Grade Level Writing Expectations: Ninth Grade

Writes Clearly and Effectively


  • Crafts a plot which is dependent upon the actions of believable characters and which includes a central conflict that is introduced, developed (rising action), brought to a crisis or turning point, and then concluded
  • Uses sound devices (e.g., onomatopoeia, assonance, consonance), varied rhymes (e.g., feminine rhymes, eye rhymes, slant rhymes), and rhythms to support and enrich the meaning of a poem
  • Writes analyses of text that evaluate the author's purpose, bias, accuracy, or craft, citing evidence from text
  • Writes deliberately and shapes own topic and controlling ideas
  • Substantiates key ideas through appropriate use of examples, anecdotes, statistics, and/or facts in persuasive or expository writing
  • Evaluates information from a variety of sources


  • Knows how to select and communicate an effective organizational structure, (e.g., to classify, define, argue, evaluate, compare/contrast, show cause/effect, or solve problems)
  • Uses transitions purposefully to construct arguments and connect ideas within organizational structures
  • Embeds thesis statement into a well-developed, effective introductory paragraph
  • Creates paragraphs based on units of meaning


  • Maintains an individual, authoritative, yet judicious voice in persuasive and expository writing
  • Assumes an objective, impersonal voice when presenting opinions or injecting bias

Sentence Fluency

  • Writes rhythmic, flowing sentences which are purposeful, imaginative and are varied in structure and length
  • Word Choice
  • Uses specialized vocabulary specific to a content area (e.g., scientific, legal, mathematical, business)

Word Choice

  • Uses specialized vocabulary specific to a content area (e.g., scientific, legal, mathematical, business)
Spelling Capitalization Punctuation Grammar & Usage Sentences/Paragraphs
  • Consistency in use of correct spelling
  • Resources to find correct spelling for words identified as misspelled
  • Employs correct spelling consistently though knows when to deviate to gain maximum effect
  • Resources to check capitalization
  • Employs correct capitalization consistently though knows when to deviate to gain maximum effect
  • Brackets
  • around an editorial correction
  • to set off added words
  • Comma to set off nonrestrictive clauses (e.g., The gym, which was built last year, is used every day.)
  • Resources to check punctuation
  • Employs correct punctuation consistently though knows when to deviate to gain maximum effect
  • Correct use of "who" vs. "whom"
  • No dangling modifiers (e.g., After I stood in line for hours, the tickets were sold out. rather than: After standing in line for hours, the tickets were sold out. The second sentence makes it appear that the tickets were in line.)
  • Correct use of "that" vs. "which"
  • Paragraphs for effect
  • Uses poetic conventions and techniques, such as line breaks, stanzas, capitalization, punctuation, pattern, repetition, and figurative language purposefully to shape a poem
  • Employs correct paragraphing consistently though knows when to deviate to gain maximum effect

Understands and Uses the Writing Process


  • Identifies/selects useful pre-writing strategies to generate ideas: brainstorming, webbing, listing, outlining


  • Drafts and revises material for presentation by others, using appropriate format (e.g., television scripts, monologues, scenes, plays, radio productions)
  • Adjusts writing process to meet time constraints
  • Uses graphs and charts to interpret data and present conclusions


  • Accepts criticism as a means of improving writing; defends own vision with rationale
  • Collaborates with a team to create, revise, edit, evaluate, and present an informational document
  • Asks specific questions to improve own and/or other's writing


  • Revises to add variety, emphasis, coherence, and clarity
  • Revises for justification of opinion
  • Investigate other information sources to improve text


  • Edits to met 9th grade standards of conventions
  • Understand and use standard proofreading marks


  • Presents final copy in a variety of ways, often using technology


  • Maintains a portfolio of own literary work
  • Designs a rubric or evaluation instrument based on established criteria and the demands of a specific discipline
  • Accepts or rejects feedback and justifies choices
  • Self-reflects on pieces selected for portfolio

Addresses Audience, Purpose, and Form

  • Includes more than one form (e.g., poem, memo, phone call, letter, diary excerpt) within main form (e.g., short story, novel, play) to develop characters and setting, introduce conflict, heighten suspense, and/or maintain interest of audience
  • Anticipates and addresses reader's arguments in persuasive essays
  • Writes in text forms specific to career areas

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
  • 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