Writing Sample

The Writing Sample is Only Required for 8th Grade Students Applying to Specific 9th Grade/High School Programs

The online writing sample is required for current 8th grade students, who are applying for admission to the 9th grade in one of the five high schools listed below for the 2022-2023 school year.

Reminders:
School Selection Application Window: October 6th through November 21st
Writing Sample Window: November 29th through December 16th

School Selection 2022-2023
Writing Sample

Writing Sample Process

In previous years, the online writing sample has been utilized by only one high school, Parkway Center City Middle College.  This year, that very same writing sample will be required by the following four additional high schools:

  • Central High School – Minimum Writing Sample Score (22)
  • George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science – Minimum Writing Sample Score (17)
  • Julia R. Masterman High School – Minimum Writing Sample Score (22)
  • The Academy at Palumbo High – Minimum Writing Sample Score (17)
  • Parkway Center City Middle College – Minimum Writing Sample Score (17)

School District of Philadelphia Students

Writing Sample Process

Once the Selection Application window has closed, any student who has chosen one of the 5 high schools listed above will be asked to write and submit a proctored writing sample to be considered as a candidate for those schools.

  • Between November 29th through December 16th, School District of Philadelphia students will participate in a proctored, online writing sample during the school day at their current school.
  • Your school will be responsible for ensuring all interested 8th grade students complete the online writing sample. Contact your school counselor with any questions.

Non-School District of Philadelphia Students (including Charter, Private, Parochial)

Non-District students will be required to register at one of the 6 District sites for a proctored, online writing sample.

  • Registration will begin on Tuesday, November 23, 2021.
  • Registration for each session will close 48 hours prior to the start time OR when the session is full.
  • The registration link will be sent to the guardians’ email addresses associated with the School Selection application.
  • The proctored writing sample sessions will be offered at one of 6 locations: one of 5 high schools listed above OR at 440 N. Broad Street. Families are encouraged to register at the site that is closest to their home or works best with the time slots offered.
  • A student ID or other form of photo identification will be required at the time of the writing sample.
  • Families are encouraged to register early so we can ensure we have enough spots for all applicants.
  • Providing the writing sample at one of the five high schools requiring the writing sample DOES NOT guarantee admittance into that school.

EXPECTATIONS AND EXAMPLES

EXPECTATIONS AT THE ONLINE WRITING SAMPLE SESSION

  • Students will have 90 minutes to complete the writing sample.
  • Students applying to one or all five of the schools listed above, will only need to provide one writing sample.
  • Students will have only one opportunity to submit their online writing sample.
  • Once a student has submitted their writing sample or reached the allotted 90 minute time limit, the student will not be able to return to the online writing sample to make any edits or changes.
  • Accommodations will be made for students who have an IEP, 504 Service Agreement, or students who are English Learners.

EXAMPLE OF WRITING SAMPLE TOPIC

These two example writing sample questions will not be used during this year’s school selection process. They are listed here to provide an example of the type of topics students can expect to see when they log in to answer the online writing sample:

  1. Think about an important lesson you have learned about yourself, others, or life in general. State as clearly as possible what the lesson was and why it was important to you, using descriptive details to develop your essay.
  2. Your school is starting some new after-school clubs and your principal has asked you and your classmates for suggestions. Write an essay suggesting one club you would like the school to offer and then explain why you think it would be good for the school. Use specific details and examples to support your reasons.

Resources for Online Writing Sample

For the online writing sample we will follow the same accommodations used during the PSSAs and Keystones for students with an IEP, Section 504 accommodation, and English Language Learners.

The most common accommodations used are:

  • One-on-One Setting
  • Extended Time
  • Items/Prompts Read Aloud
  • Frequent Breaks
  • Prompts Translated
  • Visual aid supports

World language dictionaries, used during the PSSAs and Keystones assessments will be available to provide word-to-word translations only – no word definitions or pictures – for specific level  English Language Learners.
Students registering to take the writing sample and who are not current student of the School District of Philadelphia are asked to identify the accommodations in their IEP or Section 504 accommodation.

Please direct questions regarding accommodations to schoolselect@philsd.org.

Locations will be at each of the five schools in addition to 440 N. Broad Street during the afternoons / evenings and weekends.

DateTimeLocations
Wednesday, December 1st5:30 PM - 7:30 PM440 N. Broad St.
Thursday, December 2nd5:30 PM - 7:30 PM440 N. Broad St.
Saturday, December 4th9:00 AM - 10:30 AMCentral High School
George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science
Julia R. Masterman High School
The Academy at Palumbo High
Parkway Center City Middle College
Saturday, December 4th11:30 AM-1:00 PMCentral High School
George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science
Julia R. Masterman High School
The Academy at Palumbo High
Parkway Center City Middle College
Monday, December 6th5:30 PM - 7:30 PM440 N. Broad St.
Tuesday, December 7th5:30 PM - 7:30 PM440 N. Broad St.
Tuesday, December 7th4:00 PM - 5:30 PMCentral High School
George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science
Julia R. Masterman High School
The Academy at Palumbo High
Parkway Center City Middle College
Wednesday, December 8th5:30 PM - 7:30 PM440 N. Broad St.
Thursday, December 9th4:00 PM - 5:30 PMCentral High School
George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science
Julia R. Masterman High School
The Academy at Palumbo High
Parkway Center City Middle College
Saturday, December 11th9:00 AM - 10:30 AMCentral High School
George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science
Julia R. Masterman High School
The Academy at Palumbo High
Parkway Center City Middle College
Saturday, December 11th11:30 AM-1:00 PMCentral High School
George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science
Julia R. Masterman High School
The Academy at Palumbo High
Parkway Center City Middle College
Monday, December 13th5:30 PM - 7:30 PM440 N. Broad St.
Tuesday, December 14th5:30 PM - 7:30 PM440 N. Broad St.
Wednesday, December 15th5:30 PM - 7:30 PM440 N. Broad St.
Thursday, December 16th5:30 PM - 7:30 PM440 N. Broad St.

Frequently Asked Questions

The writing sample will be automatically scored based on writing style, organization, development of idea, word choice, sentence fluency and convention.

The writing sample is scored immediately and students submitting the sample will receive their score immediately upon submission of the online writing sample.

Unfortunately not.  Students must attend a designated site (to be determined) to complete the writing sample.

Unfortunately not.  The writing sample will only be available in person at designated locations and times.

Contact Support

E-Mail:

  • To reach the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement – OSEP@PhilaSD.org
  • To reach the LeGare Committee – LeGare@PhilaSD.org

215-400-8480 – SHQIP
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Call us at 215-400-4290