The district I work in requires every student (7th-12th grade) to write an essay using the same prompt once a semester. We as teachers don't necessarily get to see the prompt or resources for the essay before we give it to the students so we aren't "teaching to the test." What they do tell us is the type of essay (either an Informative or Argument essay)
I teach my students the process of writing both Informative and Argument essays before they are assigned the essay from the school district.
My students write an Argument essay for me and then I pass it back with my comments and they complete this extensive reflection before they write the district assigned essay.
I noticed that before I had my students complete this reflection, they did not score as well on the district assigned essay. Just seeing my comments without any task related to getting their essay back did not necessarily help them on the district assigned essay.
I believe that this reflection helped them tremendously in figuring out what they needed to improve on before writing the district assigned essay.
This is easily able to be edited by the teacher to fit the student and teacher needs.