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Writing—whether a persuasive essay, lab report, constructed response or research paper—is a consistent element of performance tasks that are most used by teachers to measure their students’ knowledge, knowledge of concepts, and skills. The reason why are many, but perhaps the most significant is that the very act of writing, which requires students to make sense of information and ideas and also to express that understanding coherently, is itself a critical skill.

And yet, despite its importance, there is little consensus among educators at any grade level about what constitutes effective writing, how it must be measured, and even how it ought to be taught.

One step toward solving this conundrum may be the consistent use of a broad writing rubric that is analytic. An writing that is analytic, like all rubrics, contains sets of criteria aligned to progressive levels of performance. However, unlike a writing that is holistic , which evaluates all criteria simultaneously to arrive at a single score, an analytic writing rubric separates the criteria into discrete elements, such as for instance controlling ideas, organization, development, diction and conventions. One of many advantages of the rubric that is analytic that, in its most general form, it can be used with a variety of writing tasks—helping students learn the qualities of effective writing, irrespective of subject area. (más…)