Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System
2017 MCAS Sample Student Work and Scoring Guides
Below you will find scoring guides and samples of student work for released items from the spring 2017 MCAS tests. Scoring guides and student work samples are provided for the following item types: open-response items, constructed-response items, essay questions, and writing prompts (grade 10 ELA Composition only).
Annotations are included at all score points with the student work samples for the grades 3-8 ELA essay items and the grade 10 Composition and Reading Comprehension items.
Two different samples of student work have been included at the highest score point for all grades and subjects with a few exceptions: only one top-scoring sample has been released for Standard English Conventions for the ELA grades 3-8 essay items and the grade 10 ELA Composition; also, only one top-scoring sample has been released for Idea Development for the ELA grades 6 and 7 essay items, although it is anticipated that two top-scoring Idea Development samples will be included for these grades in future years.
The document Release of Spring 2017 MCAS Test Items contains all released items from the spring 2017 MCAS tests, as well as information about unreleased items. The document provides the following information about each released and unreleased operational item: reporting category, standard(s) covered, item type, and item description (where available). The document also lists any reference materials and tools that students were allowed to use during test sessions.
For more information see: Using This Online Tool
Question Directory for Student Work
Main Question Directory for Student Work
Last Updated: October 13, 2017
Sample essay questions and suggested reading
Here are a few sample essay questions for you to think about. Remember that you get 40 minutes to write a maximum of 750 words – ideally about 500-600 words. We also have sample answers to some of these questions. See download links at bottom of this page.
- How should judges be appointed?
- Make the best case you can for public funding of the arts. Answer
- Does it matter if some animal and plant species die out? Answer
- ‘It is right that students should contribute to the cost of their degrees.’ Do you agree?
- What disciplinary sanctions should teachers be allowed to use?
- ‘We must be prepared to sacrifice traditional liberties to defeat terrorism.’ Discuss.
- Should the law require people to vote in general elections?
- Should private cars be rationed? If so, how?
- What is ‘political correctness’ and why does it matter? Answer
- There are more essay topics on our practice tests.
As part of your preparation you may also like to look at some materials on critical thinking. Here is a selection. Some of them include exercises that can help you develop your LNAT skills.
A. Fisher, Critical Thinking: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press 2001) ISBN 0521009847
R. van den Brink-Budgen, Critical Thinking for Students (How to Books 2000) ISBN 1857036344
N. Warburton, Thinking From A to Z (Routledge 2000) ISBN 0415222818
P. Gardner, New Directions: Reading, Writing, and Critical Thinking(Cambridge University Press 2006) ISBN 0521541727 (mainly for those who have English as a second language)