Writing—whether a persuasive essay, lab report, constructed response or research paper—is a consistent element of most performance tasks used by teachers to measure their students’ knowledge, comprehension of concepts, and skills. The reasons are many, but possibly the most significant is the fact that very act of writing, which requires students in order to make sense of information and ideas and to express that understanding coherently, is itself a critical skill.
And yet, despite its importance, there is certainly little consensus among educators at any grade level about what constitutes effective writing, how it ought to be measured, and on occasion even how it ought to be taught.
One step toward solving this conundrum is the consistent utilization of a general writing rubric that is analytic. An analytic writing rubric, like all 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 just one score, an analytic writing rubric separates the criteria into discrete elements, such as for example controlling ideas, organization, development, diction and conventions. One of many advantages of the rubric that is analytic that, in its most general form, you can use it 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 teachers using the rubric must agree on the characteristics of effective writing, and align their scoring so that they are all using the rubric’s criteria and score consistently. This outcome is best attained by teachers calibrating their scoring . The calibration process asks teachers to score a series of normed essays which were scored ahead of time by expert educators using the rubric that is same. When teachers successfully align their scoring by using these normed essays, also, they are aligned with one another.
Through this calibration process, teachers arrive at clear, consistent expectations regarding the characteristics of effective writing—and, in performing this, develop a common essay writer vocabulary with which to talk about student work with each other and their students. As Libby Baker, et al., explain in the article, “ Reading, Writing and Rubrics ,” calibrating and student that is scoring is a meaningful form 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 broad analytic rubric across a team, department or school may be an important component in blended and personalized learning.
In the classroom, teachers can use this rubric to:
- clarify expectations for students and also make the grading process transparent;
- gather diagnostic information to plan instruction and design interventions for individual students;
- give students personalized formative feedback on each facet of their writing;
- help students identify specific, reachable goals for the writing they’ve been to perform; and,
- provide students with a framework through which they could read, analyze and ultimately emulate the types of effective writing.
Individually, students can use the rubric to:
- practice the language associated with discipline by using the rubric’s terms, descriptors and criteria when discussing their particular writing;
- see how writing that is good a process, not merely a task to complete;
- think about and measure the quality of one’s own writing;
- set personal goals for improvement; and,
- Give feedback that is meaningful the writing of others.
There was a period when working with 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 usage rubrics to score student work, therefore the number of data that can measure student growth with time.
At AcademicMerit , for instance, you can expect an on-line 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 which were previously scored and normed by expert educators. When a teacher’s scoring is been shown to be in keeping with compared to the experts, s/he is considered calibrated not with just the experts, but in addition with any of the other teachers that have gone 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 standard understanding of the current weather of great writing to make certain 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 assume control of these writing so they can clearly and consistently communicate their ideas.
About Sue Jacob
Sue Jacob is the Academic Director for AcademicMerit. As former senior high school English teacher in Minneapolis, Sue has held a number of 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 absolutely was throughout the National Board portfolio procedure 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.
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