English Assessment

English Language Arts: Comprehensive Focus Assessment

Before beginning an English course, you are being asked to complete an assessment. Foundational skills in senior high school English include sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling, reading comprehension, and vocabulary. This assessment will give you and your instructor an opportunity to identify any difficulties and address them with additional support.

Included in this assessment is Read Forward Level 3A (reading comprehension). You will be required to read the texts and answer the questions attached. Make sure to add as much detail to your answers for full marks. The texts included are:

  • Canada’s Senate
  • Canadian Fiddling

Lastly, you will be required to write an essay. You are given 28 essay topics to choose from. Please choose ONE topic to complete ONE essay. A sample essay is included to aide you. An essay rubric is also included. Please make sure to include all requirements from the rubric to gain full marks. Your essay should include an introduction, body (3 paragraphs), and a conclusion. Your essay will be marked on content, and mechanics as well.


Paragraph 1 – Introduction

The Introductory Paragraph should include the following elements:

  • Background Information – Enough information necessary for your reader to understand your topic
  • Topic (Thesis) Statement – Indicates your paper’s topic, makes your paper’s purpose clear, and provides an overview of the three main supporting points that will unify the essay. The topic statement is typically the last sentence.
  • If you are writing in response to a text, the introduction should include the title, author, and genre of that piece.

Paragraph 2 – Body Paragraph

  • Begins with a topic sentence that identifies one main idea that will be discussed as support or proof for the topic statement.
  • Supporting sentences use specific details, demonstrated through closely related examples or evidence, to expand and explain the main idea. Generally, a well-developed paragraph has at least five to eight sentences.
  • Paragraph unity means that all ideas in a paragraph are closely related to its topic sentence and further develop that topic sentence. That is, all sentences in a single paragraph must be unified around a central point or idea.

Paragraph 3 – Body Paragraph

  • This paragraph, and any subsequent body paragraph, should begin with a topic sentence that signals the reader that a new idea or point is being introduced.
  • As you organize your essay, keep in mind its coherence. Coherence refers to connections among paragraphs and ideas – the logical sequence of your thoughts.
  • Use transition words or phrases at the outset of your body paragraphs and to move from one idea to another within your paragraphs.
  • Have you transitioned logically from the main idea in the previous paragraph to this one? Are you making clear connections among the paragraphs and ideas? Be sure to think about coherence during the revision stage of the writing process.

Paragraph 4 – Body Paragraph

  • This paragraph begins with the final topic sentence that relates back to the remaining point mentioned in the topic statement. Each paragraph should contain a new main idea.
  • Again, flesh out this main idea with specific examples, detail, and relevant support.
  • Be sure to maintain paragraph unity. That is, each sentence must relate to your topic sentence.

Paragraph 5 – Conclusion

  • The conclusion revisits your overall purpose for writing and often invites your reader to consider the implications of why your ideas are significant.
  • The conclusion may restate the topic, summarize the papers major points, or leave the reader with a final thought to ponder. If you choose to restate the topic or summarize the essay’s main ideas, do not repeat the same wording from the introduction or body paragraphs. Remember not to introduce new, unrelated ideas in the conclusion.

Think of the introduction and conclusion as ‘bookends’ that serve to hold the essay tightly together. The introduction will ‘push’ into or initiate the examination of your topic and the angle you decide to focus on, while the conclusion will ‘pull’ tight all the ideas that you have gathered together for a unified essay.

– BCCC Training Centre –


Please choose a topic from below for your essay.

  1. Describe three strategies for combating stress.
  2. Discuss three things you hope to accomplish in the next ten years.
  3. Who benefits from lotteries or does it exploit the poor?
  4. The possible effects of videogames or violent toys on children.
  5. What the individual can do to help protect the environment.
  6. The effects of fast food on your health.
  7. Cell phones, television, computers . . . luxuries or necessities?
  8. The pros or cons of being vegetarian.
  9. Has credit affected your way of life?
  10. Is it possible for anger to ever be beneficial?
  11. What can be done to help prevent a marriage from ending in divorce?
  12. If children behave badly, should their parents accept responsibility and also be punished?
  13. Which of the four seasons of the year appeal to you the most?
  14. How great a role do you think ‘knowing the right people’ plays in getting ahead in school or work?
  15. Why are many people afraid of growing old?
  16. Why do some couples choose to live together without getting married?
  17. Why do you think pets are so important to people?
  18. Do movies or television influence people’s behaviour?
  19. List three strategies for improving a negative mood.
  20. If you could have a conversation with anyone (living or dead) who would you choose and why?
  21. Should colleges and universities be free to attend?
  22. Does Facebook or other forms of social media create isolation?
  23. Is society too dependent on technology?
  24. Should public transportation be free for all residents of a city?
  25. Most people want to be successful in life, yet success can be defined in different ways. In what ways can success be defined?
  26. There are many complaints about taxes, yet think about what would happen if there were no longer an income tax. Discuss the positive or negative effects of an income tax.
  27. For many years the nuclear family (father, mother, children), was considered to be the normal family pattern. Yet in many other cultures and in our own past, three generations – grandparents, parents and children – often have lived together. What are the advantages or disadvantages of three generations living together?
  28. Some people prefer to live in a small town and others in a big city. Which would you prefer?


My Happiest Day

The happiest day I can remember was my sixteenth birthday. My mom let me have a sweet sixteen party and I invited my friends from school to come to my house. Not only did I have a party, but my dad let me drive his car. Finally, the best part of that day was a surprise visit from my nana, who I hadn’t seen in a long time. A sweet sixteen party, the privilege of driving and a surprise visit made my sixteenth birthday the happiest day of my young life.

            My sweet sixteen party was a blast! I invited five of my closest friends to come to my house for pizza, movies, and a sleepover. The pizza delivery guy was a boy from school who I had a major crush on. He wished me a happy birthday! We stayed up long enough to watch the sky turn from black to every shade of grey, then blue. Satisfied with the spectacular sunrise and full of pepperoni pizza we finally surrendered to sleep. My sixteenth birthday party was an unforgettably rock’in good time.

            Dad let me drive his car for the very first time when I turned sixteen. I had just received my learner’s that morning and he let me drive us home. He must have really trusted me. Also, we had some errands to do that day and shopping for party supplies. I drove the car all day. Driving my dad’s car was a privilege I truly enjoyed the day I turned sixteen.

Finally, my sixteenth birthday was complete when my mom brought Nana home from the airport. I have always loved my nana dearly. For her to make the trip all the way from California just to see me was a wonderful birthday surprise. She stayed with us for two weeks. I was so happy to have her here with us. Nana’s visit was the best birthday present I could have asked for.

I have not yet had a happier day than the day I turned sixteen. A girl’s sixteenth birthday is not complete without a sweet sixteen party. Hanging out with my friends definitely made my birthday sweet. With a sixteenth birthday comes the privilege of driving. Cruising in Daddy’s car gave me an incredible sense of freedom. The highlight of this amazing day was a surprise visit from Nana. I was grateful she could make the long trip to be with me on my special day. I will always remember my sixteenth birthday as the happiest and most fulfilled day of my teenaged life.


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Outcome missingOutcome attemptedOutcome partially metOutcome metOutcome exceeded



       Topic Sentence is clear                                                            __________

        Intention is outlined                                                                  __________


At least 3 paragraphs / 1 aspect per paragraph                      __________

Clear topic sentences                                                              __________

Supporting details / examples                                                  __________

Concluding sentences refer to topic                                       __________


        Effective summary                                                                   __________

        New ideas are not introduced                                              __________


        Sentences are clear, complete, and varied                      __________

        Transitions and complex sentences are used                __________

        Ideas are presented in an effective sequence               __________

        Attempt to use varied vocabulary                                        __________


Grammar                                                                                          __________

Punctuation                                                                                     __________

Spelling                                                                                            __________

Essay is neat and easy to read                                                            __________

Sourcing (if needed):

At least 3 sources, cited correctly (in text and cited)                     __________ /12

                                                                                      Total:   __________ /64 or 76