Writing Skills and the ISTEP+ Test
(Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress)

In its listing of writing skills the ISTEP+ test focuses on the writer's ability to:
(words in parentheses indicate highest level of proficiency)

a) stay (completely) focused on topic and task
b) organize ideas (logically)
c) exhibit (exceptional) word usage
d) demonstrate (exceptional) writing technique
e) (effectively) adjust language and tone to task and reader

all of which are also requested in English assignments in Danish high schools.
(the ISTEP+ Test should be mastered by sophomores, i.e. Grade 10 = Danish 1g)

More specifically, the good writer must:

a) unify theme or main idea
b) not go off on tangents
c) fully accomplish the task (summary, essay, article...)
d) fully explore many facets of the topic

a) create a cohesive, meaningful whole (i.e. introduction, body, and conclusion)
b) progress in an order that enhances meaning
c) make smooth transitions between ideas, sentences and paragraphs to enhance
    meaning of text

a) choose vocabulary to make explanations detailed and precise, descriptions rich,
    and actions clear and vivid
b) demonstrate control of a challenging vocabulary
c) use varied sentence patterns and complex sentences (yet fluent and easy to read)
d) uses writer's techniques (i.e. literary conventions such as imagery,
    humor etc.)

a) choose appropriate register (i.e. formal, personal, or dialect) to suit task
b) display a strong sense of audience (the readers)
c) have a unique perspective; may be original, authoritative, lively and/or


  • words should have no or few capitalization errors
  • sentences should have no or few punctuation errors
  • words should have no or few spelling errors
  • sentences should have no or few grammar or word usage errors
  • good writing has no or few paragraphing errors
  • good writing has no or few run-on sentences or sentence fragments



    January 2001
    Erik Moldrup