Eligibility:  Juniors in the current academic school year are eligible to be nominated by their school’s English department. Nominations should be based on whether the writer exhibits the power to inform and move an audience through control of a wide range of the English language. Entries are only accepted from teachers.

Schools in the United States, Canada, Virgin Islands and American Schools Abroad are eligible to nominate students. Nominating schools must be US accredited.

The number of nominees allowed from each school is determined by the current total enrollment in grades 10, 11, and 12. The enrollment figure used must be from an official administrative report of the current year and must not include ninth-grade students.

Use the following guide for nominations:

  • Under 500 students: 1 nominee
  • 500–999 students: 2 nominees
  • 1,000–1,499 students: 3 nominees
  • 1,500–1,999 students: 4 nominees
  • 2,000–2,499 students: 5 nominees
  • 2,500–2,999 students: 6 nominees
  • 3,000–3,999 students: 7 nominees
  • 4,000 or more students:8 nominees

 

Award Specifics:  Nominated students must submit two writings (best and themed).

  1. Best Writing – one sample which the student considers her or his best work. The best writing may be in any genre or combination of genres (poetry, narrative, argument, expository). An excerpt from a larger piece of writing by the student is acceptable with a paragraph explaining the piece from which the excerpt was taken. Maximum length for the best writing is six (6) pages. The student’s name and “Best” must appear in the upper left-hand corner of each page.
  2. Themed Writing – must be written based on the topic developed by the Achievement Awards Advisory Committee. Maximum length for the theme writing is four (4) pages. The student’s name and “Themed” must appear in the upper left-hand corner of each page.

 

General Directions for Best and Themed Writing:

  • One teacher completes one entry form per student and uploads the student’s papers as only one file. The maximum length for the best writing is six (6) pages; the maximum length for the themed writing is four (4) pages. Total of ten (10) pages.
  • The student’s name and “Best” or “Theme” must appear in the upper left-hand corner of each page.
  • The page number must appear in the upper right-hand corner of each page.
  • The school’s name must not appear on the paper or within the body of writing.
  • Please use legible type – no smaller than 11 or 12 point.
  • Double space with one inch margins on all sides. This does not apply to poetry.
  • Research papers, term papers, and novels will not be accepted.
  • Late entries will not be accepted.

 

Judging:  Teams of teachers across the nation will judge entries using a secure judging site. Entries with top scores will be selected for the superior writing award.

Educators and students: Note that the evaluation criteria have been revised. We will be revising the rubric that judges will use in light of the new criteria. We suggest you prepare submissions with the revised criteria in mind.

Below are the guidelines by which your writing will be evaluated by the NCTE judges. Keep these guidelines in mind as you draft and revise:

1. Expression of Ideas

  • Writing suggests/ conveys meanings; reflects strong thinking

  • Thematic meaning(s) effectively controlled

  • Themed writing responds to the stated prompt

  • Piece is unified, and builds upon itself, even if the structure is untraditional

  • Sense of clarity of purpose, completeness, and closure

2.  Language Use

  • Writing style appropriate to content and genre

  • Writing reflects mastery of technical aspects of writing (e.g., control over punctuation and syntax)

  • Writer uses language powerfully, via apt/ original word choice, unique phrasing

  • Strong flow produced via syntactical control and variation

  • Writer effectively employs detail, evocative language, and/or imagery to enliven writing and to express ideas

3. Unique Perspective and Voice

  • Uniqueness of writer is evident through stylistic choices

  • Writing conveys unique, authentic, original perspective

  • Style conveys unique, authentic, original voice

 

Awards:  Results are announced in May. Students judged for superior writing are awarded a superior writing certificate and letter which are provided to the nominating teacher to present to the winning student. In addition, their name and school’s name appear on the NCTE website. All nominated students receive a recognition certificate and letter which are provided to the nominating teacher to present to the student.

*Late entries can not be considered.

 

For more information contact aa@ncte.org.

2017 Award Winners

This year, 517 juniors were nominated. Of that number, 106 received Certificates for Superior Writing and 411 received Certificates of Nomination. Each student submitted two pieces of writing, which were read by national judges. Papers were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

*No winners

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii*

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa*

Missouri

Montana*

Nebraska

Nevada*

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico*

New York

North Carolina*

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina*

South Dakota*

Tennessee

Texas

Utah*

Vermont*

Virginia

Washington State*

West Virginia*

Wisconsin*

Wyoming*

2016 Award Winners

This year, 533 juniors were nominated. Of that number, 118 received Certificates for Superior Writing and 415 received Certificates of Nomination. Each student submitted two pieces of writing, which were read by national judges. Papers were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

*No winners

Delaware*

District of Columbia*

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa*

Kansas

Kentucky*

Louisiana

Maine*

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi*

Texas

Utah

Vermont*

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*

2015 Award Winners

This year, 650 juniors were nominated. Of that number, 141 received Certificates for Superior Writing and 509 received Certificates of Nomination. Each student submitted two pieces of writing, which were read by national judges. Papers were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

*No winners

American Schools Abroad*

Canada*

Alabama

Alaska*

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota*

Tennessee

Texas

Utah*

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*

2014 Award Winners

This year, 796 students were nominated. Of that number, 164 received Certificates for Superior Writing and 632 received Certificates of Nomination. Each student submitted two pieces of writing, which were read by national judges. Papers were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

*No winners

American Schools Abroad*

Canada*

Alabama

Alaska*

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina

South Dakota*

Tennessee

Texas

Utah*

Vermont*

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*

2013 Award Winners

*No winners

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky*

Louisiana

Maine*

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi*

Missouri

Montana*

Nebraska*

Nevada*

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico*

New York

North Carolina

2012 Award Winners

*No winners

American Schools Abroad*

Canada

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona*

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina

South Dakota*

Tennessee

Texas

Utah*

Vermont*

Virgin Islands*

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*