The six appendixes that follow consist of assignments given by secondary teachers and samples of the work students did in response to them. The assignments have been rewritten for the sake of regularity and clarity, but I have tried to remain true to the spirit and main idea of the originals. For the sake of anonymity, I have changed the names of the student authors, other students, and their schools. Otherwise, the student papers are just the way they were submitted–with the exception of the rough drafts, which have been adapted from the originals. Again with the exception of the rough draft adaptations, the papers are reprinted here with the permission of the students who wrote them.
In general, I tried to select a sampling of high, middle, and low papers from each set, but that does not mean that they follow a particular “curve.” For one thing, the classes of students who wrote them, though nominally homogeneous, were actually quite varied in ability. Nor did I have grades in mind when I chose them. Rather, I worked holistically, looking for a variety of topics, issues for the teacher, and writing abilities.
Some of these papers appeared in the first edition of Teaching Secondary English, and a few readers (not just students) have suggested that they do not represent the complete range of writing abilities among American secondary students. In particular, a colleague who teaches an English methods course in a large city made such a comment. It is interesting to note that she did not say which ability levels were missing. I haven't asked, and I still don't know. My own students at the University of North Dakota often complain that this student work is almost universally “bad, ” though some change their minds when they confront the realities of student writing in real classrooms. My colleague from the big city might well have thought that the writing was too “good.”