Judging Criteria

InvestWrite Topic For Grades 9-12, Fall 2016

The maximum number of words in the essay for this grade division is 1000 and the minimum is 500.


“Buy what you know” is one of the best-known strategies attributed to investment guru Peter Lynch. However, according to Lynch, it is a misquote. Speaking recently with Wall Street Journal reporter Chana Schoenberger, Lynch says, “I’ve never said, ‘If you go to a mall, see a Starbucks and say it’s good coffee, you should call Fidelity brokerage and buy the stock.’” He recommends a blended approach to investing. He suggests starting by recognizing popular companies and then carefully doing the fundamental and technical analysis to support a smart investment decision: “If you can’t understand the balance sheet, you probably shouldn’t own it.”

Writing Assignment:

Reflect back to your first days of SMG and what companies came to mind when you were considering your first trade. Explain what strategy you used to select your first SMG investment. Did you “invest in what you know,” conduct research and analysis, or take a “blended” approach? Did this help you grow your portfolio? Now, using the “blended” approach favored by Peter Lynch, select a stock, bond, or mutual fund that would make a good long-term investment. Describe “what you know” about this investment, what fundamental and technical analysis you’ve used to reinforce your recommendation, and why you consider this investment a best choice. Be sure to cite your sources.

Guidelines and Directions

Six easy steps to walk you through InvestWrite:

FIRST, what you need to know about InvestWrite entries:

  • You may submit no more than 10 entries from any classroom and only one entry per student. If you have more than one class participating in The Stock Market Game program you may submit up to 10 entries per class.
  • All submitted entries must address the contest assignment as stated on this website.
  • Each entry must be an original work, representing the student's own research, thinking, and writing.
SECOND, share these InvestWrite GUIDELINES with your students:

Each student may submit only one entry with the following word counts:

  • maximum 800 words for 4-5 grade (minimum 300 words)
  • maximum 900 words for 6-8 grade (minimum 400 words)
  • maximum 1000 words for 9-12 grade (minimum 500 words)

The title chosen by each student (excluding the author's name) must appear at the top of the first page of the text. If references are cited, include them following the last page of the text. (Please note: only the body of the essay will be included in the word count, the title and the works cited will not count against the specified word limit.)

  • The format for references or works cited can be chosen by the teacher.
  • Identification of the student or teacher in the essay will result in disqualification.
  • Since the judges will base their decision on the author's understanding of the subject matter, rationale, and writing style, please do the same when you judge. View judging criteria.
  • All essays must be submitted in plain text; no charts, graphs or symbols will be accepted.
THIRD, discuss the background with your class and assign the due date. Make sure you give yourself enough time to read and select entries before the InvestWrite online submission deadline December 14, 2016.

FOURTH, read the InvestWrite entries and choose no more than ten entries per class to submit on behalf of your students. Each entry must be entered onto the InvestWrite website to be eligible. Simply cut and paste the entry from any word processing application.

FIFTH, in addition to student entries, please be prepared for online submissions by making additional copies of this page and compiling the following information for online submission:
  • Teacher's name
  • Teacher's Stock Market Game login ID and password
  • Teacher's personal telephone number and email address
  • School name, physical address and phone number
  • Student's first name and last initial
  • Student's Stock Market Game team login ID
  • Additional information may be required at the time of submittal

This information will help us contact InvestWrite award winners!

SIXTH, return to www.InvestWrite.org to submit your top ten, teacher-judged entries for each class beginning September 12, 2016. The deadline to submit InvestWrite entries is December 14, 2016.

If you plan to participate, please help us by completing our "quick-and-easy" pre-registration form. Pre-Register now!

Eligibility and Judging Criteria:
  • Teachers and students must be currently enrolled in the Fall 2016 or the 2015-2016 year-long session of the Stock Market Game program. Teachers with classes must have a valid login ID and password. Student entries will require a valid team ID.
  • Judges will base their decisions on the author's understanding of the subject matter, rationale, and writing style.
  • The national judges' panel consists of selected Stock Market Game program staff that represents the SIFMA Foundation.
  • InvestWrite entries that do not meet the criteria in the Guidelines will not be considered.
  • InvestWrite entries will not be returned to the author.
  • SIFMA Foundation reserves the right to edit, publish, disseminate, and otherwise use all entries at their discretion.

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