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EssayTagger is a web-based tool to help teachers grade essays faster.
But it is not an auto-grader.

This blog will cover EssayTagger's latest feature updates as well as musings on
education, policy, innovation, and preserving teachers' sanity.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Adapting traditional rubrics for EssayTagger: Nevada Opinion Writing Rubric (5th grade)

EssayTagger represents an evolution of the concept of a rubric. Here's a specific look at how I adapted an existing rubric to take advantage of the EssayTagger world.

If you're new to the EssayTagger world, here's a primer on how EssayTagger rubrics are different from traditional rubrics.

Tearra Bobula, a teacher at Mark Twain Elementary in Carson City, NV, asked me to adapt the Nevada Opinion Writing rubric. It initially presents a bit of a challenge. It consists of five main sections that each contain a subset of 2-4 additional elements:

(click for larger view)

Let's take a closer look at the first section:

(click for larger view)

Each row of this section pertains to the Statement of Purpose/Focus, but assesses slightly different aspects of that overall area. I would break these four sub-elements down to something like:
  • Statement of Opinion
  • Focus
  • Maintain Purpose/Focus
  • Provides Context
So when I adapted this rubric I treated each sub-element as its own rubric element:

Also notice that I decided that Statement of Opinion was likely a sentence-level scope. This sounds to me like it's basically the student's thesis. EssayTagger allows for sentence-level, paragraph-level, and whole document scopes for each rubric element. It's up to you to decide which scope makes the most sense for your assignment and goals.

Let's keep going and look at the next section:

And here's how I translated each row into its own rubric element:

Specificity is king
Notice that Transition is specified as a sentence-level element. This allows us to really take advantage of EssayTagger's strengths. Now you don't have to evaluate all of the transitions in one general checkbox; instead you'll be able to use EssayTagger's grading app to evaluate each individual transition on its own merits. This transition was basic but that transition was really effective. It's that sort of targeted feedback that has the potential to really promote student growth.

Scope as you like
I gave Introduction a paragraph-level scope. However, I'm not terribly familiar with 5th grade writing; are introductions a full paragraph in 5th grade? I could see 5th or earlier grades changing this to a sentence-level scope. The same consideration should go into the Concluding Statement. I wasn't sure if it should be sentence-level or paragraph-level.

The nice thing about shared EssayTagger rubrics is that after you import them into your own account, you can change them however you like.

Here's the link to the full EssayTagger version of the rubric:

Nevada Opinion Writing rubric for 5th grade