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Information About the North Carolina Writing Test



What is the North Carolina Writing Test?

The North Carolina writing test is an efficient way to screen students to determine which ones require extra help in the area of writing. This test is administered to grades 4, 7, and 10 in early March of each year. In this assessment, each student's ability to write an organized, coherent essay with a main idea and sufficient details is measured.

North Carolina began giving the test in 1983-84. Since then, improvement in student writing has been proven by both test results and by comments from university professors concerning students' writing skills. The test is administered to all 4th, 7th, and 10th graders in North Carolina on the same day. 


How are students evaluated?

Students are assessed using a 4.0 scale. Two trained scorers separately evaluate each test and the two scores are averaged together. Although a score of 2.5 is passing, it indicates only the minimum requirements were met. The essay is also given a + or - score to summarize the student's mastery of sentence formation, word usage, mechanics, and spelling.

For more information on the North Carolina writing test, visit the North Carolina Department of Instruction.


Common Major Pitfalls on the North Carolina writing test:

  1. The student fails to carefully read the prompt.

  2. The student goes off topic in the body of the paper.

  3. The student fails to provide sufficient elaboration.


As a parent, how can I help my child prepare for the North Carolina writing test?

  1. Ask questions of your student concerning writing: What are you writing about? Can I listen to your paper?

  2. The night before the test, make sure your student gets a good night's sleep.

  3. Make sure your student eats a good breakfast the morning of the test.

  4. Be sure you student has sufficient writing materials - paper, pencils, and erasers - at school and at home.

  5. Be sure that your student arrives at school on time on test day.

  6. Avoid scheduling  dental or medical appointments on the day of the test.

  7. Recognize that the test is important, but do not make you child nervous.

  8. Encourage your child to relax and do their best.

  9. Maintain good contact with your child's language arts or writing teacher.