Quill currently has 9 different assessments you can assign to determine which writing skills your students need to work on (you can find and assign them in our "Assign Activities" tab). All of these assessments will generate recommendations for practice based on your students’ needs. There are 3 general diagnostics, 2 diagnostics for English Language Learners, and 4 writing skills surveys that were developed in partnership with College Board®.

After students complete a diagnostic or survey, you will be able to see their scores, responses to each question, average scores across classes for each question, and a recommendations report. The recommendations report will suggest a series of activity packs to assign each student based on their individual performance on the assessment. Each recommended pack contains about 4 to 7 activities (this varies), which are designed to take 10-15 minutes to complete. Each recommended pack provides scaffolded, sequenced practice on one of the skills addressed in the diagnostic/survey. You can assign all of the packs in one click, or you can pick and choose, revisiting the recommendations report to assign more packs as needed. This article explains how to assign recommended packs.

Here’s some information about the differences between the various diagnostics and surveys:

The Starter Diagnostic

Who was it designed for?

  • Middle or high school students who need a refresher in the basics.
  • Middle or high school students who are new to Quill or new to sentence combining.
  • Elementary school students who are learning the basics for the first time.

What skills does it cover?

  • Capitalization
  • Plural nouns
  • Subject and object pronouns
  • Possessive nouns and pronouns
  • Irregular past tense verbs
  • Simple subject-verb agreement
  • Positive, comparative, and superlative adjectives
  • Adverbs of manner
  • Commas in dates and after introductory words
  • Prepositions and prepositional phrases

How many questions are there and how long will it take students to complete?

  • There are 25 questions. The diagnostic should take students about 30-40 minutes to complete.

The Intermediate Diagnostic

Who was it designed for?

  • Upper elementary, middle, or high school students who have completed the Starter Diagnostic and the recommended follow-up practice.
  • Middle or high school students who have mastered the basics (like adverbs, prepositions, and capitalization) and are ready to work on constructing sentences to express relationships.

What skills does it cover?

  • Compound subjects, objects, and predicates
  • Simple parallel structure
  • Pronouns in compound subjects and objects
  • Compound sentences
  • Complex sentences
  • Conjunctive adverbs
  • Cumulative adjectives
  • Coordinate adjectives
  • Plural possessives
  • Subject-verb agreement with indefinite pronouns and collective nouns
  • Commonly confused words

How many questions are there and how long will it take students to complete?

  • There are 25 questions. The diagnostic should take students about 30-40 minutes to complete.

The Advanced Diagnostic

Who was it designed for?

  • Students who have completed the Intermediate Diagnostic and the recommended follow-up practice.
  • Students who are familiar with sentence combining.
  • Students who have mastered basic sentence construction like writing compound and complex sentences.

What skills does it cover?

  • Compound-complex sentences
  • Relative clauses
  • Appositive phrases
  • Participial phrases
  • Advanced parallel structure
  • Advanced sentence combining

How many questions are there and how long will it take students to complete?

  • There are 15 questions. The diagnostic should take students about 30-40 minutes to complete.

The ELL Diagnostic 1: Entering and Emerging

Who was it designed for?

  • Quill's ELL Diagnostic 1: Entering and Emerging is designed specifically for new English Language Learners seeking to build foundational grammar skills.
  • Directions are available in Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Simplified), Japanese, Korean, Urdu, Tagalog (Filipino), Vietnamese, Russian, Thai, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Dari (Eastern Farsi), Arabic, and Hindi to provide extra support; however, the assessment is appropriate for native speakers of any language.

What skills does it cover?

  • Simple verb conjugation (to be, to want, and to have)
  • Articles
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Simple word order
  • Singular vs plural nouns
  • Yes/No questions
  • Adjective placement

How many questions are there and how long will it take students to complete?

  • There are 22 questions. The diagnostic should take students about 30-40 minutes to complete.

The ELL Diagnostic 2: Developing and Expanding

Who was it designed for?

  • English Language Learner students who are comfortable with all of the skills in the ELL Diagnostic 1: Entering and Emerging.
  • Directions are available in Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Simplified), Japanese, Korean, Urdu, Tagalog (Filipino), Vietnamese, Russian, Thai, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Dari (Eastern Farsi), Arabic, and Hindi to provide extra support; however, the assessment is appropriate for native speakers of any language.

What skills does it cover?

This diagnostic is more difficult than the ELL Diagnostic 1: Entering and Emerging and covers the skills that tend to be particularly challenging for language learners:

  • Articles
  • Verb tense
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs
  • Prepositions
  • Capitalization
  • Compound sentences
  • Complex sentences

How many questions are there and how long will it take students to complete?

  • There are 22 questions. The survey should take students about 20-35 minutes to complete.

SpringBoard Writing Skills Survey

Who was it designed for?

  • Students in SpringBoard ELA grades 6-8.
  • Keep in mind that you may want ELL students in Pre-AP, AP, or SpringBoard courses to begin with an ELL Diagnostic.

What skills does it cover?

  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Pronoun-antecedent agreement
  • Compound subjects, objects, and predicates
  • Compound sentences
  • Complex sentences
  • Prepositional phrases
  • Verb tense
  • Subject and object pronouns
  • Commonly confused words

How many questions are there and how long will it take students to complete?

  • There are 25 questions. The survey should take students about 20-35 minutes to complete.

Which Quill diagnostic is this survey similar to?

  • The SpringBoard Writing Skills Survey has the most overlap (in terms of skills covered and follow-up practice recommended) with the Intermediate Diagnostic, although it also overlaps somewhat with the Starter Diagnostic.

Pre-AP Writing Skills Survey 1

Who was it designed for?

  • Students in Pre-AP English 1, Pre-AP English 2, and SpringBoard ELA grades 9 and 10.
  • Keep in mind that you may want ELL students in Pre-AP, AP, or SpringBoard courses to begin with an ELL Diagnostic.
  • Please note: We recommend you *first* assign Pre-AP® Writing Skills Survey 1 to your 9th or 10th graders. Survey 1 is the recommendation for BOTH 9th and 10th graders to ensure that no skill is glossed over.

What skills does it cover?

  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Pronoun-antecedent agreement
  • Compound subjects, objects, and predicates
  • Compound sentences
  • Complex sentences

How many questions are there and how long will it take students to complete?

  • There are 12 questions. The survey should take students about 10-20 minutes to complete.

Which Quill diagnostic is this survey similar to?

  • Pre-AP Writing Skills Survey 1 has the most overlap (in terms of skills covered and follow-up practice recommended) with the Intermediate Diagnostic.

Pre-AP Writing Skills Survey 2

Who was it designed for?

  • Students in Pre-AP English 1, Pre-AP English 2, and SpringBoard ELA grades 9 or 10 who have completed Pre-AP Writing Skills Survey 1 and all its recommended follow-up practice.

What skills does it cover?

  • Conjunctive adverbs
  • Relative clauses
  • Appositive phrases
  • Participial phrases
  • Parallel structure

How many questions are there and how long will it take students to complete?

  • There are 12 questions. The survey should take students about 10-20 minutes to complete.

Which Quill diagnostic is this survey similar to?

  • Pre-AP Writing Skills Survey 2 has the most overlap (in terms of skills covered and follow-up practice recommended) with the Intermediate Diagnostic and the Advanced Diagnostic.

AP Writing Skills Survey

What skills does it cover?

  • Complex sentences
  • Relative clauses
  • Appositive phrases
  • Participial phrases
  • Compound-complex sentences
  • Parallel structure
  • Advanced sentence combining

Who was it designed for?

  • Students in AP (any subject) and SpringBoard ELA grades 11-12.
  • You may also want to consider assigning this survey to students who have completed Pre-AP Writing Skills Survey 1 and 2 and all its recommended follow-up practice.
  • Keep in mind that you may want ELL students in Pre-AP, AP, or SpringBoard courses to begin with an ELL Diagnostic.

How many questions are there and how long will it take students to complete?

  • There are 17 questions. The survey should take students about 15-25 minutes to complete.

Which Quill diagnostic is this survey similar to?

  • The AP Writing Skills Survey has the most overlap (in terms of skills covered and follow-up practice recommended) with the Advanced Diagnostic. It also has some overlap with the Intermediate Diagnostic.

*AP®, Pre-AP®, and SpringBoard® are registered trademarks of College Board.*

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