Writing Standards Overview

Grade Level Writing Standards
How do you know if your child is meeting grade level expectations in writing? Get to know the writing standards.

If you are looking for grade-specific writing standards please select the grade from the list below. This page contains an overview of writing standards in general including important definitions and ways that you can build skills to match these standards at home.


Grade level writing standards are the yardstick for measuring writing proficiency in elementary school, middle school, and high school. Standards are detailed written statements that describe what students are expected to achieve in each grade. Schools use standards to help teachers, families, and the community work together to ensure that students attain a satisfactory level of knowledge and skills.

Writing and English Language Arts Standards
While each state creates its own set of educational standards, there is unanimous agreement that writing is a key strand in English language arts (ELA) standards – along with reading, speaking, and listening. As a core literacy competency, writing is essential to thinking and learning. It is critical to success in all other academic subjects, as well as postsecondary education and careers.

Writing Standards: Defining Knowledge and Skills
Writing standards define the knowledge and skills needed for writing proficiency at each grade level. Typically, writing standards are organized in the following main areas:

  1. Writing Strategies: Most U.S. schools teach the writing process—a universally recognized approach to writing. Students develop skills and strategies in using all five stages of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.
  2. Writing Purposes: Students learn to write for different audiences and purposes.
  3. Writing Evaluation: Students learn to evaluate their own writing and the writing of others.
  4. Written English Language Conventions: Students learn and use the grammatical and mechanical conventions of writing.
  5. Research and Inquiry: Students learn to conduct research and write for inquiry.

Writing Essays for Testing—How Standards Help
Students looking for essay writing help should get to know the writing standards for their grade level. The correlation between mastering writing standards and doing well on school assessments and the writing portion of standardized tests is very high. Research has shown that student learning improves when standards are implemented and aligned to school curriculum and testing. Writing standards also serve as excellent guidelines for college prep and standardized test preparation for writing.

Parents and Caregivers: Writing Help and Support at Home
There are many ways to build writing skills and provide essay writing help at home. Begin by speaking with your children’s teachers about the school’s writing standards, curriculum, and assessments. Most state departments of education include information on writing standards and state writing assessments on their websites. Once you understand the writing skills and knowledge your children are expected to achieve, you can offer better support at home.

Encourage your kids to write every day. Writing in all forms is valuable, including thank you notes, lists, phone messages, journals, recipes, letters, stories, and emails. As a bonus, other important lessons are often learned in the process, such as showing appreciation (for a gift) and taking responsibility (for writing down a message).

Review your children’s writing homework. Remember, essay writing help should be positive. When reading a finished essay, first offer praise for well-written sections, and then ask questions about parts that are still unclear. Become familiar with the five steps of the writing process and prompt your children to complete each step.

Make your own list of writing necessities. Do your kids have plenty of paper and pens, a dictionary and thesaurus, and a quiet place to write? A special journal or even a simple notebook inspires many children, as does writing on a computer. In fact, using technology for writing, including word processing and printing, is considered a standard.

Time4Writing—Online Writing Courses for Every Grade Level
Need sentence and paragraph writing help for kids? Elementary Writing Courses

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Writing Standards—Grade by Grade
K-12 writing standards are defined by each state. Time4Writing relies on a representative sampling of state writing standards, notably from Florida, Texas, and California, as well as on the standards published by nationally recognized education organizations, such as the National Council of Teachers of English and International Reading Association.

For grade level learning objectives for language arts and math, please visit our sister site Time4Learning.com:

Preschool grade learning objectives
Kindergarten learning objectives
First grade learning objectives
Second grade learning objectives
Third grade learning objectives
Fourth grade learning objectives
Fifth grade learning objectives
Sixth grade learning objectives
Seventh grade learning objectives
Eighth grade learning objectives


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