A writing assignment rubric can be difficult to decipher. But getting acquainted with a writing rubric before you write an essay, paper, or any writing assignment is essential to getting good grades. If you don’t know what your teacher expects of you, and write something for your teacher regardless, you are willingly putting yourself in a sticky situation. So, what are the usual parts of a writing rubric and how to impress your teacher by following it?
There is usually a hierarchy of categories that are attended to. The following is a list of the important things to pay attention to in order to get the highest grade for your assignments:
- Communicating your message. Is your content clear? Do you lose focus on the main topic during the essay? If you read your writing as a reader, can you understand it? These questions will reflect whether or not you have communicated your message properly. Writing is a form of communication. Do you write in a fancy way just for kicks? Always make sure you are understood.
- Organization. Do you have transitions from paragraph to paragraph? Does your essay flow easily from topic to topic, or do you feel jumps in subject matter? Did you arrange your paragraphs in the most efficient manner, so that readers can see the affect of your thesis statement? Speaking of thesis statements, they are the crux of your paper. Your main body paragraphs must reflect and expound on your thesis statement.
- Style. Is your tone appropriate for your assignment? Are you using informal language when it is a formal essay? Do you think your teacher would enjoy the way you are writing? The way you convey your message is important, but also the tone and character of your writing is also key.
- Research. Did you validate all the claims you made with in-text citations? Do you have at least three sources? Are your sources reliable, recent, and appropriate? Teachers are keen on seeing if you have used the correct citation style: MLA, APA, Chicago, and more. They are also attentive to when students make claims and do not back them up with information from studies or related research.
- Grammar and punctuation. Do you use commas, semicolons, colons, and periods correctly? Are your sentences fluid and easy to read? Can you state your sentences in a better order? Though the mechanics of writing is a lower level concern, if you have enough grammatical and punctuation issues, your paper can be difficult to read or even unreadable. Following the rules of mechanics allows you to deliver your message soundly, without disruption. Don’t look at it as a tedious thing. Grammar and punctuation are needed to be heard clearly by your readers.
Besides knowing these main criteria, it is important, in a practical sense, to keep your rubric close to you while you write. Checking it periodically as you write is essential to making sure you don’t mess up and have to write everything over again. Also, if you are confused about something in your rubric, don’t feel shy to ask your teacher about it.