Grade Level Writing Expectations: Tenth Grade

Writes Clearly and Effectively


  • Selects and manipulates point of view, defining what a narrator can know and tell about to heighten suspense; delineates theme; and develops irony
  • Uses a range of techniques to link episodes, to develop theme, or to provide emphasis, (e.g., a recurring motif, parallel structures, imagery, symbolism)
  • Synthesizes and evaluates information from a range of sources to support an original conclusion, hypothesis, or argument
  • Works for precise meaning, knowing when to elaborate to meet extrinsic or own criteria
  • Discusses implications in the conclusion of a thesis-driven paper
  • Evaluates the biases of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources
  • Displays a confidence in and control over material and stylistic choices


  • Uses transitions to maintain fluency, logic, and coherence of information, opinions, or ideas
  • Writes using more than one strategy for an introduction (e.g., quotations, questions, descriptions, metaphors, personal experiences)
  • Uses organizational structures specific to a discipline (e.g., proofs, abstracts, proposals, scientific inquiries, historical research)


  • Produces text which is individualistic and expressive, that engages and connects with the intended audience

Sentence Fluency

  • Embeds quotations smoothly and logically, explaining the connection to the rest of the text
  • Writes rhythmic, flowing sentences which are purposeful, imaginative and are varied in structure and length

Word Choice

  • Chooses the level of language consistent with audience and purpose (e.g., formal, informal, colloquial)
  • Considers and defines terms (vocabulary) connected to the thesis and argument


  • Knows how to adapt conventions appropriately for maximum effect

Understands and Uses the Writing Process


  • Carefully considers the selection of useful and appropriate information/materials from a wide range of resources (may include: interviews, multimedia, books, and periodicals)


  • Drafts text, demonstrating awareness of focus, sequence, and pacing by carefully selecting details, determining the extent of elaboration, and constructing transitions that maintain fluency and emphasize organizational structure
  • Selects and sustains a drafting process with independence and flexibility


  • Accepts criticism as a means of improving writing; defends own vision with rationale
  • Contributes effectively to the writing of others


  • Restructures or rewrites part or all of the text, carefully selecting language to convey precise meaning or to create an intended mood or atmosphere
  • Revises for usability and accuracy in informational writing and makes appropriate changes


  • Edits with a critical eye, evaluating strengths and weaknesses, often using a self-initiated checklist or scoring guide; defends choices to deviate from established criteria
  • Edits for cross-referencing, preparation of bibliography, and index in research papers
  • Understands and uses standard proofreading marks


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


  • Maintains a portfolio of own literary work
  • Considers own readiness to draft and returns to research or prewriting if necessary
  • Reflects on feedback, sometimes seeking further explanation
  • Self reflects on pieces selected for the portfolio

Addresses Audience, Purpose, and Form

  • Anticipates reader's arguments and presents counter-arguments when feasible
  • Identifies for audience the areas of possible bias or limitations of the research cited in the writing
  • Understands multiple purposes of a form and can adapt information, structure, style, and focus appropriately

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