Writing—whether a persuasive essay, lab report, constructed response or research paper—is a consistent part of most performance tasks employed by teachers to measure their students’ knowledge, understanding of concepts, and skills. The causes are many, but possibly the most crucial is the fact that very act of writing, which requires students which will make feeling of information and ideas and also to express that understanding coherently, is itself a skill that is critical.
And yet, despite its importance, there clearly was little consensus among educators at any grade level on what constitutes effective writing, how it must be measured, and sometimes even how it should be taught.
One step toward solving this conundrum may be the consistent usage of a broad analytic writing rubric. An writing that is analytic, like all rubrics, contains sets of criteria aligned to progressive quantities of performance. However, unlike a holistic writing rubric , which evaluates all criteria simultaneously to reach at an individual score, an analytic writing rubric separates the criteria into discrete elements, such as controlling ideas, organization, development, diction and conventions. Among the advantages of the analytic rubric is 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 with the characteristics of effective writing, and align their scoring so that they are all using the rubric’s criteria and score consistently. This result is best accomplished by teachers calibrating their scoring . The calibration process asks teachers to score a few normed essays which were scored ahead of time by expert educators with the rubric that is same. When teachers successfully align these normed essays to their scoring, also, they are aligned with each other.
Through this calibration process, teachers arrive at clear, consistent expectations about the characteristics of effective writing—and, in doing so, develop a common vocabulary with which to discuss student work with one another and their students. As Libby Baker, et al., explain into the article, “ Reading, Writing and Rubrics ,” calibrating and student that is scoring is a meaningful kind of professional learning: “As teachers deepen their understanding of the characteristics of great writing … and just how students’ mastery evolves over time… they became more insightful as diagnosticians and instructional decision makers.”
The consistent utilization of an over-all analytic rubric across a group, department or school may be an important component in blended and personalized learning.
Individually, students may use the rubric to:
There clearly was a time when utilizing rubrics and teacher that is calibrating required significant amounts of time, energy and paperwork—and the resulting data were tough to manage and analyze. Today, however, online applications streamline calibration, writing instruction, the usage of rubrics to score student work, in addition to number of data that can measure student growth with time.
At AcademicMerit , as an example, we offer an internet calibration tool called FineTune through which individual teachers can calibrate their scoring using our Common Core-aligned general writing rubric that is analytic. Using this application, teachers score real, anonymized student essays that were previously scored and normed by expert educators. When a teacher’s scoring is been shown to be in line with that of the experts, s/he is considered calibrated not in just the experts, but also with some of the other teachers that have gone through this calibration process.
When teams of calibrated teachers utilize this general analytic rubric with their own students, they—and their students—share a common comprehension of sun and rain of good writing to ensure all students take place to the same expectations, as well as the resulting data retains validity from teacher to teacher and from classroom to classroom.
The common expectations communicated by a general analytic writing rubric—used in conjunction with best practices in professional learning and instruction—can help students take control of their writing so they can clearly and consistently communicate their ideas in a blended-learning environment.
Sue Jacob may be the Academic Director for AcademicMerit. As former school that is high teacher in Minneapolis, Sue has held many different teacher leadership roles, including mentor, teacher-leader for English curriculum and instruction, and writer of accelerated curriculum for advanced learners in grades 6-12. Sue received her National Board certification in 2005. It was during the National Board portfolio procedure that Sue realized the role that is powerful plays in strengthening students’ critical thinking, a belief this is certainly at the heart of AcademicMerit’s academic and professional learning products.