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

Getting regarding the Same Page: the worthiness 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 employed by teachers to measure their students’ knowledge, understanding of concepts, and skills. The reason why are many, but perhaps the most crucial is the fact that the 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 little consensus among educators at any grade level about what constitutes effective writing, how it ought to be measured, if not how it ought to be taught.

One step toward solving this conundrum could be the consistent utilization of a general writing rubric that is analytic. An writing that is analytic, as with any rubrics, contains sets of criteria aligned to progressive levels 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 analytic rubric is 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 effective, however, the trained teachers using the rubric must agree with the characteristics of effective writing, and align their scoring so that they are all using the rubric’s criteria and score consistently. This result 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 using the same rubric. When teachers successfully align these normed essays to their scoring, they are also aligned with one another.

Through this calibration process, teachers arrive at clear, consistent expectations about the characteristics of effective writing—and, in doing so, 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 when you look at the article, “ Reading, Writing and Rubrics ,” calibrating and student that is scoring is a meaningful as a type of professional learning: “As teachers deepen their understanding of the characteristics of good writing … and how students’ mastery evolves with time… they became more insightful as diagnosticians and instructional decision makers.”

The consistent usage of a general analytic rubric across a group, department or school could be a significant component in blended and personalized learning.

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

  • clarify expectations for students and also make the process transparent that is grading
  • gather diagnostic information to plan instruction and design interventions for individual students;
  • give students personalized feedback that is formative each facet of their writing;
  • help students identify specific, reachable goals for the writing they’ve been to accomplish; and,
  • provide students with a framework through which they are able to read, analyze and ultimately emulate the types of effective writing.

Individually, students may use the rubric to:

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

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There was a period when using rubrics and calibrating teacher scoring required a lot of time, energy and paperwork—and the resulting data were hard to manage and analyze. Today, however, online applications streamline calibration, writing instruction, the use of rubrics to score student work, and also the collection of data that will measure student growth with time.

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

When teams of calibrated teachers use this general rubric that is analytic their very own students, they—and their students—share a standard comprehension of the weather of great writing so that all students take place to your same expectations, and also 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 a broad analytic writing rubric—used along with best practices in professional learning and instruction—can help students assume control of the writing so that they can clearly and consistently communicate their ideas.

About Sue Jacob

Sue Jacob is the Academic Director for AcademicMerit. As former school that is high teacher in Minneapolis, Sue has held many different teacher leadership roles, including mentor, teacher-leader for English curriculum and instruction, and author 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 process that Sue realized the powerful role writing plays in strengthening students’ critical thinking, a belief this is certainly in the middle of AcademicMerit’s academic and professional learning products.

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