creative writing assessment examples

English teachers often default to essays, quizzes and tests as assessments. Figuring out creative ways to assess beyond this can be challenging. So, I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite blogging friends (see who below) to come up with creative ways to assess students’ skills as readers, writers, speakers and listeners!

This article would not be possible without the innovative ideas of these amazing teacher bloggers. Be sure to click over to their websites because they have so many brilliant, time saving ideas to offer teachers…

Reading Assessment

Google keep.

Assessing annotation while reading is tricky.  The logistics are frustrating – do we have to keep collecting their books to check?  What about if kids can’t write in their books? What should kids be looking for? In a blog post, Amanda from Mud and Ink Teaching shares how she has started using Google Keep to track and assess student annotations while reading whole class novels .  With just a small digital adjustment and the help of Google Classroom, Google Keep annotations could be an assessment lifesaver for your classroom.

creative writing assessment examples


One important goal all ELA teachers should share is to be able to assess a student’s comprehension of a text without making him or her hate reading. Melissa from Reading and Writing Haven wrote a blog post detailing some of her favorite strategies that make assessment enjoyable while also building teacher-student relationships and improving reading culture in the classroom. The biggest secret is that of allowing valuable conversations and abstract thinking to replace tedious and often punitive multiple choice tests and quizzes.


Students in middle and high school should have opportunities to self-assess their reading independence. One way to support them in this important real-world skill is to have students track how long they can read before getting distracted or bored. It’s important to normalize the experience of getting bored or distractied while reading and explain that many people find reading challenging for numerous reasons. After students feel comfortable admitting they may dislike reading or find it challenging to focus their attention on it, provide students opportunities to test their stamina. Set a timer for 30 minutes and have students write down how long they read, within the 30 minute time frame, before getting distracted or bored. Have students write their time down and set goals to reach higher stamina levels.

Innovative Projects

As schools are trending toward a more standard-based curriculum, standard-aligned assessments are more important than ever before. Though this may seem like a challenge, it actually creates more autonomy for teachers and students alike. One way Ashely Bible from Building Book love likes to disguise assessing student’s inferencing and evidence-providing ability is by assigning a innovative projects like a   tiny house character design project or this free culinary symbolism project . Students will infer and use evidence just as much as a written assessment, but will have a lot more fun doing so!

Writing Assessment

Pre-assessment rubrics.

Writing pre-assessments are valuable because they  allow teachers to see common themes across the class. Is everyone struggling with transitions? Maybe, overall, students aren’t sure how to write an effective hook or thesis statement. Pre-assessments can reveal those needs. Also, they can begin our goal-setting conversations. It’s important to differentiate writing unit to meet students’ needs, and goal setting with individual students can be a way to we frame those conversations, initiated by a pre-assessment. It’s rewarding for a student to reflect on their growth from the beginning of a writing unit to the end. Here are the goal-setting forms and pre-assessment rubrics Reading and Writing Haven uses.


Conferencing is the best way to assess and provide feedback while in the middle of a unit. But how do you go about conferencing with 125+students?!?! It can be incredibly helpful to teach students how to conference with each other to take the work load off of you and put some of the assessment work on their shoulders. This video can help…

Another question teachers have about conferring is: how do I decide what to help each student with? The best way to assess a student during a conference is by asking, “how can I help you?”, and if a student can’t answer that question, the next step would be to read a small portion of their writing to get a sense of one major skill they could most use support with. Keep it simple! This article from WeAreTeachers discusses using notecards to assess students’ skills and plan conferences.

The Single-Point Rubric

The singe-point rubric is the wave of the future! If you have no idea what a single-point rubric is, here is a simple definition for you:

A single-point rubric lists the skills you want students to master with room for commenting if students have not yet mastered the skills, or exceeded mastery.

creative writing assessment examples

So, you are probably wondering how exactly to assign points using a single point rubric, right? It depends on your needs. When a student exhibits the skills in the middle column it is considered mastery or standard met.

This could mean an A in your school/district but it could also mean a B too. It all really depends on your preference. You can make each skill in the middle column worth 1 point or 10. You could make the “ways to improve” column worth a little less and the “advanced” column worth a little more. Again, it is really up to you! Check out this awesome resource with many editable assessment tools…

Fast and Focused Feedback

As for assessing grammar knowledge, Ashley Bible from Building Book Love has implemented a system that tests students on their individual grammar issues. Once she marks a grammar issue in their writing, they watch a mini lesson and take a quiz to assess their new understanding. You can read all about this system here: Fast and Focused Feedback . Check out this amazing video about how to make your feedback fast and focused…

Listening & Speaking Assessment

Goal setting cards.

Use goal setting cards with public speaking students. To assess public speaking, ask students to choose where they would like to improve. Assess students on their growth toward their goal. Find goal sheets and other public speaking activities on the Language Arts Classroom blog here .

Student-Led Discussions

If you’re tired of multiple choice and essay questions and searching for a more meaningful way to assess students’ understanding of your next novel, try a Socratic Seminar.  Essentially, it is a student-led discussion over a text or big idea. Instead of you facilitating the discussion by asking questions, students take charge of their own learning in this activity by creating and asking the questions. A Socratic Seminar is truly a student-centered and social approach to learning. For you, this means it is less prep work. It’s one of those lessons that teaches itself. You literally can sit back, relax, and watch the magic happen. If you’d like more information on facilitating your own seminar, check out this blog post. For ready-to-print resources, rubrics, instructions, and more, check out this bundle that works for any text.

creative writing assessment examples

Mock Trials

A mock trial is another effective, engaging way to assess literary analysis. In addition to this skill, students will also demonstrate close reading, citing strong and thorough textual evidence, analyzing evidence, persuasion and argument skills, debate, writing, and speaking/listening. It is more than a lesson; it is a learning experience that engages every single student. For more guidance on using a mock trial as an end-of-unit assessment, check out this blog post by Write On With Miss G. If you need some help structuring your mock trial or want to save yourself some time creating everything, then this mock trial bundle that works any text may help.

Assessing listening skills can be a bit tricky. But one way to integrate the listening standards into your classroom is through podcasts. Ashley Bible from Building Book Love has an engaging unit using the Serial Podcast Season 1 to build students’ ability to listen, discuss and respond to a very engaging podcast for grown ups and high schoolers alike. Ashley includes ways to assess students’ listening skills in this unit too!

Assessments can be more than just quizzes, end of unit essays and tests! Hopefully this article has motivated you to try a new method of assessment that is engaging and maybe even excites you! Teachers getting excited about assessment and not dreading it, now that is something to strive for, don’t you think?

What creative assessment ideas do you use in your classroom? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

creative writing assessment examples


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Creative Writing Example Rubric

Rubric is a modification of one presented by: University Community Links (n.d.). Hot writing rubric. Retrieved August 19, 2008 from

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young red-headed boy outside writing in a notebook

Writing Assessment

An introduction to 6 + 1 Trait® Writing, customized rubrics, student self-assessment, and peer editing.

There are several ways to assess writing. The most common method is to use some sort of rubric. Items on the rubric range from state-mandated writing standards to individual items specific to an assignment. Other forms of writing assessment use checklists or rating scales.

A teacher isn’t the only one who can assess a writing sample. Students can assess their own writing by working in pairs or small groups. Small groups of students can meet and conference about one piece or each student can bring a piece to exchange and have reviewed.

As with any good assessment, the purpose should drive the procedure.

6 + 1 Trait® Writing

Developed by Education Northwest, the 6 + 1 Trait® Writing Model of Instruction and Assessment is based on common characteristics of good writing. The model uses common language and scoring guides to identify what “good” writing looks like. The 6+1 traits within the model are: ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency , conventions, and presentation. For each trait, there’s a scale with descriptors for scoring. Much more information about 6+1 Trait® Writing can be found within Education Northwest’s site, including information about the Beginning Writer’s continuum (BWC) which can be used with K-2 students. 6+1 Trait® Writing › (opens in a new window)

Create your own rubric

There are several sites that enable you to create your own rubric for assessing writing samples. Project Based Learning has a ‘Create a Printable Checklist’ feature that is easy to use. Within a particular category (example: Conventions) one can choose items within conventions to include on the rubric (example: I leave white spaces between my words. My sentences begin in different ways.) Create a printable checklist › (opens in a new window)

Student self-assessment of writing

Many teachers ask students to read over what they’ve written before it’s considered finished. It’s often helpful to provide students with a basic checklist to use as they review their work. This student checklist is based on the 6-Trait writing. The items are written using kid-friendly terms. Download student checklist (PDF) › Download student checklist “Post-It” template (PDF) ›

Peer editing

Students can work together in pairs or small groups during the editing and revising stages of the writing process. This peer editing can help students learn about parts of their writing that was unclear, discover which parts an audience found exciting, and get some suggestions for other things to add. ReadWriteThink offers a series of lessons that teach students how to peer edit using three steps: compliments, suggestions, and corrections. Peer editing lesson plan › (opens in a new window)

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Writing Assessments

creative writing assessment examples

Writing Assessment

When you want students to understand how writing is graded, turn to our vast selection of assessment examples. You'll find elementary and middle school models in all of the major modes of writing, along with rubrics that assess each example as "Strong," "Good," "Okay," or "Poor." You can also download blank rubrics to use with your own students.

Discover more writing assessment tools for Grade 2 , Grade 3 , Grades 4-5 , Grades 6-8 , Grades 9-10 , and Grades 11-12 —including writing on tests and responding to prompts.

Jump to . . .

  • Grades 9-10
  • Grades 11-12

Persuasive Writing

  • Get a Dog Persuasive Paragraph Strong Please Be Kind Persuasive Paragraph Good Let Me stay up with Shane Persuasive Paragraph Okay We need Bedder Chips Persuasive Paragraph Poor

Narrative Writing

  • The Horrible Day Personal Narrative Strong Keeping the Dressing Personal Narrative Good Friday Personal Narrative Okay Dee Dees hose Personal Narrative Poor

Response to Literature

  • Julius the Baby of the World Book Review Strong One Great Book Book Review Good Dear Mr. Marc Brown Book Review Okay Snowflake Bentley Book Review Poor

Explanatory Writing

  • 4th of July Traditions Explanatory Essay Strong Happy Halloween Explanatory Essay Good Turkey Day Explanatory Essay Okay Forth of July Explanatory Essay Poor
  • Mildew Houses Description Strong Grandpa's Face Description Good A Cool Restrant Description Okay Hot Dogs Description Poor
  • How to Bake a Cake How-To Strong Make a Blow-Up Box How-To Good How to Feed a Dog How-To Okay A Kite How-To Poor
  • Recycling Jars and Cans How-To Strong Getting to the Park How-To Good Planting a Garden How-To Okay How to Pull a tooth How-To Poor
  • Zev's Deli Description Strong Our Horses Description Good My Favorit Lake Description Okay The Zoo Description Poor
  • Thunderstorm! Narrative Paragraph Strong My Trip to the Zoo Narrative Paragraph Good My Lost Puppy Narrative Paragraph Okay My Trip Narrative Paragraph Poor
  • The Sled Run Personal Narrative Strong The Funny Dance Personal Narrative Good Texas Personal Narrative Okay A Sad Day Personal Narrative Poor
  • No School Persuasive Paragraph Strong Dogs Stay Home! Persuasive Paragraph Good A New Pool Persuasive Paragraph Okay A Bigger Cafaterea Persuasive Paragraph Poor
  • New Sidewalks Persuasive Paragraph Strong Don't Burn Leaves Persuasive Paragraph Good The Ginkgo Trees Persuasive Paragraph Okay Turn Your Lights Off Persuasive Paragraph Poor
  • Talent Show and Tell Persuasive Essay Strong Art Every Day Persuasive Essay Good More Recess, Please Persuasive Essay Okay Let Us Eat Persuasive Essay Poor
  • Help Save Our Manatees Persuasive Essay Strong A Fictional Letter to President Lincoln Persuasive Essay Good Endangered Animals Persuasive Essay Okay Why Smog Is Bad Persuasive Essay Poor
  • Food from the Ocean Explanatory Essay Strong How to Make a S’More Explanatory Essay Good The Person I Want to Be Explanatory Essay Okay Sleepover Explanatory Essay Poor
  • Something You Can Sink Your Teeth Into Explanatory Essay Strong Bathing a Puppy Explanatory Essay Good Trading Places Explanatory Essay Okay Fluffy Explanatory Essay Poor
  • When I Got Burned on Dad’s Motorcycle Personal Narrative Strong My First Home Run Personal Narrative Good My Worst Scrape Personal Narrative Okay The Trip to the Woods Personal Narrative Poor
  • Soggy Roads Personal Narrative Strong The Broken Statue Personal Narrative Good Space Monster Personal Narrative Okay Las Vegas Personal Narrative Poor
  • A Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World Book Review Strong A Letter of Recommendation Book Review Good Falling Up Book Review Okay The Cat Ate My Gymsuit Book Review Poor
  • The Year Mom Won the Pennant Book Review Strong A Story of Survival Book Review Good Keep Reading! Book Review Okay Homecoming Book Review Poor

Research Writing

  • The Platypus Report Strong The Click Beetle Report Good Martin Luther King, Junior’s Dream Report Okay Crickets and Grasshoppers Report Poor
  • The Snow Leopard Report Strong The Great Pyramid of Giza Report Good Koalas Report Okay Ladybugs Report Poor
  • Departure Personal Narrative Strong A January Surprise Personal Narrative Good A Day I'll Never Forget Personal Narrative Okay My Summer in Jacksonville, Florida Personal Narrative Poor
  • Puppy Personal Narrative Strong A New Friend Personal Narrative Good My Summer in Michigan Personal Narrative Okay A Horrible Day Personal Narrative Poor
  • Dear Mr. Rhys Biography Strong Turning 13 Biography Good My Resident Edith Biography Okay Police Officer Biography Poor
  • Iron Summary (Strong) Summary Strong Iron Summary (Good) Summary Good Iron Summary (Okay) Summary Okay Iron Summary (Poor) Summary Poor
  • Paper Recycling Explanatory Essay Strong Letter to France Explanatory Essay Good I Have a Dream . . . Too Explanatory Essay Okay Fire Fighter Explanatory Essay Poor
  • Mount Rushmore’s Famous Faces Explanatory Essay Strong Youth Movements in Nazi Germany Explanatory Essay Good My Personal Values Explanatory Essay Okay The Influence of Gangs in Our Community Explanatory Essay Poor
  • Malcolm X and Eleanor Roosevelt Comparison-Contrast Strong How to Make Tabouli Comparison-Contrast Good Yo-Yo’s Flood Del Mar Hills School Comparison-Contrast Okay The Gail Woodpecker Comparison-Contrast Poor
  • Railroad to Freedom Book Review Strong If I Were Anne Frank Book Review Good To Kill a Mockingbird Book Review Okay Good Brother or Bad Brother? Book Review Poor
  • The Power of Water Book Review Strong Summary Review: Arranging a Marriage Book Review Good Freaky Friday Book Review Okay No Friend of Mine Book Review Poor
  • The Aloha State Research Report Strong Tornadoes Research Report Good Earthquakes Research Report Okay The Bombing of Peal Harbor Research Report Poor
  • Wilma Mankiller: Good Times and Bad Research Report Strong Green Anaconda Research Report Good The Great Pyramid Research Report Okay Poodles Research Report Poor

Business Writing

  • Using Hydrochloric Acid (Strong) Instructions Strong Using Hydrochloric Acid (Good) Instructions Good Using Hydrochloric Acid (Okay) Instructions Okay Using Hydrochloric Acid (Poor) Instructions Poor
  • Dear Dr. Larson (Strong) Persuasive Letter Strong Dear Dr. Larson (Good) Persuasive Letter Good Dear Dr. Larson (Okay) Persuasive Letter Okay Dear Dr. Larson (Poor) Persuasive Letter Poor
  • Smoking in Restaurants Persuasive Essay Strong Letter to the Editor (Arts) Persuasive Essay Good Toilet-to-Tap Water Persuasive Essay Okay The Unperminent Hair Dye Rule Persuasive Essay Poor
  • Capital Punishment Is Wrong! Persuasive Essay Strong Letter to the Editor (Cheating) Persuasive Essay Good Letter to the Editor (Immigration) Persuasive Essay Okay Judge Not Persuasive Essay Poor
  • Revisiting Seneca Falls Research Report Strong The Importance of Cinco de Mayo Research Report Good The Meaning of Juneteenth Research Report Okay Russian Missile Problem Research Report Poor
  • Dear Ms. Holloway Business Letter Strong Dear Mr. McNulty Business Letter Good Dear Mr. Underwood Business Letter Okay Dear Mrs. Jay Business Letter Poor
  • Scout Takes Another Look Literary Analysis Strong Rocket Boys: A Memoir Literary Analysis Good A Wrinkle in Time Literary Analysis Okay Being True to Yourself: The Call of the Wild Literary Analysis Poor
  • Evening the Odds Argument Essay Strong Lack of Respect a Growing Problem Argument Essay Good The Right to Dress Argument Essay Okay Grading Students on Effort Argument Essay Poor
  • Sinking the Unsinkable Explanatory Essay Strong The Best Preventive Medicine Explanatory Essay Good The Ozone Layer Explanatory Essay Okay Measurement Explanatory Essay Poor
  • Isn't It Romantic? Definition Strong Good and Angry Definition Good Unsung Heroes Definition Okay Love Definition Poor
  • People Power Personal Narrative Strong It's a Boy Personal Narrative Good A Senior Moment Personal Narrative Okay A Big Family Wedding Personal Narrative Poor
  • Understanding Hmong Americans MLA Research Paper Strong Hmong: From Allies to Neighbors MLA Research Paper Good Welcome the Hmong to America MLA Research Paper Okay Hmong People MLA Research Paper Poor

Narrative Writing, Creative Writing

  • Putin Meddles in U.S. Casseroles Satirical News Story Strong Cabinet Secretaries Now Cabinet Office Assistants Satirical News Story Good Area Man Teaches Ways to Check for B.O. Satirical News Story Okay Global Warming Is Weather-Dependent Satirical News Story Poor
  • Poverty and Race as Predictors in the 2016 Presidential Election Statistical Analysis Strong Poverty and Race in the 2016 Election Statistical Analysis Good AP Stats Project Statistical Analysis Okay Stats Analysis Statistical Analysis Poor
  • Renewable and Carbon-Neutral Problem-Solution Strong The Ethanol Revolution Problem-Solution Good Growing Energy Problem-Solution Okay Corn for the Future Problem-Solution Poor
  • Generations of America Speech Strong Inauguration Speech of the 49th U.S. President Speech Good The Greatest Inauguration Speech Speech Okay What I Will Do for This Country Speech Poor
  • True Leadership Personal Essay Strong A Thing of Beauty Personal Essay Good How I Will Contribute to College Personal Essay Okay What Education Means Personal Essay Poor
  • Setting in Crane and O'Connor Literary Analysis Strong The Scouring of the Shire Literary Analysis Good Setting in Calvin and Hobbes Literary Analysis Okay On Golden Pond Literary Analysis Poor
  • Jane Eyre and the Perils of Sacrifice Literary Analysis Strong Mrs. Reed as a Tragic Figure Literary Analysis Good A Lack of Love Literary Analysis Okay Bad Choices, Bad Results Literary Analysis Poor

Professional Development

Assessing creative writing is hard, so here are three ways to avoid it, by aneesa davenport     oct 2, 2017.

Assessing Creative Writing Is Hard, So Here Are Three Ways To Avoid It

Image Credit: abstract / Shutterstock

This article is part of the guide: Putting It Into Words: The Future of Writing Instruction.

Everyone knows that outside of the school building, creative writing workshops aren’t graded. Whether it’s a group of retirees who cluster in the back of your corner coffee shop or the so-called Ponzi schemes of MFA programs like the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop, assessment comes in the form of peer feedback—marginalia and discussion.

But if you’re teaching creative writing in a K–12 classroom or a community college, at the end of the day you’re most likely required to stamp a letter grade—or at least a percentage score—on your students’ work. As the educators I spoke with lamented, “the product is so hard to assess.”

That’s why I’ve gathered three brilliant ways for you to get out of it.

1. Assess the assessment

Kevin Allardice is an English teacher at Mercy High School in Burlingame, CA and the author of the novels Any Resemblance to Actual Persons and Family, Genus, Species . He avoids assessing creative writing altogether by assigning his students to write critical essays about their own short stories.

He originally developed this method as a way to engage his students in academic writing about literature. Since students were excited about the stories they wrote—and presumably confident that they understood the author’s intentions—they were more inclined to deeply investigate and support their claims with textual evidence. Writing about their own work in the third person helps students differentiate between different genres and modes of writing. It also helps break down the barrier between critical and creative thinking.

Kevin grades both the explicative essay his students write about their fiction or creative nonfiction as well as the feedback they give their peers (a short response due before each workshop). In his words, “both have more explicit formal expectations,” letting him avoid making a judgment call about the art itself. “I tend to grade all the materials that surround the creative part, rather than the actual creative work,” he says.

The structure of the peer responses mirrors that of the class’s workshop discussion, enabling students to prepare for and then fully engage in the discussion. For example:

  • Describe in neutral language what the story is trying to accomplish.
  • What details help it meet that goal (citing specific passages)?
  • What specifics could be revised to help it achieve the established goal?

This format ensures the students focus on helping the story “become the story it wants to become, not deciding whether or not they like the story.” Bonus: having a specific format for written feedback makes it easier to grade, because the requirements are clear: once you determine the aims of the story, all your notes—positive or negative—must be focused on supporting that goal.

2. Assess the process

When James Wilson teaches creative writing, he grades 50 percent on process. Now an Assistant Professor of English at Diablo Valley College, a community college in Pleasant Hill, CA, he first incorporated this practice into his assessment repertoire when teaching performance to theater students—an art that is perhaps even more elusive to grading than creative writing!

Grading on process isn’t just a participation score. Participation requirements might include giving adequate feedback to classmates or engaging in class discussion, and be graded separately or as part of the student’s overall course grade.

Grading on process is much more than that. It’s all about following the trail of revisions. These are the questions James wants to get to the bottom of:

  • How invested are students in making their work better?
  • Are they engaging in every step of the revision process? Or did they just stop working on their piece at some point?
  • Are they responding to criticism from their peers and instructor, even if they don’t accept the changes?
  • How good are they at integrating feedback?

This approach is predicated on having a clear set of steps that are part of the writing process in your class. Landmarks on the writing journey must include occasions for the instructor to be a party to the work—either the student turning in a rough draft or a workshop moderated by or observed by the teacher. These steps might be:

  • Here’s what you write for a starter exercise
  • Here’s what you revise and bring in for workshop
  • Here’s how you respond to and integrate feedback
  • Here’s what you turn in as a final product

When you’re grading on process you’re also grading on persistence. A student who says their work is “perfect the first time” does not exhibit grit.

3. Make your students write the rubric

A theme that emerged in these conversations was a focus on audience, intention, and the goal of the piece of writing. Unlike most of the writing that students do—for which the teacher sets the goal—when writing creatively students get to choose what they’re trying to accomplish. Whether or not they do it well is up to the audience to decide. “Put the audience first,” says Janet Files, whether that means your teacher, your classmates, your family, or the public.

An educator of 41 years, Janet Files is a Literacy Specialist with the South Carolina Department of Education. She trains coaches who work with the state’s elementary school teachers to improve reading and writing instruction. Formerly, Janet was the Director of the Coastal Area Writing Project , a national program with regional centers known for its model of improving the teaching of writing by developing teachers’ confidence in their own writing skills.

Janet suggests assigning the class to create the rubric. Designing a rubric together intrinsically motivates students and engages them in a crucial aspect of developing them into writers: reading like a writer. That means steeping yourself in a genre, noticing what other writers are doing—or trying to do—then mimicking, stealing and making their techniques your own. These techniques become the requirements of the rubric.

Questions in a self- or class-created rubric might be:

  • I’m trying to be funny: did it make you laugh?
  • I want my writing to be engaging: at what point did you lose interest?
  • I like scary stories: how close did I come to writing like Stephen King?

Obviously, once your students have created the rubric it’s up to them to fill it out!

Some additional resources for getting started with student-generated rubrics can be found from Diane Gallucci , McKayla Stoyko , United Federation of Teachers , TeacherVision and TeachersFirst .

Use technology?

Aside from using a word processor to review student or parent comments on drafts, or Google Classroom to project student work to the class in order to offer encouragement and criticism in real time, none of the educators I spoke with currently use technology in teaching writing. So I asked them: Can you imagine an edtech product that helps you assess creative writing? What would it look like?

The answer was something more robust than Microsoft Word’s tracked changes or Google Docs’ version history, but along those lines.

Kevin said, “Last year, when my sophomores were writing analytical essays about their own creative work—citing it, et cetera—I found myself toggling back and forth between two Google Docs. I wished there were a simpler way—like, if I could read the essay on one side of my screen, have the story on the other side, and have each citation in the essay highlight the corresponding passage in the story. Just a fantasy. Maybe something like that is already out there. I don't really know enough to know.”

Likewise, James wanted a versioning tool that would keep multiple drafts of a piece together in one place, so he could track its development and see what changes the student makes. However, he said, “I feel a little creepy about this—big-brotherish.”

Janet’s idea had more to do with technology that could help students move through the peer review process, for instance by facilitating writing groups online. She envisioned a program that would ask guiding questions like: What stood out? Where did you feel tense? Where did you want to hear more?

I have an inkling some of these technologies already exist, or soon will.

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Breaking with tradition: 10 creative assessment ideas

Monica Francesca Contrino and Rocío Elizabeth Cortez Márquez suggest 10 methods for adding an imaginative twist when evaluating your students’ learning

Monica Francesca Contrino

.css-76pyzs{margin-right:0.25rem;} ,, rocío elizabeth cortez márquez.

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For years, tests, essays and other forms of writing have been the main assessment tools for evaluating whether students have achieved set learning objectives and developed necessary competencies. However, we can break away from such conservative and outdated means of assessment.

Evaluation is, without doubt, a crucial element of the teaching process, but often, as teachers, it can be easy to get stuck in an evaluation routine. Instead, students can demonstrate their learning through innovative methods that engage them in the teaching-learning process without sacrificing the effectiveness of good assessment.

Here are 10 options that can be used to give a creative twist to your class:

Video TEDTalk Students deliver the video script, which includes an introduction to the topic, proposed solution/s and personal conclusions, as well as presenting content with data supported by bibliographic sources. Students make the video and are evaluated on their stage performance and skills such as oral communication – which are essential in today’s job market regardless of the chosen career. 

  • How to design low-stakes authentic assessment that promotes academic integrity
  • Assessment and feedback as an active dialogue between tutors and students
  • How data from digital learning tools can refine teaching

Podcast In this format, students can record audio content individually or collaboratively and speak as experts on a specific topic in order to demonstrate knowledge of the subject and other transversal competencies. Anchor is a particularly useful tool for developing podcasts.

Poster gallery Students work together to create a poster on an in-class topic and share it in immersive spaces such as Virbela or Mozilla Hubs . The team exhibits their poster in front of classmates as they arrive, and they must also visit the other teams’ spaces. A closing of the virtual event is also organised, in which the teacher delivers a final message. These experiences can truly revolutionise the classic classroom presentation, adding a sense of immersion and making it feel “more real” for students.

Elevator pitch Here, a creative speech of up to three minutes at most should be developed, with students encouraged to tell a story and engage their audience via an introduction, plus presenting the problem, solution and value proposition, as well as a call to action. This activity can work particularly well with topics such as negotiations and sales.

Comic Asking students to create a comic gives them the opportunity to share knowledge acquired in the course using a different and interesting form of narrative, individually or collaboratively, while working on storytelling skills. Pixton is an application that is very useful for creating comics.

Escape room Try designing a problem-based learning game where students are immersed in a topic by being required to decipher riddles to solve a challenge, exploit their environment and find the solution to obtain a reward. Genially and Mozilla Hubs are two applications used to develop escape rooms.

Role play This is not a new evaluation idea, but by asking students to take part in a role-play activity, the teacher can observe and check the learning achieved and the students’ ability to respond immediately to an environment. We invite you to do it, as we did, in an educational metaverse such as Virbela, to give the exercise a greater sense of immersion via avatar customisation and simulated environments. We use these activities often in human talent management courses. 

TikTok This popular social media tool allows students to record audio and video content individually or collaboratively as experts presenting solutions to problems, or to share and interact with teachers, experts and classmates, meaning it can also be a useful platform for peer evaluation.

Minecraft With Minecraft (Education Edition), the teacher can create a virtual world of their own or ask students to be the creators and “play” by solving challenges and problems in a simulated professional environment.

Virtual reality Virtual reality can be used to foster and assess learning by allowing students to have experiences that would be difficult to replicate or create in the classroom otherwise for a variety of reasons, including time, distance and finance. We have used it in the health sciences field and international negotiation courses so that students can experience other cultures via personalised avatars and interactions. 

Evaluation is, of course, much more than simply grading. And much of the interest and variation lies in how we apply it to encourage students to participate in the teaching and learning process. Technology is certainly an enabler that can help us offer attractive evaluation options to our students – we invite you to embrace new methods to help make your students’ learning more enjoyable and equitable than ever.

Monica Francesca Contrino is a professor and academic coordinator for the Business School of Digital Education, and Rocío Elizabeth Cortez Márquez is a professor and academic coordinator, both at Monterrey Institute of Technology, Mexico. 

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ChatGPT and generative AI: 25 applications to support student engagement

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Creativity Policy, Partnerships and Practice in Education pp 239–258 Cite as

Assessing Creativity: Four Critical Issues

  • Rachael Jacobs 5  
  • First Online: 01 November 2018

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Part of the Creativity, Education and the Arts book series (CEA)

As creativity is accessed in schooling, it follows that creative work is regularly assessed. This chapter engages in a review of literature around four critical issues relating to creative assessment tasks. Writing from an Australian context, using research based in arts education, this chapter outlines the many challenges associated with creative assessment. Critical components of creative tasks are discussed and the criteria appropriate for artistry are extrapolated. Finally, the nature of judgements in the creative learning environment is explored. A range of assessment tasks are used as examples to illustrate these critical issues. This chapter draws conclusions about the creative learning environment, suggesting future directions for assessment, reflection and audit tools that might enhance the quality of creative assessment tasks.

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Dr. Anne Harris

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Jacobs, R. (2018). Assessing Creativity: Four Critical Issues. In: Snepvangers, K., Thomson, P., Harris, A. (eds) Creativity Policy, Partnerships and Practice in Education. Creativity, Education and the Arts. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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An Illustration depicting a formative assessment concept

7 Smart, Fast Ways to Do Formative Assessment

Within these methods you’ll find close to 40 tools and tricks for finding out what your students know while they’re still learning.

Formative assessment—discovering what students know while they’re still in the process of learning it—can be tricky. Designing just the right assessment can feel high stakes—for teachers, not students—because we’re using it to figure out what comes next. Are we ready to move on? Do our students need a different path into the concepts? Or, more likely, which students are ready to move on and which need a different path?

When it comes to figuring out what our students really know, we have to look at more than one kind of information. A single data point—no matter how well designed the quiz, presentation, or problem behind it—isn’t enough information to help us plan the next step in our instruction.

Add to that the fact that different learning tasks are best measured in different ways, and we can see why we need a variety of formative assessment tools we can deploy quickly, seamlessly, and in a low-stakes way—all while not creating an unmanageable workload. That’s why it’s important to keep it simple: Formative assessments generally just need to be checked, not graded, as the point is to get a basic read on the progress of individuals, or the class as a whole.

7 Approaches to Formative Assessment

1. Entry and exit slips: Those marginal minutes at the beginning and end of class can provide some great opportunities to find out what kids remember. Start the class off with a quick question about the previous day’s work while students are getting settled—you can ask differentiated questions written out on chart paper or projected on the board, for example.

Exit slips can take lots of forms beyond the old-school pencil and scrap paper. Whether you’re assessing at the bottom of Bloom’s taxonomy or the top, you can use tools like Padlet or Poll Everywhere , or measure progress toward attainment or retention of essential content or standards with tools like Google Classroom’s Question tool , Google Forms with Flubaroo , and Edulastic , all of which make seeing what students know a snap.

A quick way to see the big picture if you use paper exit tickets is to sort the papers into three piles : Students got the point; they sort of got it; and they didn’t get it. The size of the stacks is your clue about what to do next.

No matter the tool, the key to keeping students engaged in the process of just-walked-in or almost-out-the-door formative assessment is the questions. Ask students to write for one minute on the most meaningful thing they learned. You can try prompts like:

  • What are three things you learned, two things you’re still curious about, and one thing you don’t understand?
  • How would you have done things differently today, if you had the choice?
  • What I found interesting about this work was...
  • Right now I’m feeling...
  • Today was hard because...

Or skip the words completely and have students draw or circle emojis to represent their assessment of their understanding.

2. Low-stakes quizzes and polls: If you want to find out whether your students really know as much as you think they know, polls and quizzes created with Socrative or Quizlet or in-class games and tools like Quizalize , Kahoot , FlipQuiz, Gimkit , Plickers , and Flippity can help you get a better sense of how much they really understand. (Grading quizzes but assigning low point values is a great way to make sure students really try: The quizzes matter, but an individual low score can’t kill a student’s grade.) Kids in many classes are always logged in to these tools, so formative assessments can be done very quickly. Teachers can see each kid’s response, and determine both individually and in aggregate how students are doing.

Because you can design the questions yourself, you determine the level of complexity. Ask questions at the bottom of Bloom’s taxonomy and you’ll get insight into what facts, vocabulary terms, or processes kids remember. Ask more complicated questions (“What advice do you think Katniss Everdeen would offer Scout Finch if the two of them were talking at the end of chapter 3?”), and you’ll get more sophisticated insights.

3. Dipsticks: So-called alternative formative assessments are meant to be as easy and quick as checking the oil in your car, so they’re sometimes referred to as dipsticks . These can be things like asking students to:

  • write a letter explaining a key idea to a friend,
  • draw a sketch to visually represent new knowledge, or
  • do a think, pair, share exercise with a partner.

Your own observations of students at work in class can provide valuable data as well, but they can be tricky to keep track of. Taking quick notes on a tablet or smartphone, or using a copy of your roster, is one approach. A focused observation form is more formal and can help you narrow your note-taking focus as you watch students work.

4. Interview assessments: If you want to dig a little deeper into students’ understanding of content, try discussion-based assessment methods. Casual chats with students in the classroom can help them feel at ease even as you get a sense of what they know, and you may find that five-minute interview assessments work really well. Five minutes per student would take quite a bit of time, but you don’t have to talk to every student about every project or lesson.

You can also shift some of this work to students using a peer-feedback process called TAG feedback (Tell your peer something they did well, Ask a thoughtful question, Give a positive suggestion). When you have students share the feedback they have for a peer, you gain insight into both students’ learning.

For more introverted students—or for more private assessments—use Flipgrid , Explain Everything , or Seesaw to have students record their answers to prompts and demonstrate what they can do.

5. Methods that incorporate art: Consider using visual art or photography or videography as an assessment tool. Whether students draw, create a collage, or sculpt, you may find that the assessment helps them synthesize their learning . Or think beyond the visual and have kids act out their understanding of the content. They can create a dance to model cell mitosis or act out stories like Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” to explore the subtext.

6. Misconceptions and errors: Sometimes it’s helpful to see if students understand why something is incorrect or why a concept is hard. Ask students to explain the “ muddiest point ” in the lesson—the place where things got confusing or particularly difficult or where they still lack clarity. Or do a misconception check : Present students with a common misunderstanding and ask them to apply previous knowledge to correct the mistake, or ask them to decide if a statement contains any mistakes at all, and then discuss their answers.

7. Self-assessment: Don’t forget to consult the experts—the kids. Often you can give your rubric to your students and have them spot their strengths and weaknesses.

You can use sticky notes to get a quick insight into what areas your kids think they need to work on. Ask them to pick their own trouble spot from three or four areas where you think the class as a whole needs work, and write those areas in separate columns on a whiteboard. Have you students answer on a sticky note and then put the note in the correct column—you can see the results at a glance.

Several self-assessments let the teacher see what every kid thinks very quickly. For example, you can use colored stacking cups that allow kids to flag that they’re all set (green cup), working through some confusion (yellow), or really confused and in need of help (red).

Similar strategies involve using participation cards for discussions (each student has three cards—“I agree,” “I disagree,” and “I don’t know how to respond”) and thumbs-up responses (instead of raising a hand, students hold a fist at their belly and put their thumb up when they’re ready to contribute). Students can instead use six hand gestures to silently signal that they agree, disagree, have something to add, and more. All of these strategies give teachers an unobtrusive way to see what students are thinking.

No matter which tools you select, make time to do your own reflection to ensure that you’re only assessing the content and not getting lost in the assessment fog . If a tool is too complicated, is not reliable or accessible, or takes up a disproportionate amount of time, it’s OK to put it aside and try something different.

creative writing assessment examples

Just Add Students

Tools to Help You Teach Middle School ELA

Writing Assessments & how to use them

The best way to learn about your student writers is to perform a diagnostic writing assessment.  This can help you analyze what your students need and determine your instructional strategies.

When you get a batch of new students, you need to get to know them as human beings, but also as students — and more specifically, as writers.

You want your instruction to be effective and targeted to meet the specific needs of your students.  

What is the quickest way to do that? 

Have your students provide you with an authentic writing sample. 

Here’s how:

What can you learn from diagnostic writing assessments? Click though to discover how they can help you become a more effective teacher.  Download the FREE assessment tool.

What is a diagnostic writing assessment?

A writing sample is a piece of writing that your students have completed in response to a prompt, in class, and in a specific period of time.

Do you really need a writing assessment?

Let’s be honest, when you’re teaching writing, you have to hit the ground running.  You want your students writing, practicing, and growing from the first day of class.

The problem is, you have a classroom full of students who are all at different skill levels.  

Teaching writing is so challenging for just that reason!  One student struggles to write two sentences and another who can write volumes without a pause.  

Collecting a writing sample is one of the best ways to figure out what your students need.

It will also help you format your yearlong and monthly plans since you’ll be able to prioritize mini lessons and writing projects.

Do this first

Before your students start writing, design your assessment tool .    I see your tears — but wait!  It’s not that scary!

Look through your standards for the “big buckets” of writing skills.  They might include sentence structure, word choice, paragraph structure, developing ideas, and conventions.

Once you create your list, you can use hash marks to tally what you notice as you review writing samples.

How to get an authentic writing assessment

Day 1:  Tell students that on the next day they’ll be providing you with a writing sample.  They will write in class.

This writing won’t be graded; it will be used for you, the teacher, to help improve the way you teach writing.

Day 2 :  Provide students with a prompt and have them write!  Don’t provide additional help. 

Use a timer, and be sure students know how much time they have to write.  I usually allow 15 minutes.  However, if your students are really struggling to write for that amount of time, you can end the writing time early.

What does it mean?

The first piece of data you can collect is while the students are responding to the prompt.  Don’t sit at your desk and read emails!

Notice (and take notes) of students who:

  • write fluidly
  • appear to be anxious
  • stare off into space
  • struggle with writing
  • finish early 
  • need help getting started

How do I Gather Data?

Once your students have finished writing, you can start analyzing.  

Step   1:   Get a big cup of coffee (or similar beverage☕) and settle down in a comfy chair.

Step 2:    Read and sort papers.  Do this quickly.  I make three piles:  1) above grade  2) on grade  3) below grade   Paper clip the piles so you have three stacks.  

I like to do this so I know where I think my students are at the start of the year.  This way, I know who I need to challenge and who I need to really keep an eye on .

Step 3:   Pick up each pile and read though and make notations on your assessment tool. You can use hash marks to note each one.

You have three choices here:   create a whole class assessment, create an assessment for each student, or both.

Personally, I think you should do both.  A master list and an individual list.

Creating an assessment for each student is extremely helpful.  You will learn a ton about your students when you do this. 

And a master list will help you see a snapshot of the needs of your whole class.

When marking your tool for individual assessments, don’t make a hash mark for multiple errors on one page.  For example, Susie writes a run on.  And another.  And three more.  Mark it as ONE hash mark.  

You are looking for the big trends.  It doesn’t help you to mark it multiple time.  You know, if you see a hash mark next to sentence structure that the student needs help with sentence structure.

What do I do with that data?

Use your assessment tool to determine how you want to tackle your writing projects  and conferences .

What do your students really need?  Prioritize and divide and conquer! 

Work on mini lessons consistently and you and your students will see progress!

Need a bit more help finding lessons? Find and follow my shop here.

With gratitude,

creative writing assessment examples

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creative writing assessment examples

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Creative and descriptive writing

Resources for KS3, KS4 and upper secondary

Let your students’ creativity run wild with our selection of worksheets, lessons, exam questions and revision activities, designed to embed language techniques and improve crafted writing.

Lessons and activities

Creative and descriptive writing is a great opportunity for students to explore different themes, audiences and purposes as well as demonstrate their understanding of how structure and punctuation can be used to impact a reader. From creative writing prompts to technique booklets and structure strips, we have drawn together a small collection of resources you can use to help with your planning of this unit.

Descriptive  / Creative Writing

Descriptive / Creative Writing

Manipulating structure and punctuation for creative writing

Manipulating structure and punctuation for creative writing

Descriptive Writing Task

Descriptive Writing Task

Creative/ Descriptive Writing Placemat: Image Prompt: Structure Strips

Creative/ Descriptive Writing Placemat: Image Prompt: Structure Strips

Crafting creative writing - AQA English Language Paper 1, Question 5

Crafting creative writing - AQA English Language Paper 1, Question 5

Descriptive writing booklet

Descriptive writing booklet

Structuring and Organising Creative Writing

Structuring and Organising Creative Writing

Descriptive Writing

Descriptive Writing

Gothic Horror Creative Writing Lesson

Gothic Horror Creative Writing Lesson

24 creative writing prompts

24 creative writing prompts

Places - Creative & Descriptive Writing - English Language GCSE

Places - Creative & Descriptive Writing - English Language GCSE

FREE LESSON creative writing AQA Language Paper 1 Question 5

FREE LESSON creative writing AQA Language Paper 1 Question 5

Language Paper 1 Question 5 - Full lesson

Language Paper 1 Question 5 - Full lesson

Key learning and revision.

To help your students practice crafting their creative pieces, we have pulled together a selection of resources from structure strips to exam questions to support your students when tackling such a large part of the English language exam.

AQA English Language Paper 1: Question 5 Examples

AQA English Language Paper 1: Question 5 Examples

English Language Paper One Question Five Revision & Exam Practice Questions

English Language Paper One Question Five Revision & Exam Practice Questions

Descriptive writing structure strips

Descriptive writing structure strips

AQA Paper 1 Question 5 Descriptive Writing

AQA Paper 1 Question 5 Descriptive Writing

AQA Language Paper 1, Question 5: Creative Writing Booklet

AQA Language Paper 1, Question 5: Creative Writing Booklet

Language Paper 1: Question 5 Creative Writing

Language Paper 1: Question 5 Creative Writing

Paper 1 Question 5 learning journey

Paper 1 Question 5 learning journey

Gcse/igcse revision resources.

Support your students in the run-up to May with this bumper collection of GCSE revision and IGCSE revision resources.

Teacher essentials

Explore this collection of essential resources including starter and plenary activities, templates, marking and feedback tools and more.

Griffin Teaching

11+ creative writing guide with 50 example topics and prompts

by Hayley | Nov 17, 2022 | Exams , Writing | 0 comments

The 11+ exam is a school entrance exam taken in the academic year that a child in the UK turns eleven.

These exams are highly competitive, with multiple students battling for each school place awarded.

The 11 plus exam isn’t ‘one thing’, it varies in its structure and composition across the country. A creative writing task is included in nearly all of the 11 plus exams, and parents are often confused about what’s being tested.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the plot of your child’s writing task is important. It is not.

The real aim of the 11+ creative writing task is to showcase your child’s writing skills and techniques.

And that’s why preparation is so important.

This guide begins by answering all the FAQs that parents have about the 11+ creative writing task.

At the end of the article I give my best tips & strategies for preparing your child for the 11+ creative writing task , along with 50 fiction and non-fiction creative writing prompts from past papers you can use to help your child prepare.

Do all 11+ exams include a writing task?

Not every 11+ exam includes a short story component, but many do. Usually 3 to 5 different prompts are given for the child to choose between and they are not always ‘creative’ (fiction) pieces. One or more non-fiction options might be given for children who prefer writing non-fiction to fiction.

Timings and marking vary from test to test. For example, the Kent 11+ Test gives students 10 minutes for planning followed by 30 minutes for writing. The Medway 11+ Test gives 60 minutes for writing with ‘space allowed’ on the answer booklet for planning.

Tasks vary too. In the Kent Test a handful of stimuli are given, whereas 11+ students in Essex are asked to produce two individually set paragraphs. The Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CCSE) includes 2 creative writing paragraphs inside a 60-minute English exam.

Throughout the UK each 11+ exam has a different set of timings and papers based around the same themes. Before launching into any exam preparation it is essential to know the content and timing of your child’s particular writing task.

However varied and different these writing tasks might seem, there is one key element that binds them.

The mark scheme.

Although we can lean on previous examples to assess how likely a short story or a non-fiction tasks will be set, it would be naïve to rely completely on the content of past papers. Contemporary 11+ exams are designed to be ‘tutor-proof’ – meaning that the exam boards like to be unpredictable.

In my online writing club for kids , we teach a different task each week (following a spiral learning structure based on 10 set tasks). One task per week is perfected as the student moves through the programme of content, and one-to-one expert feedback ensures progression. This equips our writing club members to ‘write effectively for a range of purposes’ as stated in the English schools’ teacher assessment framework.

This approach ensures that students approaching a highly competitive entrance exam will be confident of the mark scheme (and able to meet its demands) for any task set.

Will my child have a choice of prompts to write from or do they have to respond to a single prompt, without a choice?

This varies. In the Kent Test there are usually 5 options given. The purpose is to gather a writing sample from each child in case of a headteacher appeal. A range of options should allow every child to showcase what they can do.

In Essex, two prescriptive paragraphs are set as part of an hour-long English paper that includes comprehension and vocabulary work. In Essex, there is no option to choose the subject matter.

The Medway Test just offers a single prompt for a whole hour of writing. Sometimes it is a creative piece. Recently it was a marketing leaflet.

The framework for teaching writing in English schools demands that in order to ‘exceed expectations’ or better, achieve ‘greater depth’, students need to be confident writing for a multitude of different purposes.

In what circumstances is a child’s creative writing task assessed?

In Essex (east of the UK) the two prescriptive writing tasks are found inside the English exam paper. They are integral to the exam and are assessed as part of this.

In Medway (east Kent in the South East) the writing task is marked and given a raw score. This is then adjusted for age and double counted. Thus, the paper is crucial to a pass.

In the west of the county of Kent there is a different system. The Kent Test has a writing task that is only marked in appeal cases. If a child dips below the passmark their school is allowed to put together a ‘headteacher’s appeal’. At this point – before the score is communicated to the parent (and probably under cover of darkness) the writing sample is pulled out of a drawer and assessed.

I’ve been running 11+ tutor clubs for years. Usually about 1% of my students passed at headteacher’s appeal.

Since starting the writing club, however, the number of students passing at appeal has gone up considerably. In recent years it’s been more like 5% of students passing on the strength of their writing sample.

What are the examiners looking for when they’re marking a student’s creative writing?

In England, the government has set out a framework for marking creative writing. There are specific ‘pupil can’ statements to assess whether a student is ‘working towards the expected standard,’ ‘working at the expected standard’ or ‘working at greater depth’.

Members of the headteacher panel assessing the writing task are given a considerable number of samples to assess at one time. These expert teachers have a clear understanding of the framework for marking, but will not be considering or discussing every detail of the writing sample as you might expect.

Schools are provided with a report after the samples have been assessed. This is very brief indeed. Often it will simply say ‘lack of precise vocabulary’ or ‘confused paragraphing.’

So there is no mark scheme as such. They won’t be totting up your child’s score to see if they have reached a given target. They are on the panel because of their experience, and they have a short time to make an instant judgement.

Does handwriting matter?

Handwriting is assessed in primary schools. Thus it is an element of the assessment framework the panel uses as a basis for their decision.

If the exam is very soon, then don’t worry if your child is not producing immaculate, cursive handwriting. The focus should simply be on making it well-formed and legible. Every element of the assessment framework does not need to be met and legible writing will allow the panel to read the content with ease.

Improve presentation quickly by offering a smooth rollerball pen instead of a pencil. Focus on fixing individual letters and praising your child for any hint of effort. The two samples below are from the same boy a few months apart. Small changes have transformed the look and feel:

11+ handwriting sample from a student before handwriting tutoring

Sample 1: First piece of work when joining the writing club

Cursive handwriting sample of a boy preparing for the 11+ exam after handwriting tutoring.

Sample 2: This is the same boy’s improved presentation and content

How long should the short story be.

First, it is not a short story as such—it is a writing sample. Your child needs to showcase their skills but there are no extra marks for finishing (or marks deducted for a half-finished piece).

For a half hour task, you should prepare your child to produce up to 4 paragraphs of beautifully crafted work. Correct spelling and proper English grammar is just the beginning. Each paragraph should have a different purpose to showcase the breadth and depth of their ability. A longer – 60 minute – task might have 5 paragraphs but rushing is to be discouraged. Considered and interesting paragraphs are so valuable, a shorter piece would be scored more highly than a rushed and dull longer piece.

I speak from experience. A while ago now I was a marker for Key Stage 2 English SATs Papers (taken in Year 6 at 11 years old). Hundreds of scripts were deposited on my doorstep each morning by DHL. There was so much work for me to get through that I came to dread long, rambling creative pieces. Some children can write pages and pages of repetitive nothingness. Ever since then, I have looked for crafted quality and am wary of children judging their own success by the number of lines competed.

Take a look at the piece of writing below. It’s an excellent example of a well-crafted piece.

Each paragraph is short, but the writer is skilful.

He used rich and precisely chosen vocabulary, he’s broken the text into natural paragraphs, and in the second paragraph he is beginning to vary his sentence openings. There is a sense of control to the sentences – the sentence structure varies with shorter and longer examples to manage tension. It is exciting to read, with a clear awareness of his audience. Punctuation is accurate and appropriate.

Example of a high-scoring writing sample for the UK 11+ exam—notice the varied sentence structures, excellent use of figurative language, and clear paragraphing technique.

11+ creative writing example story

How important is it to revise for a creative writing task.

It is important.

Every student should go into their 11+ writing task with a clear paragraph plan secured. As each paragraph has a separate purpose – to showcase a specific skill – the plan should reflect this. Built into the plan is a means of flexing it, to alter the order of the paragraphs if the task demands it. There’s no point having a Beginning – Middle – End approach, as there’s nothing useful there to guide the student to the mark scheme.

Beyond this, my own students have created 3 – 5 stories that fit the same tight plan. However, the setting, mood and action are all completely different. This way a bank of rich vocabulary has already been explored and a technique or two of their own that fits the piece beautifully. These can be drawn upon on the day to boost confidence and give a greater sense of depth and consideration to their timed sample.

Preparation, rather than revision in its classic form, is the best approach. Over time, even weeks or months before the exam itself, contrasting stories are written, improved upon, typed up and then tweaked further as better ideas come to mind. Each of these meets the demands of the mark scheme (paragraphing, varied sentence openings, rich vocabulary choices, considered imagery, punctuation to enhance meaning, development of mood etc).

To ensure your child can write confidently at and above the level expected of them, drop them into my weekly weekly online writing club for the 11+ age group . The club marking will transform their writing, and quickly.

What is the relationship between the English paper and the creative writing task?

Writing is usually marked separately from any comprehension or grammar exercises in your child’s particular 11+ exam. Each exam board (by area/school) adapts the arrangement to suit their needs. Some have a separate writing test, others build it in as an element of their English paper (usually alongside a comprehension, punctuation and spelling exercise).

Although there is no creative writing task in the ISEB Common Pre-test, those who are not offered an immediate place at their chosen English public school are often invited back to complete a writing task at a later date. Our ISEB Common Pre-test students join the writing club in the months before the exam, first to tidy up the detail and second to extend the content.

What if my child has a specific learning difficulty (dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, ASD)?

Most exam boards pride themselves on their inclusivity. They will expect you to have a formal report from a qualified professional at the point of registration for the test. This needs to be in place and the recommendations will be considered by a panel. If your child needs extra arrangements on the day they may be offered (it isn’t always the case). More importantly, if they drop below a pass on one or more papers you will have a strong case for appeal.

Children with a specific learning difficulty often struggle with low confidence in their work and low self-esteem. The preparations set out above, and a kids writing club membership will allow them to go into the exam feeling positive and empowered. If they don’t achieve a pass at first, the writing sample will add weight to their appeal.

Tips and strategies for writing a high-scoring creative writing paper

  • Read widely for pleasure. Read aloud to your child if they are reluctant.
  • Create a strong paragraph plan where each paragraph has a distinct purpose.
  • Using the list of example questions below, discuss how each could be written in the form of your paragraph plan.
  • Write 3-5 stories with contrasting settings and action – each one must follow your paragraph plan. Try to include examples of literary devices and figurative language (metaphor, simile) but avoid clichés.
  • Tidy up your presentation. Write with a good rollerball pen on A4 lined paper with a printed margin. Cross out with a single horizontal line and banish doodling or scribbles.
  • Join the writing club for a 20-minute Zoom task per week with no finishing off or homework. An expert English teacher will mark the work personally on video every Friday and your child’s writing will be quickly transformed.

Pressed for time? Here’s a paragraph plan to follow.

At Griffin Teaching we have an online writing club for students preparing for the 11 plus creative writing task . We’ve seen first-hand what a difference just one or two months of weekly practice can make.

That said, we know that a lot of people reading this page are up against a hard deadline with an 11+ exam date fast approaching.

If that’s you (or your child), what you need is a paragraph plan.

Here’s one tried-and-true paragraph plan that we teach in our clubs. Use this as you work your way through some of the example prompts below.

11+ creative writing paragraph plan

Paragraph 1—description.

Imagine standing in the location and describe what is above the main character, what is below their feet, what is to their left and right, and what is in the distance. Try to integrate frontend adverbials into this paragraph (frontend adverbials are words or phrases used at the beginning of a sentence to describe what follows—e.g. When the fog lifted, he saw… )

Paragraph 2—Conversation

Create two characters who have different roles (e.g. site manager and student, dog walker and lost man) and write a short dialogue between them. Use what we call the “sandwich layout,” where the first person says something and you describe what they are doing while they are saying it. Add in further descriptions (perhaps of the person’s clothing or expression) before starting a new line where the second character gives a simple answer and you provide details about what the second character is doing as they speak.

Paragraph 3—Change the mood

Write three to four sentences that change the mood of the writing sample from light to gloomy or foreboding. You could write about a change in the weather or a change in the lighting of the scene. Another approach is to mention how a character reacts to the change in mood, for example by pulling their coat collar up to their ears.

Paragraph 4—Shock your reader

A classic approach is to have your character die unexpectedly in the final sentence. Or maybe the ceiling falls?

11+ creative writing questions from real papers—fictional prompts

  • The day the storm came
  • The day the weather changed
  • The snowstorm
  • The rainy day
  • A sunny day out
  • A foggy (or misty) day
  • A day trip to remember
  • The first day
  • The day everything changed
  • The mountain
  • The hillside
  • The old house
  • The balloon
  • The old man
  • The accident
  • The unfamiliar sound
  • A weekend away
  • Moving house
  • A family celebration
  • An event you remember from when you were young
  • An animal attack
  • The school playground at night
  • The lift pinged and the door opened. I could not believe what was inside…
  • “Run!” he shouted as he thundered across the sand…
  • It was getting late as I dug in my pocket for the key to the door. “Hurry up!” she shouted from inside.
  • I know our back garden very well, but I was surprised how different it looked at midnight…
  • The red button on the wall has a sign on it saying, ‘DO NOT TOUCH.’ My little sister leant forward and hit it hard with her hand. What happened next?
  • Digging down into the soft earth, the spade hit something metal…
  • Write a story which features the stopping of time.
  • Write a story which features an unusual method of transport.
  • The cry in the woods
  • Write a story which features an escape

11+ creative writing questions from real papers—non-fiction prompts

  • Write a thank you letter for a present you didn’t want.
  • You are about to interview someone for a job. Write a list of questions you would like to ask the applicant.
  • Write a letter to complain about the uniform at your school.
  • Write a leaflet to advertise your home town.
  • Write a thank you letter for a holiday you didn’t enjoy.
  • Write a letter of complaint to the vet after an unfortunate incident in the waiting room.
  • Write a set of instructions explaining how to make toast.
  • Describe the room you are in.
  • Describe a person who is important to you.
  • Describe your pet or an animal you know well.

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