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A Sample Rubric for Grading Student Writing

By: Amy Rukea Stempel (2010)

In this article:

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

Download a printer-friendly version of this rubric >

  Exemplary Proficient Zone of
Proximal Development
Significant
Reteaching
Structure
of 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.
Quality
of 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.