Rubric for 6 Writing Traits

Teacher 6 point writing guide

Criteria to assess each trait (also see Chapter 10 (?) in Creating Writers by Vicki Spandel):

A. Ideas

(6)

  • Clear, focused, compelling, holds reader’s attention
  • Strong main point, idea, story line
  • Striking insight, in-depth knowledge of topic
  • Takes reader on a journey of understanding
  • Significant, intriguing or telling details paint a vivid picture

(5)

  • Clear and focused
  • Evident main point, idea, storyline
  • Reflects thorough knowledge of topic
  • Authentic, intriguing information
  • Important, helpful and well-chosen details expand main ideas

(4)

  • Clear and focused more often than not
  • Main point, story line easily inferred
  • Sufficient knowledge for a broad overview
  • Some new info, some common knowledge
  • Details provide development on general level – qualities and ideas outweigh generalities

(3)

  • Some undeveloped text – or list of general ideas
  • Reader must work to get the message
  • Gaps in writer’s knowledge of topic
  • Mostly common knowledge, best guesses
  • Generalities or broad brushstrokes

(2)

  • Writer still defining, shaping message
  • Main idea or message hard to infer
  • Writer struggles to fill space
  • Broad, unsupported generalities
  • Repetition, filler, minimal support

(1)

  • Minimal text
  • Topic not defined yet in writer’s mind
  • Reader left with many questions
  • Notes, first thoughts
  • Writer needs help choosing / defining topic

B. Organization

(6)

  • Thoughtful structure guides reader effortlessly through text
  • Provocative opening – satisfying, “just right” conclusion
  • Well-crafted transitions create coherence
  • Balanced pacing – slows or speeds up to fit the moment or as needed
  • Easy to follow throughout – may have a surprise or two

(5)

  • Purposeful organization, sense of direction
  • Strong lead – conclusion that provides closure
  • Thoughtful transitions connect ideas
  • Good pacing – time spent on what matters
  • Easy to follow – stays on track

(4)

  • Organization supports message / story
  • Functional lead and conclusion
  • Helpful transitions keep ideas flowing
  • Balanced – most time spent on key points
  • Easy to follow – sometimes predictable

(3)

  • Organization somewhat loose – or formulaic
  • Lead and/or conclusion needs work
  • Transitions sometimes needed – or overdone
  • Too much time spent on trivia, too little on key points
  • Not always easy to follow without work

(2)

  • Order more random than purposeful
  • Lead and/or conclusion missing or formulaic – need work
  • Transitions unclear or missing
  • Hard to tell what points matter most
  • Requires rereading to follow writer’s thinking

(1)

  • No clear sense of direction
  • Starts right in (no lead) – just stops (no conclusion)
  • A challenge to follow the writer’s thinking
  • Everything is as important as everything else
  • Writer needs help sorting / organizing ideas

C. Voice

(6)

  • As individual as fingerprints
  • Writer AND reader love sharing this aloud
  • Mirrors writer’s innermost thoughts, feelings
  • Passionate, vibrant, electric, compelling
  • Puts reader right into the place 

(5)

  • Original, distinctive
  • A good read-aloud candidate
  • Reveals writer’s thoughts, feelings
  • Spontaneous, lively, enthusiastic
  • Shows sensitivity to readers

(4)

  • Stands out from many others
  • Share-aloud moments
  • Writer seems “present” in the piece
  • Earnest, sincere
  • Shows awareness of readers

(3)

  • Sporadic – voice comes and goes
  • Not quite ready to share but getting there
  • Needs more voice – or a different voice
  • Restrained, quiet, cautious
  • Reader awareness? Sometimes perhaps…

(2)

  • Writer not really “at home” in this writing
  • Hint of voice – or we could be reading into it
  • Reader cannot tell who writer is
  • Distant, encyclopedic – or wrong for the purpose
  • Not yet “writing to be read”

(1)

  • No sense of person behind the words – yet
  • Writer is not ready to share this piece
  • Writer’s own thoughts / feelings do not come through
  • Something (topic choice?) is stifling the voice
  • Writer needs help with topic – or voice

D. Word choice

(6)

  • Clear, fresh, original language adds voice
  • Quotable – the right word at the right moment
  • Every word counts – any repetition is purposeful
  • Powerful verbs, unique phrasing, memorable moments
  • Words create vivid message, striking images/impressions

(5)

  • Natural language used well and confidently
  • Engaging – moments to remember or highlight
  • Concise yet expressive – a good balance
  • Strong verbs, striking phrasing
  • Words create a clear message, image, impression

(4)

  • Functional, clear language used correctly
  • Understandable – sometimes noteworthy
  • Minimal wordiness or unintended repetition
  • Some strong verbs
  • Strong moments – few clichés or overwritten text
  • Words help reader get the “big picture”

(3)

  • Vague words (special, great) – OR thesaurus overload
  •  A occasional stand-out moment
  • Moments may need pruning – or expansion
  • Writer rarely stretches for individual expression
  • Images/impressions still coming into focus

(2)

  • Words may be unclear, vague or overused
  • Writer settles for first words that come to mind
  • Fuzziness, wordiness, unintended repetition
  • Words lack energy, life, vitality
  • Reader must work to “see” and “feel” the message

(1)

  • Getting words on paper seems a struggle
  • Word choice feels random – not a real “choice”
  • Writer says very little – or repeats a lot
  • Overworked words – nice, good, fun – flatten voice
  • Writer needs help with message or wording

E. Sentence fluency

(6)

  • Easy to read with inflection that brings out voice
  • Rhythm you want to imitate – optic, musical
  • Striking variety in sentence style, structure, length
  • Fragments or repetition are rhetorical effective
  • Strong sentences make meaning instantly clear 

(5)

  • Readable even on the first try
  • Easy-on-the-ear rhythm, cadence, flow
  • Variety in sentence style, structure, length
  • Fragments or repetitions add emphasis
  • Readily understandable

(4)

  • Readable with minimal rehearsal
  • Pleasant, rhythmic flow dominates
  • Some sentence variety
  • Fragments or repetition are not a problem
  • Sentence are clear and connected

(3)

  • Readable with rehearsal and close attention
  • Sentence-to-sentence flow needs work
  • More sentence variety needed
  • A few moments cry out for revision
  • Sentences are not always clear at first

(2)

  • Hard to read in spots, even with rehearsal
  • Many sentences need rewording
  • Minimal variety in length or structure
  • Problems (choppiness, run-ons) disrupt the flow
  • Reader must pause or reread to get the meaning

(1)

  • Reader must pause or fill in to read this aloud
  • Many sentences need rewording
  • Hard to tell where sentences begin or end
  • Sentence problems may block meaning
  • Writer needs help revising sentences

F. Conventions and presentation

(6)

  • Only the pickiest editors will spot the problems
  • Creative use of conventions enhances meaning, voice
  • Complexity of text shows off writer’s editorial control
  • Enticing, eye-catching presentation (as needed)
  • Virtually ready to publish 

(5)

  • Minor errors that are easily overlooked
  • Correct conventions support meaning, voice
  • Shows writer’s control over numerous conventions
  • Pleasing, effective presentation
  • Ready to publish with light touch-ups

(4)

  • Errors are noticeable, but not troublesome
  • Errors do not interfere with the message
  • Shows control over basics (e.g. most spelling and punctuation)
  • Acceptable presentation
  • Good once-over needed prior to publication

(3)

  • Noticeable errors may slow reader
  • Reader may pause to mentally “correct” text
  • Some problems even on basic
  • More attention to presentation needed
  • Thorough editing required prior to publication

(2)

  • Distracting or repeated errors
  • Errors may interfere with writer’s message
  • Shaky control over basics – reads like a hasty first draft
  • immediately noticeable problems with presentation
  • Line-by-line editing needed prior to publication

(1)

  • Serious, frequent errors make reading a challenge
  • Reader must “decode” before focusing on message
  • Writer not yet in control of basic conventions
  • Writing not yet ready for final design or presentation
  • Writer needs help with editing

* Presentation should be weighted to reflect its importance given the purpose and audience for the document

 

–> Activity to understand 6 traits overall: emergent writing activity – ranking kindergarten writing samples based on the 6 traits.

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