Essay Scoring Rubric



1.  The writer has often launched right into an explanation without a sentence which gives the main idea or central point of the essay.

2.  The evidence or examples used consist of general statements with no specifics, or of several short examples with no general statement to tie them to the topic.

3.  There is often no attempt to create paragraphs in the body of the writing. Often there is one paragraph in the entire essay.

4.  Errors in sentence structure, punctuation, and usage seriously distract the reader at times, and often interfere with meaning.

5.  As the writer moves from point to point, no transition words are used to move the reader along.

6.  The organization of the information in the body of the paper is not clear. Information may be presented as a stream of consciousness without regard for the needs of the reader.



1.  There is usually a statement of what the topic of the paper is. Often, however, the writer does not state a clear point of view. Sometimes, however, there is a main idea or thesis sentence.

2.  The evidence or examples used consist of either generalities or specifics, such as long stories, but there is not a mixture of both.

3.  There is an attempt to use paragraphs throughout the essay. Usually the central point of each paragraph is clear.

4.  Errors in sentence structure, punctuation or usage periodically distract the reader.

5.  There are a few transition words to link ideas together, or they may be used inappropriately.

6.  The overall organization of the paper is unclear although sections of the paper may be focused. Sometimes the paper is primarily a story.



1.  The main idea of the essay is clear, and is stated in the introduction, but sometimes is not stated clearly until the end of the paper.

2.  The evidence used contains both generalities and specifics, but may not be well balanced between them both.

3.  Paragraphing is skillful. In most cases a clear central idea is apparent in each paragraph.

4.  The writer has few sentence level errors. They may be described as mildly distracting.

5.  The writer uses some transitions, but may sometimes use them inappropriately.

6.  While the whole paper “hangs together”, the organization in some places is choppy.



1.  The main idea/ thesis statement is clearly stated in the introduction.

2.  The evidence contains a balance of both generalities and specifics:  explanations, anecdotes, statistics, etc.

3.  Paragraphing is appropriate, and clear central points are made in each paragraph.

4.  The paper has been carefully edited, but a few errors may still exist.

5.  The writer uses transitions appropriately.

6.  The essay is well organized and reads smoothly from beginning to end.