Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.
Why use Rubrics?
Using a rubric in your lessons is an excellent way to be transparent with your students about expectations. When you are clear about what is expected with each assignment, they're more likely to turn in a quality essay. Before you begin an assignment, it may be helpful to review the rubric with your students.
Students can refer back to the rubric throughout the writing process to stay focused on the content of their essay. When their assignment is completed, they can use the rubric to assess their essay before you even read it. This can give them an opportunity to be reflective about their work and make adjustments if they're low in a particular area.
What is a Compare and Contrast Essay?
You'll probably recognize Bloom's Taxonomy of thinking skills, which is a mainstay in the education field. This taxonomy shows the different levels of thinking, ranging from remembering information to creating new information. It's important that you get your kids thinking beyond basic knowledge and recall questions. Your students should be analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating and creating on a regular basis.
One way to get your students to analyze something is to ask them to compare and contrast. You might think of a Venn diagram, which can be a great way to start your kids on this skill. You can also use a T-chart or various other graphic organizers to help students catalogue their thoughts. For your topic of study, students should find qualities that are similar or different. Having your students engage in this thinking process will have them using the basic information they know and taking it further.
You can have your students use their Venn diagrams, T-Charts, or other graphic organizers to write a compare and contrast essay on most any subject. They'll put their graphic organizer into the structure of an essay, developing topic sentences and supporting details. Use the following rubric for an essay in which your students are comparing and contrasting. You might have students compare and contrast the major characters in a novel. A history essay might challenge students to compare and contrast different stakeholders in World War II. This rubric will even work for an essay in which students compare and contrast the different chemical reactions they learn about in their chemistry lesson.
Rubric for a Compare and Contrast Essay
|Beginning to Meet Expectation||Approaching Expectations||Meeting Expectations||Exceeding Expectation|
|Topic Development||No thesis or vague thesis
Few supporting details
|Vague but accurate thesis
Several supporting and insightful details
|Original and insightful thesis
Supporting details that are thoroughly and thoughtfully explained
|Analysis||No or vague comparison||General but articulate comparison||Insightful and articulate comparison||Insightful and astute comparison, passionately and eloquently explained|
|Writing Style||Simple and unvaried sentence structure
|Simple but varied sentence structure
Somewhat varied word choice
|Varied sentence structure
Varied word choice
|Varied sentence structure with excellent flow
Interesting and original word choice
|Conventions||Many errors in grammar and mechanics||Several errors in grammar and mechanics||Few errors in grammar and mechanics||No errors in grammar and mechanics|
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