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

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

And yet, despite its importance, there is consensus that is little educators at any grade level on what constitutes effective writing, how it should be measured, as well as how it ought to be taught.

One step toward solving this conundrum could be the consistent usage of a broad analytic writing rubric. An analytic writing rubric, as with any rubrics, contains sets of criteria aligned to progressive levels of performance. However, unlike a writing that is holistic , which evaluates all criteria simultaneously to arrive at a single score, an analytic writing rubric separates the criteria into discrete elements, such as for instance controlling ideas, organization, development, diction and conventions. Among the 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, no matter subject area.

For such a writing rubric to be most reliable, however, the trained 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 few normed essays which have been scored ahead of time by expert educators with the rubric that is same. When teachers successfully align their scoring with one of these normed essays, they are also aligned with one another.

Through this calibration process, teachers arrive at clear, consistent expectations in connection with characteristics of effective writing—and, in performing this, develop a vocabulary that is common which to go over student work with one another and their students. As Libby Baker, et al., explain within the article, “ Reading, Writing and Rubrics ,” calibrating and scoring student work 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 utilization of a general analytic rubric across a team, department or school could be an essential component in blended and personalized learning.

When you look at the classroom, teachers can use this rubric to:

  • clarify expectations for students and work out the grading process transparent;
  • safe

  • Gather information that is diagnostic plan instruction and design interventions for individual students;
  • give students personalized formative feedback on each element of their writing;
  • help students identify specific, reachable goals for the writing these are generally to complete; and,
  • provide students with a framework through which they are able to read, analyze and ultimately emulate the models of effective writing.

Individually, students may use the rubric to:

  • practice the language for the discipline using the rubric’s terms, descriptors and criteria when discussing their very own writing;
  • observe how writing that is good a process, not simply a job to perform;
  • think about and evaluate the quality of one’s own writing;
  • Set goals that are personal improvement; and,
  • give meaningful feedback on the writing of others.

There was clearly a time when making use of rubrics and calibrating teacher scoring required a great deal of time, energy and paperwork—and the resulting data were difficult to manage and analyze. Today, however, online applications streamline calibration, writing instruction, the application of rubrics to score student work, additionally the number of data that can measure student growth over time.

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

When teams of calibrated teachers make use of this general analytic rubric with their own students, they—and their students—share a common comprehension of the elements of good writing in order for all students take place towards 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 most popular expectations communicated by an over-all analytic writing rubric—used along with best practices in professional learning and instruction—can help students take over of the writing for them to clearly and consistently communicate their ideas.

About Sue Jacob

Sue Jacob may be the Academic Director for AcademicMerit. As former school that is high 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 through the National Board portfolio process that Sue realized the role that is powerful plays in strengthening students’ critical thinking, a belief this is certainly in the centre of AcademicMerit’s academic and professional learning products.