Here’s an example of a holistic writing rubric response for a student who has been judged as “approaching” (approaching what? Competence? Excellence? Bethlehem?)…
“Writer presents a wandering, vague, or unfocused controlling purpose or thesis. The paper moves awkwardly from a weak introduction to a conclusion that does not adequately represent the body of the paper. Basic paragraphing exists, but often fails to support or even recognize a central idea, and the use of evidence and examples is inadequate. Sentence and paragraph transitions are often unclear, awkward, indirect, and/or illogical. Tone and diction are often inconsistent and/or inappropriate for the subject and its implied audience. Mechanics (grammar, punctuation, spelling and documentation, if needed) are not well executed and may, at times, obscure meaning.”
Now, it could very well be that the author of this massive paragraph intends the rubric to be used for data gathering, not response to the student. Let’s assume that is the case (I won’t include a source for the above excerpt to avoid getting personal with a hard-working composition teacher somewhere).
At the other end of the spectrum, here’s a criteria from a rubric designed for a marketing class:
“Grammar, clarity of presentation, adequacy of content, attention to details, use of concepts
discussed in class: …………….”
This criteria was worth 20 points (out of a 100)…so I’m assuming the prof wrote in “16” or similar on the dotted line, and that this rubric was designed expressly for communicating with a student.
First up, it’s great to see educators working hard at including writing in their courses and thinking about what is important in an assignment. The marketing example was included in the class syllabus, and therefore known to students in advance (something many writing teachers don’t do). Kudos on all those points.