Study Guide

Field 174: OGET 
Sample Writing Assignment

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Test Directions for the Writing Assignment

Section Two of the test consists of a writing assignment. You are asked to prepare a written response of approximately 300–600 words. You should use your time to plan, write, review, and revise what you have written for the assignment.

Your written response is limited to 1,000 words. Use the word count feature in the lower left-hand corner of the answer box to monitor the length of your response. If your essay reaches the word limit, a pop-up warning window will appear. You may return to the answer box to edit your response, however your essay cannot exceed 1,000 words.

Please read the directions to the assignment and respond as directed.

Read the assignment carefully before you begin to write. Think about how you will organize what you plan to write.

Your written response will be scored on the basis of how effectively it communicates a whole message to the specified audience for the stated purpose. You will be assessed on your ability to express, organize, and support opinions and ideas rather than on the position you express. Pay particular attention to the seven characteristics listed below when preparing your writing sample. These seven characteristics will be used as the basis for scoring your writing sample.

The final version of your written response should conform to the standards of edited English. Your response should be your original work, written in your own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work.

Be sure to write about the assigned topic and use multiple paragraphs. You may not use any reference materials. Remember to review what you have written and make any changes that you think will improve your written response before completing the writing assignment.

Sample Writing Assignment

subarea roman numeral 4 
Applied Writing Skills

 start bold Read the question and information below; then follow the instructions for writing your essay. end bold 

 start bold Should social media companies restrict access to their platforms for children under the age of 18? end bold 

Proponents of restricting children's access to social media argue that without limitations, children will use social media excessively, consuming time that is critically needed for learning and play. Unrestricted use of social media can also expose children to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and even threats online. In addition, social media may affect children's cognitive development in unknown ways, perhaps contributing to the increase in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses. Opponents of restricting children's access to social media argue that social media platforms are powerful tools for communicating and sharing information, to which children should have access. Social media can also allow children to strengthen connections with friends, family, and even with children in other parts of the world with whom they might not otherwise interact. Used appropriately, social media can further children's education, for example, by allowing them to engage with a variety of cultures and ideas.

Write an essay, to be read by a classroom instructor, in which you take a position on whether or not social media companies should restrict access to their platforms for children under the age of 18. Be sure to state your position clearly and support it with logical and well-organized arguments and appropriate examples.

Sample Strong Response to the Writing Assignment

The risks social networking sites hold for children are well-documented. Reports about inappropriate contacts, cyberbullying, and other dangers to children abound. While such reports are certainly troubling, and while this addicting and pervasive medium can have unhealthy psychological ramifications for our youth, fear alone should not serve as the sole factor in deciding how to best deal with children's social media access. To ban, or even restrict, accessibility willfully denies the positive aspects social media provides for children.

This essay argues against restricting access for three essential reasons. First, social media allows children to sustain friendships with people outside of their local communities. Second, children are able to discover cultures, ideas, and communities that would otherwise be inaccessible. Finally, we should teach—not dogmatically enforce—healthy ways to use social networking sites.

Through social media, children can maintain relationships beyond the local community or face-to-face interaction. While I was growing up, social media was essential for my emotional wellbeing. For example, my immediate family and I moved across the country away from my friends and close relatives when I was fourteen years old. I was bullied at my new school and every day I couldn't wait to race home and log on to my cousins' social media pages. Every evening, and long into the night, we would spend multiple hours commenting on and posting whatever struck our fancy—a blog we liked, a photo we had taken, or a video we found online. Rather than driven by addiction or obsessive compulsion, my social media use provided me with a community beyond the extremely alienating one I had to deal with in my every day, face-to-face, reality. With social networking, I was able to create an alternative world.

Social networking sites can be both comforting and empowering. Via social media, children can learn about different ideas, cultures, and communities beyond what sometimes can be the overbearing presence of their parents. For children or adolescents living in difficult circumstances, these sites may be deeply inspiring during a difficult time or experience in life. For example, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Malala Yousafzai, uses social media to spread awareness of the difficulties girls and young women face acquiring an education. Her  hashtag  stronger than campaign was started in 2014 in order to encourage female students struggling to overcome fear and oppression. Discovering a social media campaign like this can serve as a source of hope during times of darkness. Given this example, the risks of denying children access to social media seem ironically more profound than the ones articulated by proponents of restricting children's social media use.

Since social networking sites allow children access to global cultures and diverse viewpoints, this relatively new medium should be seen as an important educational resource. However, we do need to teach our children critical thinking skills and analytical tools so that they can productively engage within this virtual realm. Social media education should become a central feature of twenty-first century curriculum. Education will help mitigate the severity of social media's potentially harmful effects.

Rather than ban social media from our children's purview, we must recognize that social networking has become an undeniable reality of today's technologically interconnected world. In giving children access—but in teaching children how to critically use and analyze these sites—we grant our children agency, thereby empowering our youth. Given the advantages of accessibility highlighted in this essay, social media use should not be restricted for children.

Rationale for the Sample Strong Response

Please note that the response is evaluated based upon the seven performance characteristics of Appropriateness, Unity and Focus, Development, Organization, Sentence Structure, Usage, and Mechanical Conventions. Please also note how the score point descriptions are based upon how the examinee attends to the performance characteristics. You should be very familiar with the CEOE OGET performance characteristics and score scale and refer to them when reviewing this rationale.

 start bold Appropriateness end bold  
The writer has created a response in appropriate essay form, addresses the topic throughout, and uses language appropriate to the given audience, purpose, and occasion.

 start bold Unity and Focus end bold  
The writer clearly establishes a position and maintains focus on that position throughout the response.

 start bold Development end bold  
The writer's supporting details are specific and persuasive. The personal anecdote in paragraph three and the example of the social media campaign for young women in paragraph four illustrate sustained development and clarity of the supporting details. That said, the response is composed of different types of support. Paragraph five, for example, develops ideas through explanation rather than specific detail. Although the writer does not thoroughly engage a counter-argument, the writer acknowledges the opposing argument in the introduction and the end of the fourth paragraph.

 start bold Organization end bold  
The writer demonstrates control over the presentation of the argument, following the order clearly stated in the second paragraph. Although certain ideas within body paragraphs, especially in paragraph four, may not strictly reflect the content listed in paragraph two, clarity of meaning is maintained and ideas are sequenced effectively from paragraph to paragraph and within paragraphs as well.

 start bold Sentence Structure end bold  
Sentence structure is effective, varied, and largely error-free. The essay exhibits appropriate complexity of sentence structures, including useful transition indicators.

 start bold Usage end bold  
Usage is mostly careful and precise. However, there are some minor errors in usage. For example, in the third paragraph, the writer states, "Rather than driven by addiction," which should be correctly stated as, "Rather than being driven by addiction."

 start bold Mechanical Conventions end bold  
The writer is clearly in control of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

Sample Weak Response to the Writing Assignment

Some people feel that access to social media platforms should be restricted for children under the age of 18 for several reasons. I on the otherhand do not believe these people should be restricted and also I do not think they can. Also even children need to communicate with friends and families and they are educational.

To begin, social media companies can not keep children off them because they do not have anyway to know who is on them. The reason being, children and every one can type in any name they want and any age they want. Companies can not check every person that sign up, they cannot for example ask for finger prints and birth proof. Parents can not keep them from sign up because they will not know always what children are doing even at home let alone a friends house. So the first reason is that no one can stop them from signing up.

Even children need communicating with their friends and family because every thing change so fast now and even children expected to keep up. And every one sends private message to tell every one details for study groups and for coffee meet-ups. The strengthen connection with friends and family are very important for every ones social and emotional health.

And last of all, educational social media platforms. Social media has every thing. You can learn, to name just two that I learned, how a snake grows a new skin and what the planets solar system look like, and even teachers give home work to watch some thing and talk about it in class the next day. Even people who are not in school any more use social media platforms learn about new books or what a senator might say such as my father does all the time. So many people would not know so much if they can not be on social media companies.

Rationale for the Sample Weak Response

Please note the response is evaluated based upon the seven performance characteristics of Appropriateness, Unity and Focus, Development, Organization, Sentence Structure, Usage, and Mechanical Conventions. Please also note that the score point descriptions are based upon how the examinee attends to the performance characteristics. You should be very familiar with the CEOE OGET performance characteristics and score scale and refer to them when reviewing this rationale.

 start bold Appropriateness end bold  
The writer states a position on the topic and generally adheres to it throughout the essay. The attempt to use language and style appropriate to the given audience, purpose, and occasion is evident.

 start bold Unity and Focus end bold  
The writer states a position in the first paragraph and generally remains focused on that position throughout.

 start bold Development end bold  
Development is partial. The third paragraph is particularly weak. The meaning of "sends private messages" is unclear, and no detail or discussion is provided. The idea that the use of social media "is important for every ones social and emotional health" is introduced at the end of the paragraph but is not further addressed and is not shown as clearly relevant in this paragraph. Minimal development in this and other body paragraphs contributes to the list-like nature of the presentation of ideas rather than an attempt at in-depth discussion at any point.

 start bold Organization end bold  
The writer adheres to the sequence of ideas that was introduced in the first paragraph and the paragraphs are, therefore, logically sequenced. However, the ideas within paragraphs lack clarity because of the minimal development as well as serious problems in the sentence-level writing. An example of lack of clarity occurs in the fourth paragraph: "You can learn, to name just two that I learned, how a snake grows a new skin and what the planets solar system look like, and even teachers that give home work…".

 start bold Sentence Structure end bold  
Sentences are poorly structured and contain errors in basic syntax and grammar. Subject-verb agreement is a problem throughout ("every thing change so fast," "connection with friends and family are very important"). The response contains both fragments ("The reason being, children and every one…," "And last of all, educational social media platforms") and run-on sentences ("Companies can not check every person that sign up, they cannot for example ask for finger prints and birth proof.").

 start bold Usage end bold  
The response exhibits errors in basic verb formation ("even children expected to keep up") and word choice, such as "every one" rather than "everyone" and "anyway" rather than "any way". These errors, as well as missing words ("use social media platforms learn") and imprecise word choice throughout, repeatedly interfere with meaning.

 start bold Mechanical Conventions end bold  
Although the response has punctuation errors such as failing to use apostrophes ("friends house", "planets solar system") and minor errors in spelling ("otherhand"), generally mechanical convention problems do not contribute seriously to lack of clarity.

OGET Performance Characteristics

The following characteristics guide the scoring of responses to the writing assignment.

Characteristics that guide the scoring of responses
Appropriateness The extent to which the candidate addresses the topic and uses language and style appropriate to the given audience, purpose, and occasion.
Unity and Focus The clarity with which the candidate states and maintains his/her main idea or point of view.
Development The amount, depth, and specificity of supporting details presented by the candidate.
Organization The clarity of the candidate's writing and the logical sequence of his/her ideas.
Sentence Structure The effectiveness of the candidate's sentence structure and the extent to which the candidate's writing is free of errors in sentence structure.
Usage The extent to which the candidate's writing is free of errors in usage and shows care and precision in word choice.
Mechanical Conventions The candidate's ability to spell common words and to use the conventions of capitalization and punctuation.

OGET Scoring Scale

Scores will be assigned to each response to the writing assignment according to the following scoring scale.

Score Scale with description for each score point.
Score Point Score Point Description
4  start bold The "4" response is a well-formed writing sample that effectively communicates a whole message to a specified audience. end bold 

The writer maintains unity of a developed topic throughout the writing sample and establishes a focus by clearly stating a purpose. The writer exhibits control in the development of ideas and clearly specifies supporting detail. Sentence structure is effective and free of errors. Choice of words is precise and usage is careful. The writer shows mastery of mechanical conventions such as spelling and punctuation.

3  start bold The "3" response is an adequately formed writing sample that attempts to communicate a message to a specified audience. end bold 

The focus and the purpose of the writing sample may be clear; however, the writer's attempts to develop supporting details may not be fully realized. The writer's organization of ideas may be ambiguous, incomplete, or partially ineffective. Sentence structure within paragraphs is adequate, but minor errors in sentence structure, usage, and word choice are evident. There may also be errors in the use of mechanical conventions such as spelling and punctuation.

2  start bold The "2" response is a partially developed writing sample in which the characteristics of effective written communication are only partially formed. end bold 

The statement of purpose is not clear, and, although a main idea or topic may be announced, focus on the main idea is not sustained. Ideas may be developed by the use of specific supporting detail, and the writer may make an effort to organize and sequence ideas, but development and organization are largely incomplete or unclear. Paragraphs contain poorly structured sentences with noticeable and distracting errors. The writer exhibits imprecision in usage and word choice and a lack of control of mechanical conventions such as spelling and punctuation.

1  start bold The "1" response is an inadequately formed writing sample that fails to communicate a complete message. end bold 

The writer attempts to address the topic, but language and style may be inappropriate for the given audience, purpose, and/or occasion. There is often no clear statement of a main idea, and the writer's efforts to present supporting detail are confused. There is little or no organization or effective sequence of ideas. Sentence structure is ineffective, and few sentences are free of errors. Usage and word choice are imprecise. The writer makes many errors in the use of mechanical conventions such as spelling and punctuation.

U The response is unscorable because it is illegible, not written to the assigned topic, written in a language other than English, or lacking a sufficient amount of original work to score.
B The written response form is blank.