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Writing Rubric

Samples of Basic, Expository and Narrative Rubrics


Writing Rubric

Rubrics are a great way to communicate learning goals with students and parents.

&copy Janelle Cox

How to Use Writing Rubrics to Evaluate Student Writing

An easy way to evaluate student writing is to create a rubric. This allows you to help students improve their writing skills by determining what area they need help in.

To get started you must:

  • First read through the students' writing assignment completely.

  • Next, read each criteria on the rubric and then re-read the assignment again, this time focusing on each feature of the rubric.

    Tip: As you are re-reading, circle each appropriate section for each criteria listed. This will help you score the assignment at the end.

  • Last, give the writing assignment a final score.

How to Score A Rubric

To learn how to turn a four-point rubric into a letter grade, I will use the basic writing rubric below as an example.

To turn your rubric score into a letter grade, divide the points earned by the points possible.

Example: The student earns 18 out of 20 points. 18/20 = 90%, 90% = A

Suggested Point Scale:

88-100 = A
75-87 = B
62-74 = C
50-61 = D
0-50 = F

Tip: When used effectively rubrics can help students improve their writing skills. Here you will find examples and information on how to use an essay rubric and scoring rubric.

Elementary Writing Rubrics: General, Narrative and Expository

Basic Writing Rubric









  • Establishes a clear focus
  • Uses descriptive language
  • Provides relevant information
  • Communicates creative ideas
  • Develops a focus
  • Uses some descriptive language
  • Details support idea
  • Communicates original ideas
  • Attempts focus
  • Ideas not fully developed
  • Lacks focus and development
  • Establishes a strong beginning, middle and end
  • Demonstrates an orderly flow of ideas
  • Attempts an adequate introduction and ending
  • Evidence of logical sequencing
  • Some evidence of a beginning, middle and end
  • Sequencing is attempted
  • Little or no organization
  • Relies on single idea
  • Uses effective language
  • Uses high-level vocabulary
  • Use of sentence variety
  • Diverse word choice
  • Uses descriptive words
  • Sentence variety
  • Limited word choice
  • Basic sentence structure
  • No sense of sentence structure
  • Few or no errors in:
grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation

  • Some errors in:

grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation


  • Has some difficulty in:
grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation


  • Little or no evidence of correct grammar, spelling, capitalization or punctuation
  • Easy to read
  • Properly spaced
  • Proper letter formation
  • Readable with some spacing/forming errors
  • Difficult to read due to spacing/forming letter
  • No evidence of spacing/forming letters

Narrative Writing Rubric








Not There Yet

Main Idea & Focus
  • Skillfully combines story elements around main idea
  • Focus on topic is profoundly clear
  • Combines story elements around main idea
  • Focus on topic is clear
  • Story elements do not reveal a main idea
  • Focus on topic is somewhat clear
  • There is no clear main idea
  • Focus on topic is not clear

Plot &

Narrative Devices

  • Characters, plot and setting are developed strongly
  • Sensory details and narratives are skillfully evident
  • Characters, plot and setting are developed
  • Sensory details and narratives are evident
  • Characters, plot and setting are minimally developed
  • Attempts to use narratives and sensory details
  • Lacks development on characters, plot and setting
  • Fails to use sensory details and narratives
  • Strong and engaging description
  • Sequencing of details are effective and logical
  • Engaging description
  • Adequate sequencing of details
  • Description needs some work
  • Sequencing is limited
  • Description  and sequencing needs major revision
  • Voice is expressive and confident
  • Voice is authentic
  • Voice is undefined
  • Writer's voice is not evident
Sentence Fluency
  • Sentence structure enhances meaning
  • Purposeful use of sentence structure
  • Sentence structure is limited
  • No sense of sentence structure
  • A strong sense of writing conventions is apparent
  • Standard writing conventions is apparent
  • Grade level appropriate conventions
  • Limited use of appropriate conventions

Expository Writing Rubric


Displays Evidence Beyond


Consistant Evidence


Some Evidence


Little/No Evidence

  • Informative with clear focus and supporting details
  • Informative with clear focus
  • Focus needs to be expanded and supporting details are needed
  • Topic needs to be developed
  • Very well organized; easy to read
  • Has a beginning, middle and end
  • Little organization; needs transitions
  • Organization is needed
  • Voice is confident throughout
  • Voice is confident
  • Voice is somewhat confident
  • Little to know voice; needs confidence
Word Choice
  • Nouns and verbs make essay informative
  • Use of nouns and verbs
  • Needs specific nouns and verbs; too general
  • Little to no use of specific nouns and verbs
Sentence Fluency
  • Sentences flow throughout piece
  • Sentences mostly flow
  • Sentences need to flow
  • Sentences are difficult to read and do not flow
  • Zero errors
  • Few errors
  • Several errors
  • Many errors make it hard to read

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