Tuesday, July 19, 2016

{Review} 21 Grading Grids for Popular High School Essays

Imagine the situation: your child has labored over a writing assignment and proudly handed it in to you after hours (or days) of diligent work. Now it's your turn to sweat it out. Although the assignment sounded like a good idea initially, you actually are not prepared to give it more than a cursory glance looking for grammar mistakes.

Does this sound familiar? It's pretty much my life unless we are following a curriculum that dictates the task and gives me a grading rubric. Thankfully, Writing with Sharon Watson has made available 21 Grading Grids for Popular High School Essays and a Position Paper.

Help grading high school essays from Writing with Sharon Watson

Let start out with why we actually need to grade those essays and papers our students turn in to us. It encourages the writer to see their progress over time, but also gives them a realistic view of their writing abilities and indicators of where they can improve. That's what this is all about, right? Not expecting perfection the first time out, but knowing where the student could benefit from more assistance.

The note to the teacher in 21 Grading Grids for Popular High School Essays and a Position Paper suggests handing the student a copy of the grading grid that will be used for their writing along with the assignment details. This help the student to understand exactly what is expected of them and prevents any surprises later on in the process. It is even suggested to alter any of the grading grids as needed, since they are simply tools to assist the teacher.

What exactly are these grading grids?

There are 21 different types of grading grids that fit with the majority of essay types your high school student might be assigned. Each grid details components of the essay the teacher should evaluate and provide a point score based on how well the essay fulfilled that portion. The majority of the grids also contain a separate smaller section for scoring the mechanics (or grammar) of the essay. This allows you, as the teacher, to grade separately on the writing style than on the mechanics. Of course there is also plenty of space on each grading grid for general comments too.

The 21 grading grids provided are:
  • Opinion Essay
  • Persuasive Essays:
    • With Thesis Statemet
    • Specific Audience
    • Logical
    • Compare & Contrast
    • Moral / Ethical
  • Emotional Appeal Essay
  • Emotional Appeal Speech
  • How-to Essay
  • Position Paper
  • Devotional
  • Hard News Article
  • Feature News Article
  • Biography
  • Compare-Contrast Essay
  • Literary Analysis of "The Lottery"
  • Literary Analysis of a Classic
  • Definition Essay
  • Description on a Person of Influence
  • Personal Testimony / Spiritual Journey Narrative
  • Interview into Narrative Essay
  • Personal Narrative Essay

Help grading high school essays from Writing with Sharon Watson

How I Used the Grading Grids

Although it's summer-time, I did have at least one writing assignment where I did not give Amber appropriate feedback. Determining which style of essay grading grid to apply to the assignment turned out to be my most difficult decision. Eventually, I settled upon a Definition Essay for Amber's research and page length writing on Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

Since I received 21 Grading Grids for Popular High School Essays and a Position Paper as a downloaded PDF file, this means I have been able to print off as many copies of each grading grid as my heart desires. Unfortunately, Amber had already written her EDS paper prior to receiving the grading grids, so she did not have the benefit of looking it over prior to writing. However, I did go through a couple of copies trying to get my notes to her just right.

I did choose to disregard a category of grid that did not apply to Amber's essay, which reduced her possible points. Still, it helped Amber to see where she can improve next time.

Currently, Amber is in the early stages of writing her confirmation testimony that will be presented before our church congregation this Autumn. The Personal Testimony / Spiritual Journey Narrative grading grid is not a perfect fit for the assignment given to Amber by our pastors, but it's fairly close. I've altered the grading grid to fit Amber's assigned task, so that she has a visual outline of how to compose her testimony. 

The 21 Grading Grids for Popular High School Essays and a Position Paper from Writing with Sharon Watson is an invaluable resource for those of us who need a little guidance when grading high school level writing assignments. 


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1 comment:

  1. Hi, Christy! I'm so happy you could use the 21 Grading Grids on something you assigned and on something for church! I love how you modified the Personal Narrative to fit your daughter's testimony for church. This is what I hoped moms would do when they needed to.

    Thank you for your review. God bless your new school year!