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New rubric clarifies essay scoring

Posted: February 14, 2012 - 7:20pm  |  Updated: February 14, 2012 - 7:21pm

 

Educators hope a new writing rubric introduced in January at North Augusta High School will make it easier for students to understand exactly what teachers expect from writing assignments.

The rubric scores students in content, development, organization and conventions. In each area, students receive a score of 1 to 4, and the rubric explains what each score means.

The rubric also encourages writing in each subject, such as science, math, social studies and physical education.

The idea, said teacher Carol Creamer, is to get students thinking.

Writing helps organize thoughts, and therefore it can be beneficial in all disciplines. Expository writing might help students better understand how to solve a problem if they are asked to write how a problem is solved, she said.

Creamer said the idea is to have students write the same way for several years and overall become better writers. If they become better writers, educators hope, students will become better thinkers. The rubric allows students to understand ahead of time exactly how they will be graded.

Assistant Principal Paige Day said the idea came from research they found where other schools had used a rubric and saw improvement in standardized test scores. A group of teachers got together to design a rubric for North Augusta High that would show teachers what to look for in good writing.

Creamer said they hope it will reduce plagiarism as well. It will give students more freedom as writers, as essays can be graded on how well an idea is explained, rather than if the idea is accurate.

Since students will be assessed the same way each time, Creamer said it will help teachers track each student’s improvement.

The plan is to implement the rubric at North Augusta High’s feeder middle schools next school year, which teachers hope will better prepare middle school pupils for the kind of writing they will be expected to do in high school.

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