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A Sample Rubric for Grading Student Writing

All written work should be assessed using a rubric. Using a set of criteria linked to standards not only allows for uniform evaluation, but helps students understand what is important about an assignment and encourages them to reflect on their work.

Introduction

The rubric below is designed for ninth grade cross-curricular writing, but educators at any grade level can develop their own rubrics using these as a guide.

Start with a four-point rubric: Exemplary (4), Proficient (3), Zone of Proximal Development (2), and Significant Reteaching (1). When developing rubrics, begin by describing the criteria for proficient — not average — work. It’s impossible to know what is Exemplary or Zone of Proximal Development writing without first determining what students need to know and be able to do to be considered proficient.

A General Writing Rubric

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  Exemplary Proficient Zone ofProximal Development SignificantReteaching
Structureof Argument Thesis statement is appropriate and concise; supporting evidence is well-chosen and transparently leads the reader through the argument. Thesis statement is clear and there is appropriate supporting evidence to lead the reader through the argument effectively. Thesis statement is partial, non-analytical, or wishy-washy; there is some supporting evidence, and some attempt to lead the reader through the argument. There is no clear thesis statement, no clear supporting evidence, and no organizational structure.
Use of Language The language is sophisticated, precise, and appropriate for the purpose, audience, and subject area; uses precise subject-area and general vocabulary, and formal academic language with appropriate style and voice. The language is appropriate for the purpose, audience, and subject area: relevant general and subject-area vocabulary; formal academic language; and suitable transition language. Language is often, but not always, appropriate for the purpose, audience, and subject area. Language is inappropriate for the purpose, audience, and subject area.
Knowledge of Concept/ Facts Author accurately describes, explains, and incorporates sophisticated subject-area facts and concepts. Author accurately describes, explains, and applies useful subject-area facts and concepts. Author partially describes, explains, and uses pertinent subject-area facts and concepts. Little or no description, explanation, or application of appropriate subject-area facts and concepts included.
Qualityof Ideas Makes unusual connections between and among ideas and concepts, applies and extends ideas discussed in class to real-world examples. Writer makes appropriate connections between and among ideas and concepts, transfers ideas discussed in class to real-world examples. Writer makes some connections between and among ideas and concepts and attempts to apply ideas, which may or may not be relevant or appropriate, to real-world examples. No or irrelevant connections between and among ideas and concepts and no effort made to apply ideas discussed in class to real-world examples.