More troublesome is what the 5-paragraph essay does to the writing process.
Even the old-fashioned “book report” is superior to the 5-paragraph essay as a tool for developing writers and writing, as it embraces audience and purpose, i.e., tell someone about the book you just read and whether or not they should read it too.
A book report is the solution to a genuine writing-related problem.
Despite the fact that, as Shakespeare said, "the pen is mightier than the sword," the pen itself is not enough to make an effective writer.
In fact, though we may all like to think of ourselves as the next Shakespeare, inspiration alone is not the key to effective essay writing.
Before you even get to this thesis statement, for example, the essay should begin with a "hook" that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read on.
Examples of effective hooks include relevant quotations ("no man is an island") or surprising statistics ("three out of four doctors report that…").
So let’s free ourselves from the 5-paragraph essay.
Yes, the aftermath may be a little messy and the testing companies will have to think of something else – a feature, not a bug as far as I’m concerned – but we might just realize that good writing requires a lot of curiosity, and at least a little bit of freedom.  Ask your students how many of them do the “right-click” thesaurus trick on their essays, where they swap in 10 dollar words suggested by their software in order to raise the apparent sophistication of the vocabulary in the essay.
That day, I learned that writers need to be careful with their words because if someone is asked to follow them, things can go very very wrong. Goldman was teaching us a number of different things, genre awareness, audience, structure and sequencing.
None of it had anything to do with a standardized assessment. Most of all, we were absorbing the lesson that above all, writing is done for audiences.