The content on this site is no longer being updated. Please visit for the most current information from the Georgia Department of Education.

Producing well-designed assessments aligned to the state curriculum with timely dissemination of results.
Federal Programs
School Improvement

Michael Huneke
Assessment Specialist

1554 Twin Towers East
205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE
Atlanta, GA 30334
 (404) 232-1208
 (404) 656-5976

 Staff Contact List

Report Problems with this Page

  Promotion and Retention Guidance
Grade 8 Writing Assessment


The writing assessment for grade eight consists of an evaluation of each student response to an assigned prompt. Students are assigned a topic from a prompt bank representing two genres: expository and persuasive. Students are allowed 100 minutes to write their essays. The writing assessment must be administered in one day. A make-up is also given the following day.

Types of Writing

The Georgia Grade 8 Writing Assessment is a test of expository and persuasive writing. Students will be given either an expository or persuasive writing topic. Because topics will be spiraled, students may receive any one of the two writing topics thus requiring them to be prepared to write in expository or persuasive genres. Topics will be released after each test administration and will become part of the practice topic bank.

Analytic and Holistic Scoring

The scoring system is analytic. Analytic scoring means that more than one feature or domain of a paper is evaluated. Each domain itself is scored holistically. The score assigned indicates the test raters’ overall impression of the writer’s command of the components, using predetermined scoring criteria contained in the Scoring Rubrics. Accurate scoring requires balancing a writer’s strengths and areas of challenge.

Student writing will be assessed analytically in four domains: Ideas, Organization, Style, and Conventions. Analytic scoring will provide detailed information on student writing including scale scores and performance levels. The Grade 8 Writing Assessment will also be linked to a common reporting scale allowing for greater capability to compare scores over time.

Time Line

The Grade 8 Writing Assessment is administered during the third week of January. All grade eight students will take the assessment on the same day. There will also be one day for make-up. No extra time will be allowed except as specified in a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), Section 504 Plan, or Test Participation Plan (TPP).

The testing time includes 100 minutes for student-writing.

Scoring Procedures and Types of Scores

Four domains of writing are evaluated in the grade eight writing assessment. Each paper is scored in four domains: Ideas, Organization, Style, and Conventions. Each domain consists of several components. A component is a feature of writing within a particular domain. For example, “Focus” is a component of the Ideas domain. The weight of each domain reflects the contribution of each domain to the student’s total score. Weighting means that the score a rater assigns is multiplied by the weight (importance) assigned to the domain.

Each paper is scored by two raters. Raters who score the student compositions are trained to understand and use the standardized scoring system. The raters score each paper independently. Each of the four domains of effective writing is evaluated. Although these domains are interrelated during the writing process, a strength or area of challenge is scored only once under a particular domain. Scores in each domain range from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest score). The total weighted raw scores range from 10 (1’s in all four domains) to 50 (5’s in all four domains). A score of “1 to 5” is assigned to each domain by each rater. These scores represent a continuum of writing that ranges from inadequate to minimal to good to very good. Points on the continuum are defined by the scoring rubric for each domain. Each score point represents a range of papers. Domain scores are combined to obtain a total score for each student. In combining the domain scores, the Content score is given a weight of 40%; the other domains of Organization, Style, and Conventions are given a weight of 20% each. The total score is then converted to a three-digit scaled score. There are three performance levels represented: Does Not Meet (100-199), Meets (200-249), and Exceeds (250+).


Student Label – One label is provided for each student tested. The label is to be placed in the student’s permanent school record. It contains the total scale score.

Student Report –Two originals of the Student Report are provided; one is a student/parent copy and one copy is for the permanent record and instructional use by the student’s teacher(s).

Student Achievement Roster – Two copies of Student Achievement Rosters are provided. School or class level rosters are provided depending on the choice made by the school. Rosters contain the names of all students tested. For each student, the roster displays the total writing score and a notation of the performance level.

Scale Score Rank Order Roster – This roster lists students in rank order by scale scores. Two copies are provided.

School Report – A summary of student scores is provided for each school where testing was conducted. Three copies of the report are provided.

System Report – For each system, a summary report is provided which is identical in content to the school report. Three copies are provided.

Grade 8 Interpretive Guide 2011
Grade 8 Writing Released Writing Topics and Sample Papers 2011
Grade 8 Writing Coordinators Manual 2011
Grade 8 Writing Examiners Manual 2011
Grade 8 Writing Answer Document 2011

2011 State Summary
2011 System Summaries
2011 School Summaries

Update Bulletins WA8
Grade 8 Writing Assessment Update Bulletin 2012
Grade 8 Writing Update Bulletin

Presentations WA8
Grade 8 Writing Pre-Administration 2011