Superintendent’s Memo #317-12

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

November 30, 2012

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Writing Prompts Available for Tests Based on the 2010 English Standards of Learning

As promised in Superintendent’s Memorandum No. 214-12, dated August 24, 2012, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has posted a list of writing prompts based on the 2010 English Standards of Learning for each new writing test.  The list of currently available prompts for each test is now available on the VDOE Web site at  Please note that additional prompts may be added to the lists in the future as more prompts become available.

Beginning in spring 2013, prompts for the short paper component of each writing test will be selected from the list of available prompts.  Students taking the grade 5 writing test will write a short paper in response to a narrative or expository prompt.  Students taking the grade 8 writing test will respond to an expository or persuasive prompt.  Students taking the end-of-course writing test will respond to a persuasive prompt.

If you have any questions, please contact the student assessment staff at or by telephone at (804) 225-2102.