Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Disciplinary Literacy

Writing: Big Ideas

Formats for Assessing Student Writing

One of the ways to assess student writing and learning is through the development of a rubric. <p><strong>rubric</strong><br /> A scoring guide used to assess student performance of a particular assignment based on specific objectives and outcomes of a unit of study. The components of a rubric will reflect learning expectations and, often, numerical scores for assessing student performance along a continuum of mastery. Providing a rubric to students before they engage in an assignment will assist them in understanding the purpose and goals. Rubrics may contain elements of content learning as well as reading and writing strategies used to learn the content.</p> Depending on the purpose of instruction, the rubric will include elements of the content learned, components of the required product, and components of effective writing. One of the key factors in all disciplinary writing is the use of evidence to support ideas. This should be reflected in the rubric as well. Based on the criteria noted in the rubric, point values are assigned (which may be weighted) for each component. These criteria allow teachers to respond in narrative form to students. Providing a rubric to students at the beginning of a unit will enhance their understanding of what they are to learn and communicate during the unit.

Depending on the nature of a writing assignment, a rubric for history/social studies could include categories for identifying the source of texts, the context of the time in which texts were written, and corroboration or contradictions from multiple sources. A rubric for science could include accuracy of information, sequence of procedures, and reliability of information for replication. Again, the use of evidence to support thinking is a critical element of the rubric.

Reflect: Review this  and student work  for a 6th grade science assignment on what it means to be healthy. Use the rubric to evaluate the student’s writing and write a few sentences on next steps for this student. 

Review this rubric [PDF] for a 6th grade science assignment on what it means to be healthy. Then, use the rubric to evaluate two students' writing (student work 1 [PDF], student work 2 [PDF]) to support their argument for this question. Consider how students address this topic by synthesizing information from a fiction and informational text, and write a few sentences on next steps you would suggest for each student to improve his or her writing.