HiSET Language Arts Writing Test

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1 HiSET Language Arts Writing Test Scored Sample Writing Responses Sample Writing Prompt Many towns and cities across the state you live in are facing reduced funds and must consider ways to cut costs for public services, including education. Because education in your state is provided from kindergarten through high school and includes not just classes but also sports and club activities, the budget for each school district is quite large. A school board member has asked community members to share their ideas about how to cut costs in education without negatively affecting student learning. Write an essay in which you present your ideas about what your school district should do to reduce its budget for education without hurting student learning. Use details and examples from your reading, experiences, and/or observations to support your argument. Score = 1 I think we should cut all the the expensive stuff like were we are getting the new football stuff we can t afford it. Then why get it? People don t understand that if you can t afford then don t get it schools like here can t afford it but we still do anyway. We should save the money to fix the school and the lunches get better instead of football gear or new dirt for the practice field. we should fix up the gym and the class rooms get new desks so we don t have to sit in the broken one anymore. Put new walls were the old ones should go and new bigger and better lockers were the doors don t break or get cought up with books. Essays at this score point show little or no skill in responding to the task. The response has little or no development. It may provide a few ideas but lacks explanation of ideas, only repeats ideas, or the ideas lack relevance. Organization is minimal. The response lacks an introduction and conclusion, and does not demonstrate any understanding of paragraphing. If transitions appear, their use is not controlled. Language control is minimal. Word choice and sentence structure are simple. Severe errors in sentence construction, pronoun use, verb forms, and/or spelling are present, and they frequently interfere with understanding.

2 Score = 2 One way the shcool district could reduce the budget for schools is having more students in the classes at once. When I was in school a lot of my classes did not have many students in them. If more students were in a class at the same time there could be less classrooms using electricity at once and would cut that cost a little. Also if the computers could be shut down instead of just logging off, might work a little too. Changing the light bulbs to florescent light bulbs if they are not already, would also save the school some money. For extracurricular activities students could pay for some of the equipment they are going to be using. They could also find people or companies that will be willing to donate time or money to make these activities possible. Making fundraisers for their team or club would bring in more money so they could be continue having a good time and staying out of trouble. Essays at this score point show minimal skill in responding to the task. The response demonstrates minimal development. It provides a few ideas but explanation is seriously limited or superficial and parts of the explanation may be repetitions or lack relevance. Organization is weak. There is minimal evidence of an introduction and/or conclusion. Some related ideas are grouped together though paragraphing may not be used. If transitions appear, their use is not controlled. Beginning skill in language is demonstrated. Word choice is awkward and/or repetitive. The response has repetitive sentence structure and/or long, uncontrolled sentences. Serious errors in sentence construction, pronoun use, verb forms, and/or spelling interrupt the flow of communication, and some errors may interfere with understanding.

3 Score = 3 Ways schools can cut costs without sacrificing educations include using computers more than buying more books. The library at my school has stopped getting very many new books because they already have so many and books are online. Schools can cut down costs by not buying new equipment for sports such as football, basketball, and baseball. Schools that do need new equipment for sports can take donations from the public. That way the money that the schools would normally use for sports would go towards furthering the education of the students. Schools can also reduce the extra spending on lunches. Schools can make lunch simpler and have less options. Schools also through food away if students cant afford it so that is a waste of food. Schools can reduce the cost of buying new books also instead of buying new books schools can use the internet. They can use plenty of other ways of finding information like encyclopedias which will last longer than the normal text book because kids do not take them home and inflict damage on the books. Schools can also reduce the hiring of teachers by doubling up the teachers they have. If the teachers they have taught more than one subject then that would reduce the use of hiring more teachers which would reduce the use of extra money. Essays at this score point show limited skill in responding to the task. The response demonstrates limited skill in developing ideas. It maintains focus on a central idea through some of the response. The response provides several ideas with limited or uneven explanation, offering few or only general examples and/or details to support ideas. Organization demonstrates some developing skill. The response has an introduction and conclusion, though one or both of these may be over- or under-developed. Ideas are grouped together in paragraphs, though the relationship among ideas may at times be unclear. The response uses a few transitions between and/or within paragraphs to support coherence. Some developing skill in language is demonstrated. Word choice is general and the response demonstrates a little variety in sentence structure, although a few long, uncontrolled sentences may be used. Errors in sentence construction, pronoun use, verb forms, and/or spelling are present and may occasionally interfere with understanding.

4 Score = 4 There are many ways that my school could cut costs without interfering with student learning. My school could stop using as much paper products, cut some outside speakers, and try to reduce the amount of energy we are using in school. First, reducing the amount of paper products my school uses on a regular basis could drastically cut our budget. Everyday I see many teachers and students wasting paper products that cost the school money. By reducing the amount of papers products we use the school will not have to worry about spending money to replace what we use. Second, by eliminating some of the outside speakers that we host at my school we could reduce our budget. Each year my school spends enourmous amounts of money by hosting outside speakers in our school. Outside speakers are a fun and entertaining experience at my school but many of them talk about the same issues. I believe that if we limited the amount of outside speakers we had at my school, and if we let the various groups and clubs we have at my school who focus on the same issues do a similar presentation, we could save money. Finally, by cutting down on the amount of energy we use at my school we could save countless dollars. By doing simple things like turning off lights of empty classrooms, turning off computers when they are not being used, and replacing old machines with new energy efficent ones we could save money at our school. In conclusion, by reducing the amount of paper products used at my school, eliminating some useless outside speakers, and cutting down on the amount of energy we consume my school would be able to survive during these harsh economic times without hurting the quality of education at my school. Essays at this score point show adequate skill in responding to the task. The response demonstrates adequate skill in developing ideas. It maintains focus on a central idea though there may be a few minor lapses. The response provides several ideas with adequate explanation, offering some specific and relevant examples and/or details to support ideas. The response demonstrates adequate skill in organization, with a clear introduction and conclusion that are somewhat developed. The response uses appropriate paragraphing and demonstrates some evidence of logical sequencing of ideas. Transitions are consistently used between and/or within paragraphs, though the transitions may be simple. Adequate skill in language use is demonstrated. Mostly specific and somewhat varied word choice is used. The response demonstrates control of sentences with some variety in length and structure. Voice is usually appropriate for audience and purpose. Some errors in sentence construction, pronoun use, verb forms, and/or spelling are present but do not interfere with understanding.

5 Score = 5 With the current economic crisis at hand, many towns and cities are having difficulty making ends meet. Because of this, these towns are being forced to find ways to cut costs for public services such as education. Education is one area where money is certainly necessary, but too much money is often spent on needless things. There are several ways in which money can be conserved in the education area of public service. It would amaze people to know just how much money is spent on paper in a school district in one year. I do not know the exact dollar amount, but I can assure you that paper is pricey. In many classrooms, students are given handouts with information that they already know. Not every student needs a copy of the classroom s grading scale. Papers such as grading scales could be hung somewhere in the teacher s room where students could easily read them. Longer documents such as project explanations or notes could be shown to students via projector or website. Many teachers in my own school have their own websites where students can access notes, assignments, and countless other study tools. Projectors may sound like an expensive investment for a school, but they are extremly worth the cost in the long run. Projectors allow teachers to show students videos, powerpoints, word documents, and websites. If every teacher could make their class as paperless as possible, it would be amazing to see the amount of money saved on paper costs. Another item that carries quite a cost is supplying athletic teams. Every year, our sports teams receive new equipment and uniforms. Of course, the sport that receives the money for their respective equipment is always changing. For example, the basketball team will not get new uniforms two years in a row. However, some teams receive far more than other teams. The track team is always getting new sweatshirts, sweatpants, and uniforms. When looking at the school s spring budget, nearly all of the athletic money goes to the girl s track team. If certain athletic teams, such as girl s track, were willing to go more than one year with their track sweats, a large amount of money could be saved. This method is applicable in various other situations. The soccer teams do not need new balls every year. The volleyball team does not need new nets every year. If money was not wasted on new athletic equipment each year, this money could be focused on more important areas. All in all, there are several things that can be done to cut budget costs in school districts. First, we must look at where the most money is going and ask if overspending is occuring. Next, we must look at the little things. These costs may seem minute and unimportant, but they are the costs that truly matter the most. If a few dollars could be saved on small things such as paper and other supplies, the effect would be outstanding. Cutting budget costs is not impossible. If we all pitch in a little, a huge difference could be made! Essays at this score point show competent skill in responding to the task. The response demonstrates competent skill in developing ideas. It maintains focus on a clear central idea throughout the response. The response provides several ideas with complete explanation, offering specific, relevant, and somewhat elaborated reasons, examples, and/or details to support ideas. The response demonstrates some critical thinking by introducing and addressing complications of the issue and/or addressing counterarguments. The response demonstrates competent skill in organization. The introduction and conclusion are clear and generally well-developed, and the introduction clearly sets up the rest of the response. Clear and appropriate paragraphing is used, with logical sequencing of ideas through most of the response. Varied transitions are used between and within paragraphs to support coherence. The response demonstrates competent skill in language. Word choice is usually precise and varied. The response uses well-controlled sentences that are varied in length and complexity. Voice is appropriate for audience and purpose. There are few grammar, usage, or mechanics errors and most are superficial.

6 Score = 6 The problem of school districts using too much money in their budgets is a concern because it uses up too much of the state s legal budget. There are many steps that could be taken to combat this problem without significantly impacting education. Most of the money that is wasted is for unnecessary things that are only for looks or unnecessary building projects. There are simple steps that can be taken to solve this problem. In my school district we use up vast amounts of money unnecessarily. For example; a new middle school was just constructed at a cost of over 15 million dollars. The situation could have been averted by adding a new wing to the existing middle school for approximately a million dollars. Another prime example is the astroturf that will be installed on our football field in place of the grass that has worked well for fifty years. The grass should be kept in place. Schools also buy new expensive laptop computers; while these may be nice, they are not necessary because using desktop PCs would be much more cost effective. Small school districts use up more money than larger consolidated school districts per student. The majority of the state consists of small towns and farmland. As a result there are many small schools and independent districts that are not cost effective. Consolidating the smaller schools into midsize schools would save the state a large amount of money. The only trade off is that there will be a higher cost for transportation, but if the routes are made more efficient then the problem could be minimized. Switching schools to a four day week with longer days would be advantageous because of lower costs of transportation. The buses would only have to run their route four times instead of five per week. Fuel costs could be cut by 20% according to mathematics. The lights would also have to run less because of less time with people in the building. Heating and cooling costs could be reduced because there would be less days with the building inhabited. Teachers would have a work day at the end of the week for meetings and prep time that they need, it wouldn t have to be done in the mornings. Steps could be taken to help alleviate the problem of schools being over budget and spending too much money. If the steps listed above were taken, the state could save millions of dollars every year for education that could be spent on other projects such as roads and public projects. Essays at this score point show proficient skill in responding to the task. The response demonstrates proficient skill in developing ideas. It maintains focus on a clear central idea throughout the response. The response provides several ideas with effective and thorough explanation, offering relevant and fully elaborated reasons, examples, and/or details to support ideas. The response demonstrates strong critical thinking and insight by discussing complications of the issue and/or successfully addressing counterarguments. The response demonstrates proficient skill in organization. It has an effective, well-developed introduction and conclusion, with an engaging introduction that clearly sets up the rest of the response. Clear and appropriate paragraphing is used, creating a coherent whole. Logical sequencing of ideas is demonstrated throughout the response. Effective transitions are used throughout response to support coherence. The response demonstrates proficient skill in language. Word choice is precise, varied, and engaging. The response effectively varies sentence length and complexity. Voice is appropriate for audience and purpose, and enhances the effectiveness of the response. No errors or only a few superficial errors appear, and the response demonstrates sophisticated use of grammar, usage, and mechanics. Copyright 2015 by Educational Testing Service. All rights reserved. ETS, the ETS logo, LISTENING. LEARNING. LEADING. and HISET are registered trademarks of Educational Testing Service (ETS)

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