Minnesota’s state standards for high school students serve as a minimal expectation for college-level essays:
Minnesota’s Language Arts Standards for Grades 9–12, Part II: Writing
B: Elements of Composition
The student will engage in a writing process with attention to audience, organization, focus, quality of ideas, and a purpose.
- Generate, gather, and organize ideas for writing.
- Develop a thesis and clear purpose for writing.
- Make generalizations and use supporting details.
- Arrange paragraphs into a logical progression.
- Revise writing for clarity, coherence, smooth transitions and unity.
- Apply available technology to develop, revise and edit writing.
- Generate footnotes, endnotes and bibliographies in a consistent and widely accepted format.
- Revise, edit and prepare final drafts for intended audiences and purposes.
C: Spelling, Grammar, and Usage
The student will apply standard English conventions when writing.
- Understand the differences between formal and informal language styles and use each appropriately.
- Use an extensive variety of correctly punctuated sentences for meaning and stylistic effect.
- Edit writing for correct grammar, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, verb tense, sentence structure, and paragraphing to enhance clarity and readability:
- a. Correctly use reflexive case pronouns and nominative and objective case pronouns, including who and whom.
- b. Correctly use punctuation such as the comma, semicolon, colon, hyphen, and dash.
- c. Correctly use like/as if, any/any other, this kind/these kinds, who/that, and every/many when they occur in a sentence.
- d. Correctly use verb forms with attention to subjunctive mood, subject/verb agreement, and active/passive voice.
- e. Correctly use the possessive pronoun before the gerund.
Source: http://education.state.mn.us/content/072367.doc (accessed 7 Jan. 2005)