Picture of Liberty Usera
"September 11" by a 5th grader was scored '1'
by Liberty Usera - Saturday, October 29, 2005, 8:30 PM

I am pasting the original and I will number the paragraphs followed by my response:

Written by a 5th Grader.)

September 11, 2001

[1] It was September 11, 2001. People woke up like any old day, but their world was about to take a turn. The Twin Towers were bizzy with people of all sorts of nationalities. Then at 8:45 (7:45 here) New York time the North Tower was hit causing the tower to collapse. People ran screaming through smoke from the building. Later on the second tower was hit and it too collapsed. Next, a plane hit the Pentagon causing one side to fall in. The fourth plane hit a Pennsylvania field. Usama bin Laden was said to be behind all of this. He sent videos from Afganistan.

[2] People wore red, white and blue. The president ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff. People brought products made in the USA to show support. This is called patriotism.

[3] More than 3,000 lives were destroyed on September 11, 2001. Then a war on terrorism started for the lives that were lost.

[4] Last year in my fourth grade class and this year we made flags with our hands on paper. I hope someday it is in history books. The people who died in the Pennsylvania field are the true heros and anybody else who tried to stop the highjackers are true AMERICAN HEROS.


"September 11, 2001" is scored as a '1' on a Five Point Writing scale because it has so many good ideas and moments that they all cannot fit in one essay. The writer is still searching for a central theme, or topic. Even with revision, not all of the paragraphs will make the revision "cut" because everything seems as important as everything else. Even the title hints to the very general and broad scope of the essay.  This author is left with having to decide, on their next attempt at the essay, on one topic and a relevant paragraph (or paragraphs) in order for the reader to follow what is important to know from the author's point of view.

This passage is a very good example of a prewriting activity where the author just writes ideas and what comes to mind.  The author must first decide on a topic before it can be considered a '2' on a Five Point Writing scale.  Case in point: Even by moving Paragraph 3 to be the first paragraph followed by Paragraph 1and then Paragraph 2, Paragraph 4 introduces a new idea of American Heroes (focusing on the passengers of the Pennsylvania crash of that day). In fact, it could be said that Paragraph 2 could be used as its own topic because of the introduction through example of the concept Patriotism. Both examples point to the fact this essay needs more than revision, but instead this is a prewriting exercise that will be the springboard for the next essay the author creates when he or she expresses him or herself about a specific part of September 11, 2001.

Picture of Crystal Conklin
Re: "September 11" by a 5th grader was scored '1'
by Crystal Conklin - Thursday, February 16, 2006, 11:03 AM
Wow, scoring all over the board on this one!  I went with a 3, giving the student credit for figuring out how to take a topic and support it with details but finding the topic and details in need of much refinement.  I wouldn't say the paper had "no clear sense of purpose or central theme," required for a rating of "1," because the student did have a general theme of Sept. 11 that all ideas connected to.  I was certain I could not give the paper a 5 because it was too broad; even if the student was trying for a broad encyclopedia-style definition he didn't quite succeed, for then the information about making flags in class didn't tie in well.