life. One challenge might be making new friends. Another challenge might be learning how to play a sport or a musical instrument. In a well-developed composition, describe a challenge that you or someone you know has faced. What lesson did you learn? Support your ideas with examples and details. (MCAS, Grade 7 Make-up, 2002)


7. [Reflecting on School Life] Age has a funny way of making changes. It is probably easy for you to look back and see that you and your friends have made some major changes since you left the elementary grades. Your teachers and friends may be different, your school may be different, and some of your interests are probably different. Think back to fourth grade and describe how school has changed for you as a seventh grader. Support your ideas with examples and details. (MCAS Grade 7, 2001)


8. [Memorable Characters or People] The editors of a new magazine for young adults have contacted your school. They are looking for a variety of appealing descriptions of memorable characters or people. These descriptions will appear in the first issue of this magazine. You are invited to submit a description of the most memorable character or person that you have ever met or read about. The editors are looking for descriptions that make the character or person come alive for the audience. Support your ideas with examples and details.(MCAS, Grade 7 Make-up, 2001)


9. [A Memorable Day] Most people have had a day that stands out in their minds. It might have been a day when they went somewhere special or something memorable happened. Think about one day that stands out in your memory, who was there and how you felt. Write an essay explaining what made this day memorable. Support your ideas with examples and details. (Department of Education, Tennessee)


10. [Honorary Person] The U.S. Postal Service has honored many individuals from presidents to singers to cartoon characters, by placing their portraits on postage stamps. Whom would you nominate to honor with a postage stamp? Think about why this person should have his or her own stamp. Write an essay indicating whom you would choose and explain why that person should be honored with a postage stamp. Support your ideas with examples and details.


11. [An Important Item] Everyone has one item that is important to him or her. Think about one item that is important to you and why. It could be something you found, made, or had given to you. Write an essay explaining why this one item is important to you. Support your ideas with examples and details.



1. Expository Writing Sample 1: A Ray of Light (complete with analysis)


2. Expository Writing Sample 2: Consider The Challenges (complete with analysis)


3. Expository Writing Sample 3: Champs, Survivors and Ordinary People (complete with analysis)


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John Holly