From: Vince Puzick
Subject: [ncte-talk] Vince's Rubric for Analytic Essays (long)

Since I cannot attach this as an attachment (well, I can, but why...), I
have pasted in a rubric for assessing analytic essays in our sophomore
IB classes.  The original document is much longer...but I have parsed it
down to try and make it more usable.  Please give any feedback that you
can for this [I'm not nearly so thin-skinned with this as with,
say....poems... ;-)]

A word about IB ... IB is a very rigorous academic program.  They
believe in rather formal literary analysis and analytic writing.  (In
some ways, that is a limitation for me; some things that I would like to
do with some of the literature would just not lead the students to the
type of analytic writing that they have to be able to do to succeed.)
IB's philosophy about the study of literature includes the idea of
"literature as art" (aesthetic's technique...etc.), close
reading of texts (two of their major assessments deal with key passage
analysis and what they call "commentary" in which the student closely
analyzes a given passage in regard to technique as well as content).  
With all that said, here are the criteria I use for assessing their
formal analytic essays:

Rubric for Sophomore IB English Analytic Essays

FOCUS is established by introductory paragraphs that include a hook, a
thesis, and an organizing element.  The hook will establish the title of
the work and author, an appropriate general context for your argument,
and engage the reader.  The thesis statement will express your stance,
position, or argument on the specific issue; thesis statements are more
than factual, informative statements.  The organizing element will give
your reader an indication of what is to come in your essay; I often call
these "predictors" or "forecast" statements.  In addition, focus is
maintained throughout the essay with effective topic sentences that
force your essay to stay at an analytic level (rather than summary or
18-20 points = All three elements are present in your introduction;
your topic sentences are clearly focused on an analytic idea.  
16-17 points = A problem exists in one or more elements of the intro;
your topic sentences may not provide focus throughout the essay.
14-15 points = Your intro is ineffective in establishing a focus or
your thesis does not offer an interpretation of the work;  topic
sentences fail to maintain an analytic focus
12-13 points = Weaknesses exist throughout the intro and topic
sentences;  fail to establish and maintain a clear focus throughout the
11 & below = Your paper suffers from major weaknesses in focus

TEXTUAL EVIDENCE is the support for your analysis and interpretation. 
You need to provide an adequate amount of textual evidence as well as
the best textual evidence to prove your point.  Therefore, the
assessment under this criterion evaluates both quantity and quality of
the textual evidence.  You should use different strategies to support
ideas: direct quotes, summary, and paraphrase. This criterion evaluates
the effectiveness of your selection of evidence.
18-20 points = You have chosen, for the most part, the best evidence
to support your point and an thorough amount of textual evidence to
support your argument.  You effectively use direct quotes, summary, and
paraphrase as your textual evidence.
16-17 points = Your evidence is convincing and supports your
interpretation.  You show command over different ways to use textual
14-15 points = There are weaknesses in your selection of textual
evidence.  You rely too heavily on one strategy - direct quotes or
summary or paraphrase; you don't provide enough evidence to support your
points; or your textual evidence is not the best support for your
12-13 points = Your textual evidence is insufficient in supporting
your analysis; you have too little evidence, and what you do have is
inadequately presented.
11 & below = Your paper suffers from major weaknesses in textual

THE ANALYSIS OF TEXTUAL EVIDENCE provides meaning to your evidence. 
Your evidence is offered as support, and your analysis makes the
connection between the evidence and your ideas.  You do the work for you
reader - revealing why the textual evidence is significant to your
idea.  Offering textual evidence without thoughtful analysis of that
evidence would by synonymous with giving your reader a list of quotes
from the book and hoping the reader reaches the same conclusion as you
do.  You will be expected to blend your textual evidence smoothly into
your analysis using a variety of strategies.
18-20 points = Your analysis reveals literary insight and independent
thinking; you make meaningful connections between different pieces of
textual evidence to build your argument; you use a variety of methods
for incorporating the textual evidence into your analysis.
16-17 points = Your analysis is thoughtful; you build your argument,
but you are limited in your strategies for incorporating the textual
evidence or you leave too much work to be done by your reader to
understand your argument.
14-15 points = Although your textual evidence is effective, your
analysis leaves too much for your reader to figure out;  your analysis
is unclear or you fall into summarizing rather than analyzing the text;  
12-13 points = You offer weak textual evidence and your analysis is
merely plot summary or minimal character analysis; you never reach
beyond the surface of the work in your analysis.
11 & below = Your analysis of the textual evidence has major

The Organization of your essay is logical, coherent, and builds from
point to point.  Your essay, from engaging opening to closing remarks,
should lead your reader through your interpretation.  You provide
effective transitions from point to point and paragraph to paragraph. 
Your reader should follow your argument through a logical progression as
you build your argument. Not only should your essay reveal logical
organization, but your paragraphs should also have a sense of structure
to them.
18-20 points = Your essay has a logical and coherent structure that
allows your reader to follow your argument.
16-17 points = Your essay is logical and coherent although there may
be weaknesses in transitions or in building from one point to the next.
14-15 points = Your essay has lapses in structure, coherence,
transitions.  It takes undue effort by your reader to follow your
12-13 points = Your essay lacks any sense of logic or coherence.  It
appears that your paragraphing is random, with no sense of movement of
the essay building an argument.
11 & below = Major weaknesses in organization.

THE MECHANICS of your essay may seem like a minor concern, but they are
often the first aspect of our writing that people notice.  Major types
of weaknesses - run-on sentences, fragments, and comma splices - often
interfere with meaning and your idea, no matter how insightful, is lost
to the reader.  Weaknesses such as misused commas, improper end
punctuation, misspellings, can be major distractions to your reader.  
18-20 points = Your writing is virtually error-free.  It is "clean"
16-17 points = Your writing is free of major errors but has some minor
errors that need to be addressed.
14-15 points = Your writing has major and/or minor writing errors that
are a distraction or interfere with understanding your point.
12-13 points = Your writing's clarity suffers from a variety of major
and minor errors.  
11 & below = Your mechanics are a major weakness in your essay.


You must wait 24 hours before having a conference with me about any
returned essay.  We are, at times, surprised at what grade we receive on
a particular essay, so the 24 hour period allows you to consider my
comments, check your essay's score against these criteria (I will always
let you know what score you have for each individual criterion), and you
can generate 3-5 questions for our conference (your questions are the
heart of any conference).  

Use this rubric in your drafting process and when we do peer
critiques.  These are the exact same criteria by which I will assess
your writing.  The more familiar you are with them, the more skilled you
will be at revising and editing your own work.