Strategies for Writing a Series of Paragraphs Expressing an Opinion

The Series of Paragraphs Expressing an Opinion (which will be referred to as an opinion piece from here) is one of two long writing tasks on the OSSLT. It is scored in two ways: Topic Development, and Use of Conventions.

Topic Development is scored in 10-point increments up to 60 points. The rubric for Topic Development identifies three elements that are being evaluated:

Use of Conventions is scored in 10-point increments up to 40 points. The rubric for Use of Conventions give full marks for "control of conventions" and fewer than full marks depending on how much the writer's errors "distract from communication".

The 2018 OSSLT Scoring Guide has the most recent examples of the calibre of writing that EQAO expects.

Requirements for the Opinion Piece

The directions given on the test are:

Write a minimum of three paragraphs expressing an opinion on the topic below. Develop your main idea with supporting details (proof, facts, examples, etc.).

The Planning and Preparation Guide further elaborates:

Students must make sure that

  • the opinion is clearly stated;
  • they have provided enough specific detail to support it;
  • the response is coherent and organized and
  • the grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure are correct.

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