Sources for developing a writing task

The Literacy Design Collaborative has developed grade-specific writing tasks for students to help them in forming arguments and developing informational and explanatory writing skills. LDC provides task templates for each of these forms of thinking and writing.

At the High School Level:    LDC High School Tasks

  • Argumentative writing can take the form of: Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation, Problem-Solution, and Cause-Effect.
  • Informational/Explanatory writing: Definition, Description, Procedural, Synthesis, Analysis, Comparison, and Cause-Effect.

At the Elementary Level: LDC Elementary Tasks

  • Argumentative writing: Explain, Compare-Contrast, Identify-Argue
  • Informational/Explanatory writing: Determine, Define, Describe, Explain

Making a Claim

Not all students are ready for a complete writing task. This women’s suffrage inquiry supports students in developing a claim from primary source analysis. Worksheet for Claim Development

Perform a stress test on your assessment

No matter how you develop your summative assessment, don’t forget to test it out. Here’s a sample assessment we created that, after test-driving it, we found didn’t work:

“After researching strategies of NH suffragists, construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay, etc.) in which you evaluate the effectiveness of strategies women used to gain the right to vote. Support your argument with evidence from the primary sources you investigated.”

We tested it out by listing what we thought students would say after examining the primary sources:

  • Special events used to demonstrate strong public support, gain attention of legislators or motivate new groups to get involved.
  • Worked within the political process by being citizen lobbyists
  • Created grassroots networks to broaden the message to both legislators and the public
  • Used popular culture to raise awareness

The primary sources did not provide the information needed to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies. We changed the writing task:

“After analyzing primary sources from the women’s movement, develop a claim about the ways women fought for suffrage.”