The Nation’s Report Card: Can You Do the 12th Grade NAEP Writing Task?

12th Grade Writing Task: How Do You Use Technology (Video Prompt)

Write an essay for a college admissions committee about one kind of information or communication technology you use. Describe what it is and explain why the technology is important to you. Develop your essay with details so the admissions committee can understand the value of this technology. You may use information from the presentation in your essay.


Sample “Effective” response:

Dear College Admissions Committee,

In today’s world, technology permeates all aspects of life. The devices that were once expensive and rare are available on a huge scale. Whether for entertainment, communication or academic endeavours, teenagers use technology in their everyday lives. The
benefits to each technological innovation are seemingly endless. Social networks are the perfect example of the diverse technology that has become incredible commonplace.

My involvement in the social network Facebook has opened up many opportunities. This website has allowed me to reconnect with old friends from elementary school whom I never thought I would encounter again. Through this online network, we are
able to have ongoing discussions while in different states. In addition, my Facebook account gives me many opportunities to talk with relatives who live overseas that I did not have access
to before. For example, I have an uncle who lives in England whom I would only get to talk to by phone every three months or so. Now, I talk to him whenever I need to and I get to see him and my younger cousins in the pictures that they post. I have become closer with all of them through our friendship online because it make communication across great distances incredibly easy.

Facebook has also helped me in academic projects. Whenever we have a group assignment to complete a project, we communicate our ideas through social networking. We
are able to have group brainstorms, flesh out our plans, and set up meeting times and locations that work for everyone. I have found, through various projects using this method of organization, that Facebook is the most reliable form of communication that we teenagers use. We check it more often than our e-mails and respond more quickly than if someone were to leave a voice mail. The social network Facebook has made academic projects in which we work in groups much more efficient because it provides a common form of communication.

Another benefit to social networking sites is that even though we use them for serious work, they can be used for play as well. The entertainment that is available through the multitude of application available on Facebook is astounding. With only a few exceptions, as a member of a social network you have access to any type of game or quiz you think would be fun to play. The game Farmville has become infamous due to the enormous number of people
who took part. The entertainment value of social networking is another reason why these sites have become so pervasive in modern society.

Social networking sites, like Facebook, provide people around the world with new opportunities to communicate (socially and academically) and to entertain themselves. The
extent to which they are used in our lives may be great, but that is because they have so many different uses. No other form of communication provides an equal number of useful functions. I think social networking has made great strides in improving the way we interact on a daily basis.

Thomas Jerome Baker
Author of 46 books
Paperback Books on Pinterest


Scoring Commentary and Data Results

“Effective” responses to this task develop explanations with well-chosen details, maintaining an effective balance between broad assertions and supporting detail and a clear progression of ideas. This response explains the significance of social networking sites to the writer, supporting assertions about the social, academic, and entertainment value of such sites with details from the writer’s experiences and experiences of others. Further, sentence structure is consistently well-controlled and varied, precise word choices support clarity, and a formal but pleasant tone—suitable for a college admissions essay—is maintained throughout.

Percentage of twelfth-grade students in each response category: 2011

Effective: 5% Competent: 21% Adequate: 34% Developing: 25% Marginal: 11% Little or no skill: 3%

NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because the percentage of responses rated as “Off-task” is not shown. Off-task responses are those that do not provide any information related to the assessment task.

Score & Description


Responses in this range demonstrate effective skill in responding to the writing task. All elements of the response are well-controlled and effectively support the writer’s purpose and audience.


Responses in this range demonstrate competent skill in responding to the writing task. Elements are usually well-controlled and clearly support the writer’s purpose and audience.


Responses in this range demonstrate adequate skill in responding to the writing task. Most elements are controlled and support the writer’s purpose and audience.


Responses in this range demonstrate developing skill in responding to the writing task. While some elements are controlled and provide some support for the writer’s purpose and audience, others are not.


Responses in this range demonstrate marginal skill in responding to the writing task. Many elements are not controlled and provide weak support for the writer’s purpose and audience.

Little or No Skill

Responses in this range demonstrate little or no skill in responding to the writing task. Elements are seldom controlled and provide almost no support for the writer’s purpose and audience.

Explore NAEP Writing Tasks

Students at grades 8 and 12 were given two writing tasks and had 30 minutes to complete each one. While writing tasks can sometimes involve composing and editing processes that continue for days or weeks, on-demand writing situations also occur where writers must compose text under time constraints. The results from the 2011 writing assessment are intended to provide information about what students can accomplish in on-demand writing situations. Tasks reflect grade-appropriate real-world issues and are designed to measure one of three communicative purposes: to persuade, to explain, and to convey experience.

Lost World measures students’ ability to convey experience.
Making a Change and Use of Technology measure students’ ability to explain.

Big Discount measures students’ ability to persuade.
Following each task below is a sample student response, scoring commentary, data results, and the scoring guide that was used to score the response.

Academic Writing

At most universities world-wide, future EFL teachers are required to write in an academic style. Essays, research papers, and theses are examples of the most important academic writing that the student-teacher (hereafter ST) does. Furthermore, when they become EFL teachers, it is quite possible that they will teach students wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels. However, there are few published, experiential accounts of how future EFL teachers are taught to do academic writing. In this article, I will attempt to fill that gap by sharing an account of an integrated, genre-based/process-writing experience in the Chilean context.

Click on the link below to get Teaching Academic Writing:


The International Baccalaureate [Kindle Edition]

The International Baccalaureate [Paperback]

The global search for high-quality education, embedded in high-performing education systems, has taken on mythical proportions, almost resembling the alchemists’ quest to turn common metals into gold.

It is my hope that the present day search for global education, equitable and providing equality of opportunity for all, shall not cease until the “gold” we seek, has been found.

I therefore dedicate this book to all the educators, researchers, parents and students the world over, who strive to achieve this elusive goal,high-quality education for all the citizens of the world.

In this endeavour, it is my belief that the International Baccalaureate merits a closer look, based on their more than 40 year history of delivering consistently excellent results.

I add that all of the reflections and views in this book are mine alone, unless otherwise noted, and can not be attributed to my employer or any other organization I am affiliated with, past or present. For any errors or oversights, I bear the complete responsibility.


Amazon Author Page: Thomas Jerome Baker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Head of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile.

He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.

Thomas is also a past member (2011-2012) of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile.

Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of forty six (46) books overall.

The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.




Teaching Debate in Chile

Teaching Debate in Chile


Teaching Debate in Chile

Available now at CreateSpace

By the end of November, my class of twenty-five 6th grade boys had finished their textbook and taken their final exams for the 2008 school year. Every student had passed and would be going on to 7th grade. But there were still three more weeks of school to go! What was I going to do in the final three weeks?

The purpose of this article is to share with colleagues how I used debates with my students during those three weeks.

Why did I decide to use debates?

There were two reasons I decided to use debates. First, I had used various forms of debate in the past as a classroom speaking activity. One of my favourites is the “Balloon Debate”.

In this activity, a group of four to eight students is formed. Each student chooses to be a famous person who is in a balloon that is rapidly losing altitude. The group can only be saved if one person sacrifices themself by jumping overboard. To decide who must jump, each student must give reasons why they should stay in the balloon.

The teacher and/or the class (by voting) then decides who has made the least persuasive argument. That person must jump. This process continues until there is only one person left in the balloon, who lands safely, winning the debate.

My second, and most important, reason for using debates with my class of sixth graders was because of a movie I saw, “The Great Debaters” (2007). It was directed by Denzel Washington. In it Denzel also plays the role of Melvin Tollson, coach of the undefeated Wiley College Debate Team of 1935.

The movie is based on a true story, the 1934 Wiley College Debate Team. They defeated the National Champion Stanford Debating Team. In the movie, Wiley College Debates Harvard in a thrilling challenge debate that was broadcast on radio.

If you like debating, that movie is a must see!

Let me describe the simple yet powerful scene that made me think to myself, “Even my sixth-graders can understand that”. Denzel is explaining his philosophy about debating. The room is full of nervous students who are trying out for the debate team:

Denzel: “Debate is combat. Your weapons are words. In a debate there is a “resolution”. One team, called the “affirmative team”, argues for the resolution. The other team, called the “negative team”, argues against the resolution.”

When I heard that, I knew that was “all” my students needed to get started debating…


Pinterest: Books by Thomas Jerome Baker


About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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