Creating and Scoring Essay Tests

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Essay tests are useful for teachers when they want students to select, organize, analyze, synthesize, and/or evaluate information. In other words, they rely on the upper levels of Bloom's Taxonomy . There are two types of essay questions: restricted and extended response.

  • Restricted Response - These essay questions limit what the student will discuss in the essay based on the wording of the question. For example, "State the main differences between John Adams' and Thomas Jefferson's beliefs about federalism," is a restricted response. What the student is to write about has been expressed to them within the question.
  • Extended Response - These allow students to select what they wish to include in order to answer the question. For example, "In Of Mice and Men , was George's killing of Lennie justified? Explain your answer." The student is given the overall topic, but they are free to use their own judgment and integrate outside information to help support their opinion.

Student Skills Required for Essay Tests

Before expecting students to perform well on either type of essay question, we must make sure that they have the required skills to excel. Following are four skills that students should have learned and practiced before taking essay exams:

  • The ability to select appropriate material from the information learned in order to best answer the question.
  • The ability to organize that material in an effective manner.
  • The ability to show how ideas relate and interact in a specific context.
  • The ability to write effectively in both sentences and paragraphs.

Constructing an Effective Essay Question

Following are a few tips to help in the construction of effective essay questions:

  • Begin with the lesson objectives in mind. Make sure to know what you wish the student to show by answering the essay question.
  • Decide if your goal requires a restricted or extended response. In general, if you wish to see if the student can synthesize and organize the information that they learned, then restricted response is the way to go. However, if you wish them to judge or evaluate something using the information taught during class, then you will want to use the extended response.
  • If you are including more than one essay, be cognizant of time constraints. You do not want to punish students because they ran out of time on the test.
  • Write the question in a novel or interesting manner to help motivate the student.
  • State the number of points that the essay is worth. You can also provide them with a time guideline to help them as they work through the exam.
  • If your essay item is part of a larger objective test, make sure that it is the last item on the exam.

Scoring the Essay Item

One of the downfalls of essay tests is that they lack in reliability. Even when teachers grade essays with a well-constructed rubric, subjective decisions are made. Therefore, it is important to try and be as reliable as possible when scoring your essay items. Here are a few tips to help improve reliability in grading:

  • Determine whether you will use a holistic or analytic scoring system before you write your rubric . With the holistic grading system, you evaluate the answer as a whole, rating papers against each other. With the analytic system, you list specific pieces of information and award points for their inclusion.
  • Prepare the essay rubric in advance. Determine what you are looking for and how many points you will be assigning for each aspect of the question.
  • Avoid looking at names. Some teachers have students put numbers on their essays to try and help with this.
  • Score one item at a time. This helps ensure that you use the same thinking and standards for all students.
  • Avoid interruptions when scoring a specific question. Again, consistency will be increased if you grade the same item on all the papers in one sitting.
  • If an important decision like an award or scholarship is based on the score for the essay, obtain two or more independent readers.
  • Beware of negative influences that can affect essay scoring. These include handwriting and writing style bias, the length of the response, and the inclusion of irrelevant material.
  • Review papers that are on the borderline a second time before assigning a final grade.
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FREE Common Core: 8th Grade English Language Arts Practice Tests

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8th Grade Essay: Examples, Topics, & Writing Tips

The picture introduces to the requirements of an 8th grade essay.

If you find yourself on this page, you are probably going to another level of your education – the final year of Middle school!

Isn’t it exciting?

One of the most common assignments in the 8th grade is an essay. Indeed, it gains new features. An eighth-grade essay is not the same as the sixth or seventh-grade one. It has more requirements and needs a deeper level of analysis.

How to write an 8th-grade essay? How many paragraphs should it contain? What is a standard 8th-grade essay format? On this page, you’ll find the answers to these and other questions that might arise. We’ve prepared creative 8th-grade essay topics, examples, and tips to write an A+ informative, narrative, or persuasive essay.

  • 🧩 8th Grade Essay 101
  • 📑 8th-Grade Essay Types
  • 💾 Topics for the 8 th -Graders

🍎 8th Grade Essay Examples

🧩 8th-grade essay format explained.

Once again: the 8th-grade essay format is a bit different from that of the previous years.

Below, we thoroughly explain how long an 8th-grade essay should be and how to write it. We guarantee you’ll have no questions about the format and assessment of this type of work.

What Is the 8 th Grade Essay Format?

In this section, you’ll know which parts comprise any 8th-grade essay.

The first thing to remember: you’ve got onto an entirely new level. So, your writing isn’t as simple and short as it used to be in the previous school years.

Let’s start with the structure. The fundamental parts are the same as in any type of essay:

The picture contains information about the language style required for an 8th grade essay.

8th Grade Essay: How to Write & Typical Mistakes

With the help of this section, you’ll get to know the most straightforward and helpful tips for 8th-grade essay writing.

These are the things that any 8th grader should know!

8 th Grade Essay Do’s

  • Look for reliable sources to find arguments and evidence.
  • Try to arouse eagerness for writing: it surely will ease the whole process for you.
  • Choose the topic that is interesting for you if you have such an option.
  • Use academic language, special terms, consistent phrases, and correct grammar.
  • Use good quotations from reputable sources to solidify your ideas.

8 th Grade Essay Don’ts

  • Don’t write dully: an essay is a story. It should be exciting and consistent.
  • Don’t make all your examples too similar: diversity is of the essence.
  • Don’t let your text look like an unreadable pile of words: use graphic tools to highlight the most critical points.
  • Don’t use unreliable sources and websites for citation.
  • Don’t be afraid of honest self-expression. Your identity and thoughts are what make your 8th-grade essay unique.
  • Don’t forget to revise your text after you’ve finished writing it.

8th Grade Essay Rubric

Meet the assessment strategies for 8th-grade writing. Here you’ll also find some prompts that improve your essay and lead you to a higher score.

So, the assessment pattern of a written piece comprises several main points. These are the things that assessors pay attention to:

📑 Eighth Grade Essay Types

We suppose that you come across different types of assignments during middle school. Among them, there indeed were descriptive and narrative essays.

However, now you are to face other exciting formats of writing. In the section below, you’ll get to know a few new types.

8th Grade Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay is a piece of writing where you make a claim and prove your point of view with solid arguments. Your aim at this point is to make readers nod in contempt while reading and share your opinion.

The structure may be pretty familiar to you:

The picture contains an exemplary outline for an 8th grade argumentative essay.

In your argumentative essay, you should back up your opinion with some exact data: statistics, figures, research studies, and polls.

To solidify your claim, you can use three types of arguments:

  • Aristotelian . The classical way – you make a statement and try to persuade the audience that it is the one that is fair and right.
  • Rogerian . First, you display an issue, then present the opposing view. After that, reveal your own opinion and start convincing readers why they should take up your point.
  • Toulmin . Present your thesis statement, then provide the audience with the grounds to support it. The final touch is to connect these parts.

PRO TIP: Explain why you disagree with the opposing point of view on your issue.

8th Grade Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay is very similar to argumentative writing. There you have to pick up a mainly burning issue and establish a firm opinion towards it. The primary goal is the same as in the argumentative essay: to make your readers believe you.

The picture contains an exemplary outline for an 8th grade persuasive essay.

Remember the three essentials of persuasive writing:

  • Logos appeals to logic, which is apparent. Deliver your thoughts cohesively and reasonably.
  • Ethos is about persuading the readers, appealing to their sense of ethics and morality.
  • Pathos helps you convince through emotions.

8th Grade Essay – Informative

An expository essay brings concepts to complete understanding. In other words, you explain something to give a clue about the subject in question. Successful expository writing makes the audience get the whole picture, leaving no questions or misunderstandings.

To familiarize yourself with expository essay structure, check our recently updated guide on writing an expository essay .

And briefly look at six major types of expository essays:

The picture contains brief descriptions of exposutory essay types.

💾 8th Grade Essay Topics

8th grade argumentative essay topics.

  • What is the main challenge you’ve ever met?
  • What was the happiest moment of your childhood?
  • Tell about the accomplishment you’re most proud of.
  • What are the personal qualities you like most?
  • Write about an inspiring celebrity.
  • What does emotional intelligence mean?
  • Write about the largest challenge of getting older.
  • How is adolescence different from childhood?

Read the list of topics we’ve prepared for an 8th-grade essay. Choose your favorite or use our Free Essay Topics Generator to find the best one.

Persuasive Essay Topics for 8th Grade

  • Would limited screen time be beneficial for health?
  • Will the global use of electric vehicles save us from the ecological crisis?
  • The government should provide citizens with more qualified psychological help.
  • What are the pros and cons of buying a pet for a child?
  • Should people use paper and textile bags instead of plastic ones?
  • Is it necessary to attend PE classes in school?
  • Is it ethical to use smartphones during the lesson?
  • Should parents forbid their children from watching TikTok?
  • Pros and cons of cheating on exams: immoral or beneficial?
  • Should there be only healthy snack vending machines at schools?
  • Is it acceptable for a teacher to raise the voice at a student?
  • Should modern rappers’ songs be put through censorship?
  • Is it ethical for students to discuss their teachers?
  • Should all cosmetic products become cruelty-free?
  • Should we stop the overconsumption of sugar for the sake of our health?
  • Should zoos and circuses be banned forever?

8th Grade Informative Essay Topics

  • Compare and contrast the environmental policies of the USA and Europe.
  • What are the harmful effects of CO 2 emissions on the environment?
  • How is the concept of freedom reflected in 20th-century literature?
  • Reveal the details of the famous friendship of Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
  • Brush off or fight: how to act when you come across bullying at school?
  • What are the most significant challenges school attendees usually face?
  • How to overcome your fears without getting traumatized?
  • How to prepare for the exam period and overcome anxiety?
  • Freedom or despair: the history and concept of trailer parks in the USA.
  • Explain the concept of sustainability and what benefits it has.
  • Provide a classification of American lifestyles based on location.
  • A reasonable person: describe the concept and the features.

Look at our 8th grade essay examples. These are mostly just excerpts, but we included the most significant parts. Approach us in case you need a similar paper or have any questions.

8th Grade Argumentative Essay Example (#1)

The most notorious substance in the ecological discourse: is CO 2 really that bad?

Did you know that it’s better for the earth if you work out or jog with your mouth tightly shut? It’s not common knowledge, but professionals know: we need a considerable amount of CO 2 in our blood. In some terms, it’s even more vital than oxygen. Undoubtedly, there has to be a proper balance, and here is the point: CO 2 can be beneficial.

Though what good does it make to nature and the environment?

It’s all the same as with our body: CO 2 is not evil on earth, but there must be a proper balance. Now, this balance is critical, and we must make serious efforts to change the situation.

  • According to last year’s research, the USA is in the second place among countries producing the most significant part of CO 2 in the whole world. The website statista.com published striking figures. 4.57 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions were produced in 2020 by the energy consumption sphere in the United States.
  • Besides, a recently published report from the IEA agency reveals another piece of statistics. Compared to the previous year, the amount of CO 2 emissions will rise to 5% in 2021. This year we’re facing 33 billion tons of this greenhouse gas.
  • These figures mean nothing without context. Here you are: nature suffers greatly from CO 2 influence. Due to the greenhouse effect caused by an excess of CO 2 , the water temperature in oceans and seas is rising. This process is not positive at all because the natural habitat for sea creatures is altering. The changes are dramatic and lead to the extinction of many species.

In conclusion, we need to find an efficient way to improve the ecological situation regarding CO 2 emissions. The key is global social and individual awareness and consciousness. Each and every inhabitant of the Earth has to understand the meaning of CO 2 for global warming clearly. So, try to jog with your lips closed and choose a bike instead of a car.

Example #2: 8th Grade Persuasive Essay

Is it essential to stay away from social media for the sake of mental health?

Nielsen Company conducted research that says that the average US adult spends more than 10 hours interacting with social media each day. Indeed, social media plays a very considerable role in the life of a modern person. Most of us are more likely to spend time watching short videos than reading a good book. But is it harmful to our mental health to the extent that we have to quit using social media platforms?

To my mind, we are greatly dependent on our Instagram and TikTok accounts, and the content posted there. It certainly has a negative impact, too. However, the complete cancellation of social media is not a way out. The key to good mental condition is in the skill of managing your relations with them.

  • One of the recent surveys by the Lancet reports that Facebook users who scroll the newsfeed before sleep tend to be more depressed. Apparently, the deprivation of sleep affects mental well-being to a great extent.
  • FInancesOnline has recently posted the results of the research. According to this data, Facebook constitutes 72% of people’s FOMO and anxiety. Posts about traveling and active social life create most of these feelings.
  • At the same time, healthy rivalry can motivate development and growth. There’s a reasonable quotation saying that one should compare themselves yesterday instead of comparing to others. The best thing one can do to take care of their mental health is to take a digital detox for a while.

Thus, it is vital to trace your obsessions with social media and negative feelings caused by comparison with others on the Internet. Try to get more aware of it, take your time to rest from social media, and plunge into real life.

5 Paragraph Essay Example for 8th Grade (#3)

The Financier and American Tragedy : compare and contrast two main characters of Dreiser’s novels.

Do you know that Theodore Dreiser is sometimes called an American Fyodor Dostoevsky? Both writers touched upon the most sensitive social and existential issues. However, the subject of this paper is not the comparison of the authors but two famous Dreiser characters: Clyde Griffiths and Frank Cowperwood.

Both of these young American men were striving to reach financial and social success in a world of brutal struggle and hardships.

  • Clyde Griffiths represents the desperate strive for American Dream. Born in a poor and religious family, he grows greedy for money and status. In his blind obsession with gaining a high social position, he doesn’t notice his spiritual degradation. He is smart enough to struggle his way into high society but not so witty to solidify his standing with decent means. He cheats, lies, and finally commits a murder: Clyde seems to be already born guilty at times. On reading the story, there doesn’t appear any sympathy toward him. On the contrary, he provokes feelings of abomination and disgust.
  • Frank Cowperwood also aims to become wealthy and socially firm. He wants to improve his family’s life quality. Still, his ways and means astonish. Frank is a natural-born predator and strategist. His sophistication and sharp wit show up in him since his very childhood. He isn’t a man of high moral standards: Frank doesn’t mind cheating on his wife and manipulating city treasure money. However, he’s a passionate man, honest and open in his heart urges and impulses. That is the reason why fortune favors him.

However, having similar goals but different personalities and mindsets, Griffiths and Cowperwood reach completely different destination points.

How to Write an Essay in 8th Grade?

– You should pick up a good topic and formulate your attitude to the problem. – Write an outline. – Make a clear and brief thesis statement. – Think of at least 3 firm arguments if the essay type demands it. – Impress your readers with a firm conclusion. Voila! Do not forget to proofread!

How Long Is an Essay in 8th Grade?

The length of the 8th-grade essay slightly depends on the format and the particular type of writing. However, it varies from approximately 500 to 800 words. Within this framework, you have to make yourself clear and deliver all necessary points.

How Many Sentences Are in a Paragraph for 8th Grade?

The size of a paragraph in the 8th-grade essay has to be not less than 8 sentences in each. Besides that, mind that the sentences are primarily compound or complex, error-free, and coherent. Also, remember to connect the sentences and paragraphs with particular language means.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay in 8th Grade?

Choose an exciting and acute topic. Make up a thesis statement out of the problem. Draft an outline or a brief plan. Explore some reliable sources for the evidence and arguments for your essay. Organize the facts and information into a cohesive structure.

I’m an 8th grade student at a private school, and my teacher assigns us up to 4-6 pages most to write. First of all we get other essays on top of this, and usually have nearly to a week to finish. Me and my classmates struggle with this. Do you guys think this is too much for an average 8th grade student?

i am writin apaper right now and it is averreding and its about the changes we woud make to our cafeteria it has to be 5 paragraphs long

Thanks for stopping by at our blog. We would be happy to help you with your paper. You can be interested in some other posts on this blog (https://overnightessay.com/blog/category/essay-tips/) or contact our friendly Support Team to get professional writign help from experienced writers. Good luck with your paper! Best regards,

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  20. PDF Oregon English Language Arts Assessment

    ELA CAT Scoring Guide Grade 8 Sample Test. The Oregon ELA Sample Test Scoring Guides provide details about the items, student response types, correct responses, and related scoring considerations for the Oregon Sample Test items. The items selected for the Sample Test are designed to reflect. a broad coverage of claims and targets.

  21. PDF Text-Dependent Analysis Sampler

    • respond to TDA questions in essay form using with complete, thought-out answers; and • use good test-taking strategies. Student Practice and Test Preparation . Students may perform better and with less anxiety if they are familiar with the format of the test and with the types of questions they will be required to answer.

  22. Practice Tests and Sample Questions

    Training tests are shorter than practice tests and offer a sample of six questions so students can become familiar with the testing software. Training tests are available in three grade bands: grades 3-5, grades 6-8, and high school. Select your location below to access the tests! Login is not required. California. Connecticut. Delaware. Hawaii.

  23. Georgia Milestones Item and Scoring Samplers

    The purpose of these Item and Scoring Samplers is to provide examples of the type of constructed-response items that appear on the End of Grade (EOG) and End of Course (EOC) Georgia Milestones English Language Arts assessments. The items in the samplers may be used for classroom instruction purposes. Teachers may use the rubrics and sample ...