6 Point Essay Rubric Middle School

Grading rubrics can be of great benefit to both you and your students. For you, a rubric saves time and decreases subjectivity. Specific criteria are explicitly stated, facilitating the grading process and increasing your objectivity. For students, the use of grading rubrics helps them to meet or exceed expectations, to view the grading process as being “fair,” and to set goals for future learning.

In order to help your students meet or exceed expectations of the assignment, be sure to discuss the rubric with your students when you assign an essay. It is helpful to show them examples of written pieces that meet and do not meet the expectations. As an added benefit, because the criteria are explicitly stated, the use of the rubric decreases the likelihood that students will argue about the grade they receive. The explicitness of the expectations helps students know exactly why they lost points on the assignment and aids them in setting goals for future improvement.

  • Routinely have students score peers’ essays using the rubric as the assessment tool. This increases their level of awareness of the traits that distinguish successful essays from those that fail to meet the criteria. Have peer editors use the Reviewer’s Comments section to add any praise, constructive criticism, or questions.
  • Alter some expectations or add additional traits on the rubric as needed. Students’ needs may necessitate making more rigorous criteria for advanced learners or less stringent guidelines for younger or special needs students. Furthermore, the content area for which the essay is written may require some alterations to the rubric. In social studies, for example, an essay about geographical landforms and their effect on the culture of a region might necessitate additional criteria about the use of specific terminology.
  • After you and your students have used the rubric, have them work in groups to make suggested alterations to the rubric to more precisely match their needs or the parameters of a particular writing assignment.
Writing Prompts

Prompts are detailed sheets that can assign point values to specific information that should be included in an essay/narrative. All writing assignments should begin with a prompt, an 'entrance' method for defining the assignment. Likewise, a scoring rubric can be used at the end of the assignment to score the entire piece, looking for the 6 + 1 Traits. For instance a prompt may include the following with each area being worth ten points.

My narrative will include:

-a story beginning that includes action, description, and/or dialogue.

-an extended metaphor that contributes to characterization.

-three sentences that begin with each type of verbal: infinitive, gerund, participal.

It may be that a teacher will want to add a point value to the above specifications for the prompt. In that case, the prompt would look like:

My narrative will include:

-a story beginning that includes action, description, and/or dialogue. 10

-an extended metaphor that contributes to characterization. 10

-three sentences that begin with each type of verbal: infinitive, gerund, participal. 10

Because we know that revision is key for students becoming effective writers, the prompt can become the basis for a revision sheet. Interactive revision sheets force students to locate and respond to the specifics that are required in a prompt. Look at the some elements in the above prompt---reorganized to include points but also questions to show that the student or a peer evaluator can identify the elements within the draft.

My narrative will include:

-a story beginning that includes action, description, and/or dialogue. 10 points

What type of introduction is used for the story? Provide a line from the text that illustrates this chosen method:________________________________________

-an extended metaphor that contributes to characterization. 10 points

What lines of the text include the extended metaphor? ________ What do we learn about the character based on these lines?_______________________________

-three sentences that begin with each type of verbal: infinitive, gerund, participal. 10 points.

Infinitive:________________________________________________________

Participal:_______________________________________________________

Gerund:_________________________________________________________

Using prompts that clearly specifiy the content of the writing assignment helps students develop the structure of the story or essay. When the essay/story is completed, students can then use a rubric to score the effectiveness of the essay. Refer to the 6 + 1 Writing Traits rubrics.

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