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CTE - Teaching Writing

This guide provides resources and best practices on teaching writing, creating writing prompts and rubrics, and providing feedback on student writing.


Rubrics should be developed before activities are submitted for grading; this way rubrics can be properly theorized. 


Rubrics are ideally developed in four stages:


Stage 1: Reflection – think through your assignment by internalizing your responses to these questions...

  • What do I want from my students?
  • Why did I create the activity?
  • What happened the last time I used the activity or a similar activity?
  • What are my expectations?
  • What exactly is the task assigned?
  • How does this activity relate to the rest of what I am teaching?


Stage 2: Listing – write down your responses these questions (they will become the criteria and descriptions for your rubric)…

  • What learning objectives am I trying to achieve with this activity?
  • What are the required details of the activity?
  • What are my highest expectations for performance on this activity?


Stage 3: Grouping & Labeling – organize the results from stages 1 & 2 and group similar expectations together into categories and associated criteria.


Stage 4: Application – Determine your levels of achievement (label and value) and construct the rubric in grid format or build the rubric in Blackboard. Blackboard rubrics can be attached to activities or grade columns.


Example levels of achievement:

  • Mastery, Partial Mastery, Progressing, & Emerging
  • High Level, Middle Level, Beginning Level
  • Sophisticated, Competent, Partly Competent, Not Yet Competent
  • Exemplary, Proficient, Marginal, Unacceptable
  • Advanced, Intermediate High, Intermediate, Novice
  • Distinguished, Proficient, Intermediate, Novice
  • Accomplished, Average, Developing, Beginning
  • Use grade levels as labels: A, B, C, D, F
  • Use points or percentages as labels


When developing rubrics


Use caution when developing three-level rubrics: When you use a three level rubric, the center column can become a catch-all column. Keep this in mind when you assign point-values to your levels. When you quantify the entire column, the total points available in that column should amount to a score that aligns with the value indicated in the label for that level.


Use point ranges to help with highly-subjective criteria: Using point ranges for each level of achievement offers you more options when you are evaluating the activity.