The Essay Rubric

(jarmoluk / Pixabay)

Exceptional Writer (90-100)
Organization:
Intro engages the reader fully and carefully establishes the context for the writer’s essay.
The intro leads down into a well- written thesis statement.
The body is written in multiple paragraphs (at least three proofs are advanced).
Each body paragraph opens with a topic sentence which employs transitional words or phrases.
The writer fully elaborates their ideas through the use of concrete text/historical references, statistical evidence, expert opinions, personal examples, logical comparisons, etc.

All text references are fully explained and the writer shows how they relate to the topic.
The writer shows mature logic.
The writer offers full, clear citation (credit) for ALL information taken from text sources (if a formal research paper).
The conclusion restates the thesis and then goes beyond to offer the writer’s “so what” leaving the reader with a vivid impression.

Conventions:
The spelling errors are almost invisible.
The grammar errors are almost invisible.
The sentence structure shows variety in both length and type of sentence.

Strong Writer (80-89)
Organization:
Intro engages the reader and establishes the context for the writer’s essay.
The intro leads down into a clearly-written thesis statement.
The body is written in multiple paragraphs (at least three proofs are advanced).
Each body paragraph opens with a topic sentence which employs transitional words or phrases.
The writer elaborates their ideas through the use of concrete text/historical references, statistical evidence, expert opinions, personal examples, etc. however all paragraphs may not be as equally well-developed or the analysis may be less insightful.
The writing maintains consistent logic.
The writer offers full, clear citation (credit) for ALL information taken from text sources (if a formal research paper).
The conclusion restates the thesis and then goes beyond to offer the writer’s “so what”.

Conventions:
Spelling errors are seen in harder, less frequently-used words; commonly-used words are correct
Grammatical errors are minor (or one type of error is repeated)
The sentence structure is solid and varied; sentencing errors are in more difficult places

Capable Writer (70-79)
Organization:
Intro may be formulaic or simplistic and does not begin with a clearly defined thesis statement.
Intro attempts to establish the context for the writer’s essay but may not be thorough.
The intro could lead down into a topic sentence.
The body is written in multiple paragraphs (at least two proofs are advanced).
Each body paragraph opens with a topic sentence; transitions may be very obvious.
The writer elaborates his ideas through use of text/historical references (they may be indirect rather than concrete quotations), statistical evidence, expert opinions, personal examples, etc.; however, all paragraphs may not be equally well-developed or the analysis may be very superficial .
The writing is generally logical.
The writer offers some form of citation (credit) for ALL information taken from text sources; citation may be very indirect but no evidence is presented without credit (if a formal research paper).
The conclusion restates the “thesis” and the writer may offer a weak “so what”.

Conventions:
The spelling is grade appropriate; errors are those typically seen in first-draft essays.
The grammar is appropriate; errors are visible but not serious.
The sentence structure is generally good; errors are not frequent; some sentence variety is used.

Developing Writer (60-69)
Organization:
Intro may be weak or the essay may simply begin by restating the prompt.
The writer at least attempts to establish the context for the essay (this may be a single sentence).
A topic sentence may be established .
The body may have multiple paragraphs but at least two proofs are advanced.
Any body paragraph presented opens with a topic sentence; there may be no transitions.
The writer may attempt to elaborate his ideas but the writing will probably be skimpy; there may be text/historical references but they may not fit logically with the writer’s purpose or the writer may over-cite and not offer sufficient original thinking.
The writer offers some form of citation (credit) for information taken from text sources even if it is nothing more than use of quotation marks; there is no direct plagiarism of language; word for word copying (if a formal research paper).
The conclusion restates the topic sentence or prompt verbatim.

Conventions:
The spelling is flawed but the essay is still readable; the spelling is not phonetic.
The grammar errors are highly visible but do not impede the reader.
The sentence structure is marginal; however, there are enough correct sentences that the writer shows at least minimal mastery of sentence structure.

Limited Writer (55-59)
Organization:
Intro may be weak or missing entirely .
There may not be an attempt to establish context for the essay.
There may be a topic sentence but it may only be implied or difficult to determine .
The writer may not attempt any elaboration of ideas; there are generally no text/historical references.
The writer shows weak logic.
There may be excessive plagiarism (verbatim copying or not giving credit for factual information offered).
There may be no conclusion or it may be a simple restatement of the prompt.

Conventions:
The spelling is seriously flawed; the reader does too much work and meaning may be lost occasionally.
The sentence structure may be seriously deficient.

Emergent Writer (below 55)
May not have a discernible position or topic idea; papers may be partially or wholly incoherent.