ESL Writing: A Simple Scoring Rubric

Anyone who teaches ESL writing knows there comes a time when student papers pile up on the desk and they have to be marked. The hard part, when faced with 30 or more regular submissions, is finding a way to give English writing students meaningful input without spending hours generating feedback.

A writing rubric is one possible solution.

Below is a suggested scoring guide. It is simple, yes. Though I hope it provides useful guidance.

This rubric is suitable for one paragraph writing submissions. In addition, it is useful for classes where the emphasis is on three main elements:

  • a strong topic sentence (control sentence)
  • several sentences of supporting material (reasons, evidence or details)
  • a conclusion

ESL Writing Rubric

This ESL writing rubric uses a 1 to 4 scoring system.

  1. A well-structured paragraph (clear topic sentence, good support and conclusion). Grammar and spelling errors are present though the meaning of the passage is clear.
  2. A good topic sentence though the paragraph lacks unity (the main idea is not well supported) or there are too many grammar or spelling errors.
  3. It looks like a rough draft. The topic sentence is not well formulated, the supporting data is unclear and there are too many errors.
  4. Incomplete. It is not possible to understand the meaning of the paragraph because key sections are missing or they cannot be understood.


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