Getting from the Same Page: the worth of Analytic Writing Rubrics

Getting from the Same Page: the worth of Analytic Writing Rubrics

Writing—whether a persuasive essay, lab report, constructed response or research paper—is a consistent component of performance tasks that are most used by teachers to measure their students’ knowledge, understanding of concepts, and skills. The causes are many, but possibly the most crucial is the fact that very act of writing, which requires students to make feeling of information and ideas and also to express that understanding coherently, is itself a critical skill.

And yet, despite its importance, there is certainly consensus that is little educators at any grade level about what constitutes effective writing, how it must be measured, or even how it should be taught.

One step toward solving this conundrum is the consistent utilization of an over-all writing rubric that is analytic. An writing that is analytic, like all rubrics, contains sets of criteria aligned to progressive quantities of performance. However, unlike a holistic writing rubric , which evaluates all criteria simultaneously to arrive at a single score, an analytic writing rubric separates the criteria into discrete elements, such as controlling ideas, organization, development, diction and conventions. One of several advantages of the rubric that is analytic that, in its most general form, it can be used with a variety of writing tasks—helping students learn the qualities of effective writing, regardless of subject area.

For such a writing rubric to be most reliable, however, the teachers with the rubric must agree on the characteristics of effective writing, and align their scoring so that they’re all applying the rubric’s criteria and score consistently. This outcome is best accomplished by teachers calibrating their scoring . The calibration process asks teachers to score a number of normed essays which were scored ahead of time by expert educators with the same rubric. When teachers successfully align these normed essays to their scoring, they are aligned with each other.

Through this calibration process, teachers arrive at clear, consistent expectations about the characteristics of effective writing—and, in doing this, develop a vocabulary that is common which to go over student make use of one another and their students. As Libby Baker, et al., explain into the article, “ Reading, Writing and Rubrics ,” calibrating and student that is scoring is a meaningful type of professional learning: “As teachers deepen their comprehension of the characteristics of good writing … and exactly how students’ mastery evolves over time… they became more insightful as diagnosticians and instructional decision makers.”

The consistent use of a general analytic rubric across a team, department or school could be an essential component in blended and learning that is personalized.

Within the classroom, teachers may use this rubric to:

  • clarify expectations for students while making the process transparent that is grading
  • Gather information that is diagnostic plan instruction and design interventions for individual students;
  • give students personalized feedback that is formative each element of their writing;
  • help students identify specific, reachable goals for the writing these are generally to perform; and,
  • provide students with a framework through which they could read, analyze and ultimately emulate the types of effective writing.

Individually, students may use the rubric to:

  • practice the language of this discipline by using the rubric’s terms, descriptors and criteria when discussing their own writing;
  • observe how writing that is good a process, not merely a task to accomplish;
  • reflect on and assess the quality of one’s own writing;
  • Set goals that are personal improvement; and,
  • Give feedback that is meaningful the writing of others.

There clearly was a period when utilizing rubrics and teacher that is calibrating required significant amounts of time, energy and paperwork—and the resulting data were tough to manage and analyze. Today, however, online applications streamline calibration, writing instruction, the use of rubrics to score student work, plus the number of data that will measure student growth as time passes.

At AcademicMerit , for example, you can expect an internet calibration tool called FineTune through which individual teachers can calibrate their scoring using our Common Core-aligned general analytic writing rubric. By using this application, teachers score real, anonymized student essays that have been previously scored and normed by expert educators. When a teacher’s scoring is been shown to be consistent with compared to the experts, s/he is considered calibrated not with just the experts, but additionally with some of the other teachers who have gone through this calibration process.

When teams of calibrated teachers utilize this general analytic rubric with their own students, they—and their students—share a typical knowledge of the elements of great writing so that all students are held to the same expectations, as well as the resulting data retains validity from teacher to teacher and from classroom to classroom.

In a blended-learning environment, the typical expectations communicated by a broad analytic writing rubric—used along with best practices in professional learning and instruction—can help students take close control of their writing so that they can clearly and consistently communicate their ideas.

About Sue Jacob

Sue Jacob may be the Academic Director for AcademicMerit. As former senior school English teacher in Minneapolis, Sue has held a number of teacher leadership roles, including mentor, teacher-leader for English curriculum and instruction, and writer of accelerated curriculum for advanced learners in grades 6-12. Sue received her National Board certification in 2005. It was during the National Board portfolio procedure that Sue realized the role that is powerful plays in strengthening students’ critical thinking, a belief that is in the middle of AcademicMerit’s academic and professional learning products.