Writing Rubrics

Samples of Basic, Expository, and Narrative Rubrics

3 male students, writing in exercise books.
Ulrike Schmitt-Hartmann / Getty Images

An easy way to evaluate student writing is to create a rubric. A rubric is a scoring guide that helps teachers evaluate student performance as well as a student product or project. A writing rubric allows you, as a teacher, to help students improve their writing skills by determining what areas they need help in.

Rubric Basics

To get started in creating a rubric, you must:

  • Read through the students' writing assignment completely.
  • Read each criterion on the rubric and then reread the assignment, this time focusing on each feature of the rubric.
  • Circle the appropriate section for each criterion listed. This will help you score the assignment at the end.
  • Give the writing assignment a final score.

How to Score A Rubric

To learn how to turn a four-point rubric into a letter grade, use the basic writing rubric below as an example. The four-point rubric uses four potential points the student can earn for each area, such as 1) strong, 2) developing, 3) emerging, and 4) beginning. To turn your rubric score into a letter grade, divide the points earned by the points possible.

Example: The student earns 18 out of 20 points. 18/20 = 90 percent; 90 percent = A

Suggested Point Scale:

88-100 = A
75-87 = B
62-74 = C
50-61 = D
0-50 = F

Basic Writing Rubric











Establishes a clear focus

Uses descriptive language

Provides relevant information

Communicates creative ideas

Develops a focus

Uses some descriptive language

Details support idea

Communicates original ideas

Attempts focus

Ideas not fully developed

Lacks focus and development


Establishes a strong beginning, middle, and end

Demonstrates an orderly flow of ideas

Attempts an adequate introduction and ending

Evidence of logical sequencing

Some evidence of a beginning, middle, and end

Sequencing is attempted

Little or no organization

Relies on single idea


Uses effective language

Uses high-level vocabulary

Use of sentence variety

Diverse word choice

Uses descriptive words

Sentence variety

Limited word choice

Basic sentence structure

No sense of sentence structure


Few or no errors in: grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation

Some errors in: grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation

Has some difficulty in: grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation

Little or no evidence of correct grammar, spelling, capitalization or punctuation


Easy to read

Properly spaced

Proper letter formation

Readable with some spacing/forming errors

Difficult to read due to spacing/forming letter

No evidence of spacing/forming letters

Narrative Writing Rubric









Not There Yet

Main Idea & Focus

Skillfully combines story elements around main idea

Focus on topic is profoundly clear

Combines story elements around main idea

Focus on topic is clear

Story elements do not reveal a main idea

Focus on topic is somewhat clear

There is no clear main idea

Focus on topic is not clear

Plot &

Narrative Devices

Characters, plot, and setting are developed strongly

Sensory details and narratives are skillfully evident

Characters, plot, and setting are developed

Sensory details and narratives are evident

Characters, plot, and setting are minimally developed

Attempts to use narratives and sensory details

Lacks development on characters, plot, and setting

Fails to use sensory details and narratives


Strong and engaging description

Sequencing of details are effective and logical

Engaging description

Adequate sequencing of details

Description needs some work

Sequencing is limited

Description and sequencing needs major revision


Voice is expressive and confident

Voice is authentic

Voice is undefined

Writer's voice is not evident

Sentence Fluency

Sentence structure enhances meaning

Purposeful use of sentence structure

Sentence structure is limited

No sense of sentence structure


A strong sense of writing conventions is apparent

Standard writing conventions is apparent

Grade level appropriate conventions

Limited use of appropriate conventions

Expository Writing Rubric



Displays Evidence Beyond


Consistent Evidence


Some Evidence


Little/No Evidence


Informative with clear focus and supporting details

Informative with clear focus

Focus needs to be expanded and supporting details are needed

Topic needs to be developed


Very well organized; easy to read

Has a beginning, middle, and end

Little organization; needs transitions

Organization is needed


Voice is confident throughout

Voice is confident

Voice is somewhat confident

Little to no voice; needs confidence

Word Choice

Nouns and verbs make essay informative

Use of nouns and verbs

Needs specific nouns and verbs; too general

Little to no use of specific nouns and verbs

Sentence Fluency

Sentences flow throughout piece

Sentences mostly flow

Sentences need to flow

Sentences are difficult to read and do not flow


Zero errors

Few errors

Several errors

Many errors make it hard to read

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Your Citation
Cox, Janelle. "Writing Rubrics." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/writing-rubric-2081370. Cox, Janelle. (2023, April 5). Writing Rubrics. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/writing-rubric-2081370 Cox, Janelle. "Writing Rubrics." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/writing-rubric-2081370 (accessed May 29, 2023).