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Writing Evaluation

Evaluating writing is one of the hardest things to do in a reliable and valid way. Nevertheless, we can do what we can to make fair and just evaluations about writing. Many criteria exist for evaluating writing, so here are a few we will use. I hope we develop some of our own.

Writing Evaluation Criteria

1. CAREFUL CONSTRUCTION AND ORGANIZATION
a. the writer makes a point and is unified
b. the writer "divides up the proof," structuring the paragraphs around main parts or points of development.
c. The opening and closing (paragraphs) are effective

2. EVIDENCE OF COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WRITING TASK AND TOPIC-As well as meeting the requirements of the writing task, the writer is rhetorically proficient with managing the writing triangle of writer, audience, and purpose.

3. DEVELOPMENT-The writer develops his or her ideas fully and adequately with appropriate examples, facts, descriptions, or quotes. In particular, general and abstract information is followed by sufficient specific examples, illustrations and description. The goal is to SHOW and not just TELL.

4. COHERENCE-the writer makes efforts to guide the reader through his or her idea

5. A MATURE FLUENCY
a. The writing has a smooth construction and organization which does not offer any confusion to the reader.
b. Sentences offer a level of variety, conciseness, and attention to word choice that enhance the readability and engagement of the text.

5. VOICE-The writing reflects the writer's own unique vantage point, language use, and style.

6. CORRECTNESS IN THE STANDARD CONVENTIONS OF WRITTEN ENGLISH--This includes spelling, grammar, punctuation, and documentation.

7. HAS THE PIECE OF WRITING ACHIEVED THE DESIRED EFFECT UPON THE INTENDED AUDIENCE?-each of the elements of writing listed above contribute to achieving this overall affect.


Our Evaluation Rubric

Although your drafts are not getting graded in this class (until the portfolio), you will be given some quantitative feedback on your writing following this six-point scale. The upper-lower half distinction represents fairly closely the division between passing and failing (so if you continually get lower-half scores you know you are not passing). Remember, that we are working to present selections of your work in an end-of-course portfolio, and any piece of writing can be re-written numerous times before it goes into that portfolio. I encourage you to take the initiative to rewrite pieces you are drawn to rewrite.

Using the evaluation rubric to determine scores:
To use the evaluation rubric, the evaluator goes through a sequence of two major "decisions" to decide what "score" the writing will receive.

Step One: First, the decision is made about whether the essay is closer to an upper-half or a lower-half score. (Roughly passing or not passing.)

Step Two: Once the "half" is decided, then the question is asked, "Is this a strong or weak upper (or lower) half score?" The short descriptions of the separate essay scores also help in determining if the essay is a 2 or a 3.

6 Point Scale---- the six point scale will give you a general idea of where you are with your writing.

6 = A/B
5 = B/C
4 = C
3 = D
2 = F

Upper Half Characteristics

1.  CAREFUL CONSTRUCTION AND ORGANIZATION

  1. the writer makes a point and is unified
  2. the writer "divides up the proof," structuring the paragraphs around main parts or points of development.
  3. The opening and closing (paragraphs) are effective

2.   EVIDENCE OF COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING OFTHE WRITING TASK AND TOPIC-As well as meeting the requirements of the writing task, the writer is rhetorically proficient with managing the writing triangle of writer-subject-reader.

3.  DEVELOPMENT-The writer develops his or her ideas fully and adequately with appropriate examples, facts, descriptions, or quotes

4. COHERENCE-the writer makes efforts to guide the reader through his or her idea

5.  A MATURE FLUENCY

  1. The writing has a smooth construction and organization which does not offer any confusion to the reader.
  2. Sentences offer a level of variety and attention to word choice that enhance the readability and engagement of the text.

6.  VOICE-The writing reflects the writer's own unique vantage point, language use, and style.

7.  CORRECTNESS IN THE STANDARD CONVENTIONS OF WRITTEN ENGLISH

This includes spelling, grammar, punctuation, and documentation.

 

The 6 paper

This paper, while not perfect, shows many if not all of the upper half characteristics. The paper shows originality and clarity of thought. It develops its ideas with logic, creativity, and awareness of the reader. It is interesting to read and stands out.

The 5 paper

This paper contains many of the characteristics of upper half writing, but is lacking somewhere. The paper clearly states its point and purpose and may have adequate development; it also has clear ideas. It may lack, however, in originality, depth of thought and development, mature fluency, or grammatical correctness.

The 4 paper

This paper meets the basic standards. It has a central idea and fairly clear organization. This writing shows a fair understanding of the writing task and the ideas being written about, makes a point (if weakly), and reveals some awareness of the reader. Often a 4 paper lacks development and vigor. It lacks the evidence of thought and/or clarity of thought and maturity that would place it higher. It contains grammatical errors but not to the severe level of distracting the reader.

Lower Half Characteristics

1.  LESS CAREFUL CONSTRUCTION AND ORGANIZATION

a.  the writer may not make a clear point and/or not stick to that point

b.  the writer does not structure the development of their ideas in a logical way, especially not "dividing up the proof" and structuring the paragraphs around main parts or points of development.

c. The opening and closing (paragraphs) are ineffective

2.  EVIDENCE OF COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WRITING TASK AND TOPIC

a) Requirements of the writing task may not be understood or met; in addition, the writer may show little or no rhetorical proficient with managing the writing triangle of writer-subject-reader.

3.  DEVELOPMENT-The writer develops his or her ideas inadequately, often missing appropriate examples, facts, descriptions, or quotes

4.  COHERENCE-the writer makes little or no effort to guide the reader through his or her idea

5. A MATURE FLUENCY

  1. The writing has a rough or unclear construction and organization which cause confusion for the reader.
  2. Sentences reveal a lack of variety and attention to word choice that detract from the readability and engagement of the text.

6.  VOICE
The writing does not reflects the writer's own unique vantage point, language use, and style.

7.  PROBLEMS WITH CORRECTNESS IN THE STANDARD CONVENTIONS OF WRITTEN ENGLISH
This includes spelling, grammar, punctuation, and documentation.

 

The 3 paper

The 3 paper is very much like the 4 paper (it contains upper half characteristics) except that it may have a more severe problem in a certain area, such as more severe grammatical problems, problems with unity, or more problems with organization or development. Often a three paper is described by this phrase: "if they had only done _____ then it would be an upper half essay." Many times 3 papers reveal a misunderstanding of the topic or little effort.

The 2 paper

This writing contains most if not all the characteristics of a lower-half piece of writing. The writing has not effectively communicated its ideas. The 2 paper may not have presented a clear main idea or support it. Often 2 papers contain serious errors in grammar that impede and distract the reader from understanding the writing. The two papers may show effort but problems get in the way of its effectiveness.

The 1 paper

This paper usually does not make a clear point. It may contain serious errors in standard conventions of English that make it difficult to read and understand. It is frequently short and repetition.


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