Program Assessment

Writing Rubric (FIPSE Project) Retrieved August 28, 2008 from

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Writing Rubric (FIPSE Project) Retrieved August 28, 2008 from

Below Basic





Shows minimal engagement with the topic, failing to recognize multiple dimensions/ perspectives; lacking even basic observations

Shows some engagement with the topic without elaboration; offers basic observations but rarely original insight

Demonstrates engagement with the topic, recognizing multiple dimensions and/or perspectives; offers some insight

Demonstrates engagement with the topic, recognizing multiple dimensions and/or perspectives with elaboration and depth; offers considerable insight

Focus and Thesis

Paper lacks focus and/or a discernible thesis.

Some intelligible ideas, but thesis is weak, unclear, or too broad.

Identifiable thesis representing adequate understanding of the assigned topic; minimal irrelevant material

Clear, narrow thesis representing full understanding of the assignment; every word counts


Little to no evidence

Some evidence but not enough to develop argument in unified way. Evidence may be inaccurate, irrelevant, or inappropriate for the purpose of the essay

Evidence accurate, well documented, and relevant, but not complete, well integrated, and/or appropriate for the purpose of the essay

Evidence is relevant, accurate, complete, well integrated, well documented, and appropriate for the purpose of the essay.


Organization is missing both overall and within paragraphs. Introduction and conclusion may be lacking or illogical.

Organization, overall and/or within paragraphs, is formulaic or occasionally lacking in coherence; few evident transitions. Introduction and conclusion may lack logic.

Few organizational problems on any of the 3 levels (overall, paragraph, transitions). Introduction and conclusion are effectively related to the whole.

Organization is logical and appropriate to assignment; paragraphs are well-developed and appropriately divided; ideas linked with smooth and effective transitions. Introduction and conclusion are effectively related to the whole.

Style and Mechanics

Multiple and serious errors of sentence structure; frequent errors in spelling and capitalization; intrusive and/or inaccurate punctuation such that communication is hindered. Proofreading not evident.

Sentences show errors of structure and little or no variety; many errors of punctuation, spelling and/or capitalization. Errors interfere with meaning in places. Careful proofreading not evident.

Effective and varied sentences; some errors in sentence construction; only occasional punctuation, spelling and/or capitalization errors.

Each sentence structured effectively, powerfully; rich, well-chosen variety of sentence styles and length; virtually free of punctuation, spelling, capitalization errors.

Research Process Rubric*





Defining the Topic

Student has no research question. Teacher has to supply question.

Basic, essential question is vague. Related questions do not help answer basic question. Student knows general subject matter to be searched.

Essential question is focused and clear. Student knows some related concepts for his topic. Most related questions focus topic.

Essential question is clear, complete, and requires critical thinking skills. Related questions focus topic accurately.

Collecting Information

Student looses focus. Information is not accurate or complete.

Student uses the minimal number of sources. Information, though interesting, frequently does not relate to questions.

Student efficiently determines the appropriate sources for information and uses multiple, varied sources. Most information relates directly to the questions.

Student utilizes a variety of resources and only the information that answers the essential question is used. Search strategies are revised as information is located or could not be found.

Evaluating Sources

Only one type of source is used. Little effort is made to determine validity of source.

Two or more types of sources are used. Student recognizes who is authoring the information.

Multiple types of sources are used and reflect support of the essential and related questions. The scope, authority and currency of the information are taken into account.

Diverse sources are used and reflect support of the essential questions. Student compares information from at least 2 sources for accuracy, validity, and inherent bias.

Extracting Information

Product contains missing details and isn’t completely accurate. Questions are unanswered.

Product is not complete. Only one related question is answered. Student can summarize information source but misses some concepts.

Product answers the questions in a way that reflects learning using some detail and accuracy. Student identifies key concepts from the information source by scanning and skimming.

Student assesses information in a meaningful way and creates a product that clearly answers the questions with accuracy, detail and understanding. Student determines if information supports or rejects student’s thesis.

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