Essay rubric structure

Reprinted with permission. Analytic rubrics describe work on each criterion separately. Holistic rubrics describe the work by applying all the criteria at the same time and enabling an overall judgment about the quality of the work. The top panel of Figure 1. For most classroom purposes, analytic rubrics are best. Focusing on the criteria one at a time is better for instruction and better for formative assessment because students can see what aspects of their work need what kind of attention.

Focusing on the criteria one at a time is good for any summative assessment grading that will also be used to make decisions about the future—for example, decisions about how to follow up on a unit or decisions about how to teach something next year. One classroom purpose for which holistic rubrics are better than analytic rubrics is the situation in which students will not see the results of a final summative assessment and you will not really use the information for anything except a grade.

Some high school final examinations fall into this category. Grading with rubrics is faster when there is only one decision to make, rather than a separate decision for each criterion. On balance, for most classroom purposes I recommend analytic rubrics. Therefore, most of the examples in this book will be analytic rubrics.

Before we leave holistic rubrics, however, I want to reemphasize the important point that all the criteria are used in holistic rubrics. You consider them together, but you don't boil down the evaluation to the old "excellent-good-fair-poor" kind of thinking along one general "judgment" dimension. True holistic rubrics are still rubrics; that is, they are based on criteria for good work and on observation of how the work meets those criteria.

General rubrics use criteria and descriptions of performance that generalize across hence the name general rubrics , or can be used with, different tasks. The tasks all have to be instances of the same learning outcome—for example, writing or mathematics problem solving. The criteria point to aspects of the learning outcome and not to features of any one specific task for example, criteria list characteristics of good problem solving and not features of the solution to a specific problem.

The descriptions of performance are general, so students learn general qualities and not isolated, task-specific features for example, the description might say all relevant information was used to solve the problem, not that the numbers of knives, forks, spoons, and guests were used to solve the problem.

Task-specific rubrics are pretty well described by their name: They are rubrics that are specific to the performance task with which they are used. Task-specific rubrics contain the answers to a problem, or explain the reasoning students are supposed to use, or list facts and concepts students are supposed to mention.

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The bottom panel of Figure 1. Why use general rubrics? General rubrics have several advantages over task-specific rubrics. General rubrics. Can be shared with students at the beginning of an assignment, to help them plan and monitor their own work.

preview rubric

Can be used with many different tasks, focusing the students on the knowledge and skills they are developing over time. Describe student performance in terms that allow for many different paths to success. Focus the teacher on developing students' learning of skills instead of task completion.

Do not need to be rewritten for every assignment. Can be shared with students at the beginning of an assignment.

General rubrics do not "give away answers" to questions. They do not contain any information that the students are supposed to be developing themselves. Instead, they contain descriptions like "Explanation of reasoning is clear and supported with appropriate details. They clarify for students how to approach the assignment for example, in solving the problem posed, I should make sure to explicitly focus on why I made the choices I did and be able to explain that.

Therefore, over time general rubrics help students build up a concept of what it means to perform a skill well for example, effective problem solving requires clear reasoning that I can explain and support. Can be used with many different tasks. Because general rubrics focus students on the knowledge and skills they are learning rather than the particular task they are completing, they offer the best method I know for preventing the problem of "empty rubrics" that will be described in Chapter 2.

Good general rubrics will, by definition, not be task directions in disguise, or counts of surface features, or evaluative rating scales. Because general rubrics focus students on the knowledge and skills they are supposed to be acquiring, they can and should be used with any task that belongs to the whole domain of learning for those learning outcomes.

Of course, you never have an opportunity to give students all of the potential tasks in a domain—you can't ask them to write every possible essay about characterization, solve every possible problem involving slope, design experiments involving every possible chemical solvent, or describe every political takeover that was the result of a power vacuum.

These sets of tasks all indicate important knowledge and skills, however, and they develop over time and with practice. Essay writing, problem solving, experimental design, and the analysis of political systems are each important skills in their respective disciplines. If the rubrics are the same each time a student does the same kind of work, the student will learn general qualities of good essay writing, problem solving, and so on.

If the rubrics are different each time the student does the same kind of work, the student will not have an opportunity to see past the specific essay or problem. The general approach encourages students to think about building up general knowledge and skills rather than thinking about school learning in terms of getting individual assignments done. Why use task-specific rubrics? Task-specific rubrics function as "scoring directions" for the person who is grading the work. Because they detail the elements to look for in a student's answer to a particular task, scoring students' responses with task-specific rubrics is lower-inference work than scoring students' responses with general rubrics.

For this reason, it is faster to train raters to reach acceptable levels of scoring reliability using task-specific rubrics for large-scale assessment. Similarly, it is easier for teachers to apply task-specific rubrics consistently with a minimum of practice. General rubrics take longer to learn to apply well.

However, the reliability advantage is temporary one can learn to apply general rubrics well , and it comes with a big downside. Obviously, task-specific rubrics are useful only for scoring. If students can't see the rubrics ahead of time, you can't share them with students, and therefore task-specific rubrics are not useful for formative assessment. That in itself is one good reason not to use them except for special purposes.

Task-specific rubrics do not take advantage of the most powerful aspects of rubrics—their usefulness in helping students to conceptualize their learning targets and to monitor their own progress. Rubrics are important because they clarify for students the qualities their work should have. This point is often expressed in terms of students understanding the learning target and criteria for success.


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For this reason, rubrics help teachers teach, they help coordinate instruction and assessment, and they help students learn. To write or select rubrics, teachers need to focus on the criteria by which learning will be assessed. This focus on what you intend students to learn rather than what you intend to teach actually helps improve instruction. The common approach of "teaching things," as in "I taught the American Revolution" or "I taught factoring quadratic equations," is clear on content but not so clear on outcomes.

Without clarity on outcomes, it's hard to know how much of various aspects of the content to teach. Rubrics help with clarity of both content and outcomes. Really good rubrics help teachers avoid confusing the task or activity with the learning goal, and therefore confusing completion of the task with learning. Rubrics help keep teachers focused on criteria, not tasks. I have already discussed this point in the section about selecting criteria. Focusing rubrics on learning and not on tasks is the most important concept in this book.

I will return to it over and over.

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It seems to be a difficult concept—or probably a more accurate statement is that focusing on tasks is so easy and so seductive that it becomes the path many busy teachers take. Penny-wise and pound-foolish, such an approach saves time in the short run by sacrificing learning in the long run.

Most rubrics should be designed for repeated use, over time, on several tasks. Students are given a rubric at the beginning of a unit of instruction or an episode of work. They tackle the work, receive feedback, practice, revise or do another task, continue to practice, and ultimately receive a grade—all using the same rubric as their description of the criteria and the quality levels that will demonstrate learning.

The first is an example of an essay at score point 4; the second is an example of an essay at score point 2. The commentary with each sample essay explains why the essay earned the score that it did. High school classes should not begin before a. The following essay earned a score of 4. The essay addresses the writing task in a competent manner. What time school should start is a topic debated by many.

Some people would like school to start later and some want it to stay the same as it is now. There are many advantages and disadvantages to starting school at am, but I believe school should start at an earlier time.

University Level Essay Rubric - GrammarBank

An advantage to starting school later is that, students would have more time to sleep. They could also do homework at night and if they did not finish it the night before they could wake up an hour earlier and finish it. Many studies have been done that show that when teens start school later they learn more.

That would seem to be a good reason to start schools later so that students can become smarter and do something in life. A main disadvantage to starting later would be getting out of school later. The students then would only have a couple of hours of sunlight to go outside. Students would also have to stay up later doing homework. If students participated in sports they would be playing at night and getting home late. They would do their homework and go to bed around midnight.

A later start would mean students would just stay up later at night. Students that had jobs would also be effected by a late start. They would only be able to work few hours as they would be getting out of school later in the day. The advantages for staying with the early start time is students get out of school earlier. They have time to go somewhere with their friends and relax, before going home and doing homework. Students who work or play sports have plenty of time to do both of those things.

One disadvantage of an early start is that many students may not pay attention in class because they are tired or come to school late because they wake up late or had to finish a project for a class. However, these are situations that a student can fix by going to bed earlier.

To me when you look at the advantages and disadvantages, starting school at an early time is better. I would not like getting out of school at or later. While the essay is now optional you don't automatically have to take it every time you take the SAT , s ome colleges still require students to submit SAT essay scores with their applications.

SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Learning how to consistently write a perfect SAT essay will be a huge boost to your application to these schools. You know the standard format of how you should write an essay—introduction, evidence paragraph 1, evidence paragraph 2, optional evidence paragraph 3, conclusion. You know that you should state your thesis in the introduction.

But how do you push your essay to the next level, from "adequate" to "outstanding? The perfect SAT essay is like a puzzle that happens to be in written form—it can be mastered, but to do it well and completely every time requires practice with a lot of sample topics. You need to learn the format of an effective essay and how to fill out a complete essay within 50 minutes. Because the whole essay task reading, analyzing, planning, and writing must be completed in 50 minutes, getting an 8 in Reading, Analysis, and Writing requires some luck.

A lot depends on how quickly you can come up with a thesis and relevant support for whatever the prompt happens to be—you might find some articles easier to read and analyze the argumentative structure of than others. You'll need to use precise language to show mastery of English writing. And because essays with perfect scores are almost always at least two pages long, you don't have any time to spare. Because the essay is so formulaic, it's always possible to get a 6 across the board. No college worth its salt is going to base your college admissions decision on getting those last two points on an essay you had 50 minutes to write especially when the essay is optional.

But you should aim as high as you can, so keep reading to find out what it really takes to get a perfect score on the SAT essay. If we asked the College Board what the difference is between a 6 and an 8 SAT essay, they would direct us to the scoring rubric that shows the criteria for a 1, 2, 3, and 4 in Reading, Analysis, and Writing. SAT essays are scored by two graders who each rate your essay on a scale of in Reading, Analysis, and Writing; the two graders' scores are added together to get scores out of 8 for each domain.

Below, we've excerpted the criteria for a 3 and a 4 in all three domains and described the differences between the 3 and 4 score levels for Reading, Analysis, and Writing. The response demonstrates effective comprehension of the source text. The response is free of substantive errors of fact and interpretation with regard to the text. The response makes appropriate use of textual evidence quotations, paraphrases, or both , demonstrating an understanding of the source text.

The response demonstrates thorough comprehension of the source text.

NHD Essay: Rubric and Example Essay Submission

The response is free of errors of fact or interpretation with regard to the text. The response makes skillful use of textual evidence quotations, paraphrases, or both , demonstrating a complete understanding of the source text. The response offers an effective analysis of the source text and demonstrates an understanding of the analytical task. The response contains relevant and sufficient support for claim s or point s made. The response focuses primarily on those features of the text that are most relevant to addressing the task.

The response offers an insightful analysis of the source text and demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the analytical task. The response contains relevant, sufficient, and strategically chosen support for claim s or point s made. The response focuses consistently on those features of the text that are most relevant to addressing the task.

The writer not only states the techniques used in the text, but also thoroughly explains their impact on the reader. The response is mostly cohesive and demonstrates effective use and control of language. The response includes a central claim or implicit controlling idea. The response includes an effective introduction and conclusion.

The response demonstrates a clear progression of ideas both within paragraphs and throughout the essay. The response has variety in sentence structures. The response demonstrates some precise word choice. The response maintains a formal style and objective tone. The response shows a good control of the conventions of standard written English and is free of significant errors that detract from the quality of writing.

The response is cohesive and demonstrates a highly effective use and command of language. The response includes a precise central claim.