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So when designing a writing rubric for a compare and contrast essay for a typical middle school student, you want to be sure you break it down so that students can clearly understand the components of the essay, and how they can write each one well.
Did you stare at it blankly while your teacher droned on in the background as in a cartoon? For students, understanding writing rubrics can be a challenge.
Often to young writers, especially struggling writers, writing rubrics are little more than a sea of words.
They help students show relationships between the examples they are comparing and help them logically flow into and out of explaining their examples.
Therefore, especially in a comparison/contrast essay, it is a good idea to make this component a separate descriptor on the rubric.
A good rule of thumb the first time you write a rubric is to do only three or four levels.
These criteria would describe the characteristics the essay demonstrates: When students are writing a compare/contrast essay, they need to start by selecting the actual examples they want to compare and contrast.It's like the filling of a pie; if not done well you are left with an empty dry shell.You also need to determine how many levels there will be in your rubric because you will need to write descriptors for each level.This rubric will be used for shorter writing assignments and not full essays.It is not as detailed as the above rubrics and will be easier for non-writing teachers to use, but at the same time allows all subjects to grade based on the standards.These examples are the core of the essay, so poorly selected examples tend to result in a poorly written essay overall.That's why you should start your rubric by developing criteria for the examples, for example: It doesn't do any good if students select good examples, but can't integrate them effectively into their writing.Well-placed examples will accentuate or build a comparison, whereas poorly placed examples will leave the reader perplexed as to what you are trying to compare.For example, you could frame your descriptors in this way: Once students have built the core of the essay, the actual pie filling in our metaphor, it's time to build the pie shell around it.Students can be bewildered by a typical compare/contrast essay rubric.However, if you isolate the key skills students need to demonstrate, you can make a middle school friendly rubric students can use to guide their writing.