Thursday, September 15, 2011

Essay Writing Rubrics

Interpreting one's writing quality is often a value based judgment: even amongst professionals no author receives universal approval.  So as a teacher required to evaluate the quality of students' writing, it is important to have a clearly defined rubric that will add objectivity to the process. 

Essay Writing Rubrics

When planning a unit of writing instruction, it is best to focus on a few skills.  Model these skills for the students and give them practice activities to develop these skills, then assess their writing based on their mastery of those skills.  In other words, if you don't teach students comma rules, then don't assess them on their ability to use commas.  Such a practice is both unfair for the students and complicates the evaluation process for the teacher.

Focus on:
  •  Structure - if the students uses topics sentences or adheres to an organizational pattern that you are requiring.
  •  Formatting - I require my 7th and 8th grade students to use most of the MLA style conventions.  I don't accept 20 point cursive fonts, pictures, or glitter.  This will prepare them for future essay writing.
  • Object of Instruction - This will vary: if I am teaching narrative writing, I usually teach and require climaxes or turning points in students' stories.  I also require attention catchers and closing statements.
 Depending on how you are teaching your writing unit and what skills you find to be the most important for your students, you will most likely require a customized rubric.  If you are looking for a good place to start you can visit my website: I have created a variety of essay writing rubrics that you are free to use and/or modify.  

1 comment:

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