Creating Effective Invitations for Student Writing
Material Image
Microcredential ID : 2988
Secondary ELA Endorsement: Teaching Text Creation
0.5 USBE Credit


This microcredential represents educators' effective and consistent creation of effective invitations for student writing. This is the third microcredential in the Teaching Text Creation stack. This stack of microcredentials fulfills one of the requirements for the Secondary Literacy endorsement. It also fulfills one of the requirements for the Secondary Literacy Intervention endorsement.

No standards provided.
How To Earn This Microcredential

To earn this microcredential you will collect and submit two sets of evidence demonstrating your effective and consistent creation of effective invitations for student writing. You will also complete a written or video reflective analysis.

A fee of $20.00 will be assessed once the microcredential is submitted for review.

An effective writing prompt can help students understand the upcoming writing task in a general way and help remind them of important due dates and general expectations for assessment. A common misconception is that the writing prompt should do the teaching for the writing task, that is, include everything that a writer would need to know or remember. Instead, a writing prompt should function as the outer ring of a target circle, setting up the general expectations in an interesting way, while the instruction and grading criteria that come later help to focus on the specific writing needs a writer would need to know through the process.

This microcredential partially fulfills competency 5.1 for the ELA endorsement. This microcredential will show that the candidate understands how to create an effective invitation for writing a specific genre in a way “to promote and support text creation” that engages students and prepares them in a general way for the writing task so that they can meet the assessment objectives. (ELA competency 5.1)

This microcredential also partially fulfills competency area 9 for the Secondary Literacy Intervention endorsement.

Important Terms
Writing Prompt :

A word, phrase, image, or passage could be considered a writing prompt when it is presented to give the writer ideas for writing. However, in this case, the term means the formal invitation to write something that will help the writer develop as a writer and will be graded for learning and mastery of skills. Usually, this type of formal prompt is an invitation for writing that will work through the entire writing process.

Writing Process:

The writing process is a recursive process that includes any strategies the writer needs to move from the first thought of writing until the writing is “published” in whatever form that takes (private or public), including prewriting, inquiry, drafting, revising, and editing. A lot of writing does not use the entire writing process but only limited parts of it. For instance, a text message might have drafting and a quick edit, whereas a college application essay will go through multiple iterations of each element of the writing process. For the purposes of this microcredential, the writing prompt submitted should be designed for a piece of writing that will develop multiple skills and, therefore, use the complete writing process. Usually writing that goes through the entire writing process is meant to be assessed in a summative way, that is, meant to evaluate mastery of learning objectives.

Background Scenario / How This Will Help You

The teacher has had students explore a variety of mentor texts, helping students create a list of the expected traits of the writing task they will be engaging in the coming weeks. Now that they have built this foundational knowledge, she needs to present the writing task to them. She wants it to be engaging, so she considers her tone in writing the prompt. She also considers where students might have choices (in topic? In genre? In elements of process? In collaboration? etc.). She wants them to know when the major due dates are--is there an expected time when a draft will be due in class for peer feedback? Is there going to be a formal presentation day? Will there be some outside inquiry (interviews, etc.?) that needs to be completed by a certain day?

As she drafts the prompt, the teacher needs to consider how much information students need to have at this time and how much she can present later. She doesn’t want to overwhelm the students with too much information, and she needs to make the content, tone, and visual elements all appealing as she wants all students to feel that this writing task is one that they can do, one that they will want to try, instead of feeling that the task is too much or too boring or too hard. She also needs to consider clarity for student understanding--and balance those student needs with the state and district standards and objectives. Considering this balance, she crafts what she considers a prompt with enough information to get the big picture but also to encourage students to engage in this writing task.

Evidence Options
Be sure to submit the type and number of pieces of evidence specified below.
Category: Preparation and Planning

Submit the evidence below to demonstrate your effective and consistent preparation and planning for invitations for student writing.

Learning Intentions and Success Criteria:

Submit a writing prompt you have designed and used as a part of your instruction with students. Include annotation to explain three of the choices made in designing the prompt that show understanding of effective writing principles throughout the writing process. Include references to the research base on effective writing instruction to justify your choices. See the Resources section of this microcredential for examples of sources to cite.

Category: Implementation

Submit BOTH of the evidence items below to demonstrate your effective and consistent implementation of effective invitations for student writing.


Submit a video of your instruction in which you share the writing prompt you submitted with students. Include a written or recorded narrative description of how students responded to the prompt:

  • Were they interested?
  • Did they have lots of questions unanswered by the prompt?
  • Did they seem to have more positive or negative responses to the prompt?
  • How did the student responses shape your future plans for instruction?

Be sure to follow your district/charter policies for student privacy.

Student Work:

Submit three examples of student writing to the prompt that demonstrate the range of possible responses students had to the prompt (shorter/longer, funnier/more serious, pushing boundaries of genre, etc.). The goal here is not to show a range of student writing quality but to show possibilities the prompt allowed for or encouraged. Add a short reflection about how these examples were representative of the range of responses students had to the prompt:

  • Was the range acceptable or not?
  • Why might the prompt have allowed for the range?
  • How did the prompt encourage students to work toward a product that will meet the desired objectives and summative assessment?

Be sure to follow your district/charter policies for student privacy.

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: The writing prompt is clear, engaging, and focused. It informs students of the larger task and important components in the writing process as well as indicates the primary objectives and goals of the writing task in a positive tone.

Criterion 2: The student samples and video reflect a good range of responses to the prompt to show how the prompt moved students toward effective text production or may have hindered students in some way from meeting the goals and objectives.

Criterion 3: The reflective components of the submissions demonstrate thoughtful understanding of how an effective writing prompt can set up students for successful creation of a text.

Reflection Prompts

How have you seen the use of effective writing prompts help students move through the writing process toward creating texts?

What have you learned about constructing effective writing prompts from the responses you received to your prompt?

What is one thing you would change on your prompt to make it even more effective for future use?

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Reflections demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the place of effective prompts in creating student engagement in writing.

Criterion 2: Reflections demonstrate thoughtful implementation in the past and consideration of potential improvements for this practice in the future.

Criterion 3: Reflection makes an effective connection between the writing prompt and assessment of objectives and standards.

NWP (2011, July 11). Writing Assignment Framework and Overview. NWP.

This document walks teachers through the questions to ask in preparing a writing task and helps them consider all aspects in creating a writing prompt.

University of Michigan, Sweetland Center for Writing. “Creating Good Assignment Prompts”.

Although this chapter is part of a larger set of chapters on teaching first-year writing, this specific chapter deals with general principles related to creating good assignment prompts.

Gardner, T. (2008). Designing Writing Assignments. NCTE.

In this online book, Traci Gardner defines the process of standards-based writing assignment design and assessment with a research-based approach, including sections covering the following topics:

  1. The Essentials of an Effective Writing Assignment
  2. Putting Beliefs into Practice
  3. Designing Writing Assignments
  4. Defining New Tasks for Standard Writing Activities
  5. Preparing for Standardized Testing
  6. More Writing Assignment Resources

ISBN: 978-0-8141-1085-0

Position Statement on Writing Instruction in School

NCTE and its constituent groups have developed position statements on a variety of education issues vital to the teaching and learning of English language arts.

Courtney Bergman

Courtney Bergman
Ema Griffin

Ema Griffin
Troy Mecham

Troy Mecham
Utah State Board of Education logo

250 East 500 South

Salt Lake City, UT 84111-3204

Phone: 801.538.7807 

© Copyright 2024 Utah State Board of Education