This study aims to determine the use of discourse markers (DM) in the descriptive essay text of students in high school. This study uses a qualitative approach that is classified as a case study. Data in the form of students' descriptive essays were analyzed using descriptive analysis. The essay writing instrument has a validity value of 95% and a reliability value () of 0.8. Participants were 96 grade IX students in Balikpapan, Indonesia, aged between 14-15 years. The purposive sampling method is used to select participants. The participants in this school were chosen because they were accustomed to receiving assignments in writing essay descriptions by their teachers. The results of this study indicate that (1) distance order is the dominant type of DM that is elaborately utilized, followed by elaboration, temporal, contrast, comparison, reason, causal, conclusions, and examples in participants' description essays, (2) class categories of types such as elaboration, comparison, and contrast have not shown varied use of participants, (3) students' DM usage skills are inadequate because of their inability to distribute DM primarily from coordinating conjunctions to linguistic units appropriately, and the existence of multifunctional DM avoidance strategies. The findings of this study become an evaluation material in teaching writing to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the use of discourse markers of high school students. The researcher recommends for the next study to look more closely at the development of thoughts and skills in the use of DM in essay writing.
Discourse markers, Cohession and coherence, Descriptive essays