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One Trait Rubric / Single Point Rubric

One Trait Rubric / Single Point Rubric

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A one trait rubric (similar to a single point rubric) is one of the fastest and most effective systems for grading student writing

Does it take you hours to grade a stack of student essays? Is your grading system too subjective and confusing? These one trait (or single trait) rubrics will help you refine your writing instruction, help students better understand characteristics of effective writing and how their work is assessed, and simplify your scoring process.

The idea is simple: since we teach traits of effective writing individually, why not assess traits individually sometimes, too? Not every piece of writing needs a full assessment, and one trait rubrics make it easy for teachers to give meaningful feedback quickly without spending hours grading essays.

Additionally, assessing student writing is a subjective process that is often a mystery to students and parents: using a straightforward rubric with only 3 or 4 criteria makes it clear why an assignment earned the grade it did. It also prevents you from downgrading a paper by weighting one aspect of good writing too heavily. Concentrating on only one trait makes it easier for the teacher to fairly assess a student’s skills in a particular trait.

The system is beneficial for students, too. It can be overwhelming (especially for younger children, reluctant writers, and English language learners) to try to concentrate on all aspects of great writing at one time. Knowing that they’ll only be assessed on a single trait helps students narrows their focus and makes the task more manageable.

This product includes 6 rubrics, one for each of the 6 traits of effective writing: ideas/content, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. I chose these traits because they’re a well-known way to organize writing instruction. However, you can use these rubrics with ANY writing curriculum and methodology, including Lucy Calkin’s Writer’s Workshop, Write Steps, Step Up to Writing, etc.

The writing rubrics were designed for use in grades 3-12. There is some sophisticated vocabulary in the rubrics, but as an Instructional Writing Coach, I have used them successfully with kids as young as age 7 after modeling and practice.

Download the FREE preview now to see the 6 pages of ideas for use, instructions, and examples!


See what other teachers are saying!

Thank you for this resource, it has given me a new perspective on how I assess writing :-) - Catherine H.

Changed my writing for the week! Thank you! - Nikolette B.

One of the best purchases I've ever made! - Shannon’s Classroom Goodies

I really like this resource. It makes total sense to grade the writing this way. It allows for more consistency. - Brittney K.

I love teaching writing, but I always seemed bogged down with the ever increasing number of pages my students were writing (not a bad thing, mind you). However, this product has helped me focus on one trait, and in so doing make grading a piece of writing more enjoyable. Thank you. - Michelle P.

What a big time saver for assessing writing! - Ball 4

Thank you again for a top resource. Really easy to use rubric and the kids understand it. - Sylvanus

These have become a invaluable resource for me this year. My principal even commented on how clear the feedback was for the parents. Thank you! - Meredith H.

Love the simplicity and ease these rubrics provide. Thanks so much! - teacherspride


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Be sure to check out my website where there are hundreds of pages of classroom management resources that make teaching more effective, efficient, and enjoyable! You'll find photos, activities, printable forms/posters, and more.



NOTE: This resource is included at no cost for members of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club, as part of our focus in the month of JANUARY on Grading & Assessment in the Full Year program, and Week 6 of the Fast Track program.

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