Board Question and Paragraph Scoring Guide

A clear, well-focused topic sentence is the first sentence and states the upcoming content using
key words from the prompt to point the writer and the reader in the right direction.  It is the controlling
 idea of the paragraph and all sentences target this sentence’s idea creating unity.

Uses precise and vivid language. Precise happens when the writer tells exactly what is meant—no
 Don’t use thing or stuff or other general nouns or generic references to a “car” when it was a red 2010
 Mustang, and no “walking slowly” or “running quickly’ when he was really plodding or sprinting. 

Uses imagery (info for the five senses) through descriptive adjectives.  Add a descriptive adjective to
every person, place or thing you mention.

Figurative language (similes, metaphors, hyperboles, personifications, oxymorons, etc.) to enhance
 understanding and description by making people, places, actions, etc. come to life.

Specific and relevant details in a logical order
•    In description, these are details that make people and place come alive.
•    In narration, these present the story’s events.  (Description is used as well.)
•    In exposition or writing that explains, these are examples, illustrations, explanations, sequential steps,
cause/effect relationships, etc. 
•    In persuasion, reasons, illustrations, and examples prove the writer’s point, and some tear down the
opposition in a very rational, unemotional way.)

A variety of sentence structures—simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex

Sentence styles for variation–not those simple, subject-first sentences.  Consult the style packets.  Place
the style number in square brackets, [  ], at the beginning of the style sentence.  Mandatory style(s): 


Transitions between ideas.  For example, furthermore, likewise, however, consequently, additionally, etc.

Repeated key words, their synonyms, and parallelism serve as cohesive devices. 
Parallelism is establishing a pattern and following it in items in a series, joined clauses, etc.

Shows complexity (beyond simple, basic ideas), freshness of thought (a new spin on old ideas and
no clichés—overused phrases), and individual perspective (how you see the topic—usually happens

A clincher sentence uses key words from the prompt to state the main point one more time in a fresh
way and gives the paragraph a finished feeling.


Capitalization, punctuation, and other standard usage errors: especially no you’s unless letter writing!
The writing matches its purpose and its audience.
MLA formatting for this page-long assignment.  MLA documentation for cited sources.
Total Points              (Staple your paragraph on top and this sheet on the bottom.)
Score on 10 scale 
95-100=10    90-94=9   80-89=8    70-79=7   60-69=6