Grade Level Writing Expectations: Eighth Grade

Writes Clearly and Effectively


  • Integrates the elements of character, setting, and plot to create a convincing world
  • Includes flashbacks and foreshadowing effectively
  • Writes responses to text and papers that are detailed, analytical, and honest, citing supporting evidence from text
  • Focuses writing with thesis statement or controlling idea that maps the progression of ideas/arguments and the selection of supporting details/evidence
  • Analyzes and synthesizes information from a variety of sources
  • Establishes subject and purpose of writing in a thesis statement within the introduction


  • Knows how to select and communicate an effective organizational structure (e.g., chronological, procedural/process, spatial, order of importance, main ideas/supporting detail)
  • Emphasizes key ideas through appropriate use of text features (e.g., headings, charts, diagrams, graphs)
  • Adapts some writing for visual formats (e.g., graphs, charts, outlines, bulleted statements, web pages)


  • Maintains an individual, authoritative voice in expository and persuasive writing
  • Produces text which is individualistic and expressive
  • Sentence Fluency
  • Writes sentences which are varied in structure and length
  • Word Choice
  • Selects persuasive, informational/technical, descriptive language appropriately

Sentence Fluency

  • Describes possible outcomes in a simple experiment where outcomes are not equally likely
  • Collects, organizes, and displays data in familiar situations from other disciplines using tables, bar graphs, pictographs, and Venn diagrams
  • Describes data using words like "most often" and "least often"

Word Choice

  • Selects persuasive, informational/technical, descriptive language appropriately
Spelling Capitalization Punctuation Grammar & Usage Sentences / Paragraphs
  • Consistency in use of correct spelling
  • Resources to find correct spelling for words identified as misspelled
  • Title of a specific course (e.g., History 9A)
  • Resources to check capitalization
  • Maintains accuracy in capitalization
  • Commas to enclose titles (e.g., Joe Miller, M.D., is a pediatrician.)
  • Commas for emphasis or clarity (e.g., What the cook does, does affect the meal.)
  • Colon between title and subtitle (e.g., Write Source 2000: A Guide to Thinking, Writing, and Learning)
  • Correct use of diagonal slash (/)
    • in a fraction
    • to show a choice
  • Apostrophes to form plurals of letters or numbers (e.g., Know your ABC's.)
  • Apostrophes in compound nouns (e.g., the mother-in-law's birthday)
  • Commas and periods inside quotation marks
  • Resources to check punctuation
  • Maintains accuracy in punctuation
  • Refinement and review of past grammar and usage issues
  • Resources to check usage
  • Maintains accuracy in grammar/usage
  • Maintains accuracy in paragraphing

Understands and Uses the Writing Process


  • Uses prewriting stage to determine purpose, analyze audience, research background information, formulate theme, create characters, and/or organize text
  • Maintains a log or journal to collect and explore ideas, record observations, dialogue, and/or description for later use as a basis for literary writing


  • Demonstrates independence as a writer by controlling the steps of the writing process as dictated by time and purpose


  • Accepts criticism as a means of improving writing; defends own vision with rationale
  • Submits work for review, accepts feedback, and revises accordingly


  • Revises for accuracy of content and clarity of focus


  • Revises and edits for effective use of typographic devices and requirements of technical writing forms
  • Edits to meet 8th grade standards of conventions
  • Understands and uses standard proofreading marks


  • Presents final copy in a variety of ways, often using technology
  • Selects different ways of presenting final draft and justifies choice


  • Maintains a portfolio of own literary work
  • Evaluates own work and that of others, independently and in groups, according to detailed scoring guide often developed collaboratively
  • Self reflects on pieces selected for portfolio

Addresses Audience, Purpose, and Form

  • Seeks wider audience to present work for sharing, review, critique, or publishing (e.g., writing groups, magazines, newsletters, contests, conferences)
  • Anticipates reader's questions in persuasive writing
  • Writes in text forms specific to the subject area
  • Uses a reference style (e.g., APA, MLA) in reports and technical documents

Suggested Text Forms

  Suggested Literary Text Forms That May Be Worked Toward in Grades Eight through Ten Content Text Forms That May Be Worked Toward in Grades Eight through Ten
New to
Grade Level
  • Narrative: fictional stories: mystery, historical fiction, science fiction
  • Poems: villanelle, sonnet
  • Myths, legends
  • Song lyrics
  • Scripts (e.g., television, movie, radio)
  • Satire
  • Parody
  • Oral history
  • Monologue
  • Expository essays/speeches: classification, analysis, definition, cause/effect, problem/solution, evaluation)
  • Business letters to apply for a job
  • Literary analyses of texts (analyze and evaluate author's craft)
  • Persuasive essays/speeches: argument
  • Lab reports
  • Résumés
  • Scientific reports
  • Technical reports
  • Editorial cartoon
  • Abstract
  • Proposal
  • Narrative: experiential stories, imaginative stories
  • Narrative: fictional stories (e.g., picture books, fantasy
  • Personal letters, cards, notes
  • Recounts
  • Rhymes
  • Retellings
  • Poems: patterned poetry, couplet, free verse, quatrain, haiku, ballad
  • Plays
  • Biographies and autobiographies
  • Tall tales
  • Comics
  • Personal essays
  • Narrative essays
  • Labels
  • Captions
  • Recounts
  • Answers to questions
  • Questions and answers v
  • Instructions (explain how to)
  • Learning logs
  • Reports
  • Book reviews and reports
  • Informational posters and brochures
  • Directions/procedures (to a location, to a game, to make something)
  • Paraphrase
  • Expository essays/speeches:compare/contrast
  • Field notes
  • Newspaper and magazine articles
  • Summaries
  • Business letters: to thank, request, complain, explain, persuade
  • Letters to the editor
  • Memos
  • Editorials
  • Interviews
  • Minutes
  • Film and drama reviews
  • Research papers
  • Documentaries