**Disclaimer: If you own any of writing resources from TpT, you’ve likely read this! Just wanted to save you a minute!
Let’s Talk About Rubrics…
I don’t LOVE rubrics. When I first started teaching, I always found myself second-guessing my gut instinct or paying too much attention to one category and not enough to another. Then, I’d get sort of obsessive about comparing papers and making sure that those with similar scores seemed to have similar strengths/mistakes. And then I always found that I struggled to explain to students the shades of difference between the scores, so I never felt like they really benefited from getting a grade back. Ugh! Such a mess!!
However, I’ve tried other methods for grading writing (like writing a narrative on each piece explaining the strengths and weakness… painstaking!!), and they were nothing short of a disaster, so I decided to make a rubric that I could work with AND that would be helpful for students. It took me many years and the grading of a thousand papers to come up with following rubric. It’s not perfect, but I find it works for both me and the students!
The idea behind this rubric is that there are three possible grades for each category: 3, 2, or 1. In my mind, and what I tell the students is that a “3” means “Yes!! You’ve got this!” A “2” means “Okay! You’re almost there, but we still have some work to do.” And a “1” means “Not quite. We need to work on this.”
In my grade book, I give the numerical score of a 70% for a score of “5” (meaning a student received a “1” in every category). In my district, this is a C-. I make a very conscious choice to not give a D or F to a piece of writing that a student turns in completed, checked against the “Revising and Editing Checklist,” and on time. Writing well is, quite possibly, one of the single most difficult tasks a person learns to do! Many folks (and I’m talking both kids and adults here!) NEVER really get GOOD at it! It’s a skill that takes time, patience, persistence, and courage (yes, courage!) to perfect. Many upper elementary/middle/high schoolers are just not developed enough to tackle all of that yet and will need loads of support and encouragement along the way to get there. And, I’ve found that the single surest way to guarantee that they NEVER get there, is to squash their work (especially something they poured their heart into!) with a bad grade. So for me, in my classroom, if you try, you won’t fail! Obviously, you can use whatever grading system/rubric that works for you and your district, but that is the rationale behind my system.
You can grab a **FREE** copy of my rubric over in my TpT Store.