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Detailed Essay Rubric

Grading rubrics can be of great benefit to both you and your students. For you, a rubric saves time and decreases subjectivity. Specific criteria are explicitly stated, facilitating the grading process and increasing your objectivity. For students, the use of grading rubrics helps them to meet or exceed expectations, to view the grading process as being “fair,” and to set goals for future learning.

In order to help your students meet or exceed expectations of the assignment, be sure to discuss the rubric with your students when you assign an essay. It is helpful to show them examples of written pieces that meet and do not meet the expectations. As an added benefit, because the criteria are explicitly stated, the use of the rubric decreases the likelihood that students will argue about the grade they receive. The explicitness of the expectations helps students know exactly why they lost points on the assignment and aids them in setting goals for future improvement.

  • Routinely have students score peers’ essays using the rubric as the assessment tool. This increases their level of awareness of the traits that distinguish successful essays from those that fail to meet the criteria. Have peer editors use the Reviewer’s Comments section to add any praise, constructive criticism, or questions.
  • Alter some expectations or add additional traits on the rubric as needed. Students’ needs may necessitate making more rigorous criteria for advanced learners or less stringent guidelines for younger or special needs students. Furthermore, the content area for which the essay is written may require some alterations to the rubric. In social studies, for example, an essay about geographical landforms and their effect on the culture of a region might necessitate additional criteria about the use of specific terminology.
  • After you and your students have used the rubric, have them work in groups to make suggested alterations to the rubric to more precisely match their needs or the parameters of a particular writing assignment.

SCORING RUBRIC FOR WRITTEN ESSAYS IN UPPER-LEVEL FL COURSES

SCORE CRITERIA

CONTENT:

37-40

Excellent to very good: knowledgeable; substantive, thorough development of the thesis, including appropriate examples; quotations are well chosen to support the argument; quotations are well integrated and presented correctly, good analysis and synthesis of the material; literary devices noted and analyzed, good use of comparison and contrast, critical inquiry and interpretation. Interpretation is imaginative and nuanced.

32-36

Good to average: some knowledge of the subject; adequate range of analysis and synthesis; limited thematic development and use of examples; mostly relevant to the topic, but lacks detail in critical interpretation of the material; quotations support the argument somewhat; quotations are adequately integrated, but may be too long or short. Interpretation shows some originality.

27-31

Fair to poor: limited knowledge of the subject; minimal substance, analysis and synthesis; poor thematic development, use of examples and critical interpretation of the material; inadequate use of quotations. Interpretation is predictable and/or unfocused.

23-26

Very poor: shows little or no knowledge of the subject; lacking analysis or synthesis of the material and lacking good examples; inadequate quantity; not relevant, or not enough to rate. Interpretation is overly predictable.

ORGANIZATION AND FORMAT:

27-30

Excellent to very good: clear statement of ideas; title that orients the reader to the thesis; clear organization (beginning, middle, and end) and smooth transitions; introduction leads reader into topic; conclusion effectively summarizes main findings and follows logically from the analysis presented, logical and cohesive sequencing both between and within paragraphs; quotations/footnotes properly cited; length, spacing, fonts, margins, numbered pages all carefully adhered to.

22-26

Good to average: main ideas clear but loosely organized or connected; title pertinent to the thesis; sequencing logical but incomplete; bibliographical material and formatting adequate.

17-21

Fair to poor: ideas not well connected; title too general; poor organization and transitions; logical sequencing and development lacking; formatting inadequate.

13-16

Very poor: ideas not communicated; no title; organization, sequencing and transitions lacking, or not enough to rate, formatting lacking.


GRAMMAR, VOCABULARY, AND FLUENCY:

18-20

Excellent to very good: fluent expression; accurate use of relatively complex structures; very few grammatical errors. Complex range of vocabulary; accurate word/idiom choice; mastery of word forms and expressions; appropriate level of usage.

14-17

Good to average: adequate fluency; simple constructions used effectively; some problems in use of complex constructions; some grammar and spelling errors.

10-13

Fair to poor: low fluency; significant mistakes in the use of complex constructions; frequent grammar and spelling errors, lack of accuracy interferes with meaning.

7-9

Very poor: lacks fluency; no mastery of simple sentence construction; text dominated by errors; does not communicate meaning, or not enough to rate.


SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS:

8-10

Excellent to very good: all supporting documents required are attached and appropriately labeled: 1) a typed first draft; 2) peer review and evidence that you have addressed these comments , 3) the checklist/reflective statement, and 4) final draft reflecting all previous work.

6-7

Good to average: checklist/reflective statement missing.

3-5

Fair to poor: Two of the supporting documents missing.

1-2

Very poor: Three of the supporting documents missing.

Late submissions will be penalized by 10 points/day, if an extension is not suggested or approved ahead of time by professor.

REMINDER TO STUDENTS:
ALL WORK SUBMITTED MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A SIGNED NC STATE ACADEMIC CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT HONOR PLEDGE. ANY VIOLATION OF THE PLEDGE WILL RESULT IN A FAILING GRADE FOR THE PAPER.


Adapted from: Hedgcock and Lefkowitz,“Collaborative Oral/Aural Revision in Foreign Language Writing Instruction”, Journal of Second Language Writing 1(3):255-76, 1992, cited in Scott, Rethinking Foreign LanguageWriting, 1995, p. 116.

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