One Paragraph Essay Rubric Samples

Body Paragraphs

The main idea or a thesis statement is clearly defined. There may be more than one key point. Appropriate relevant information and details are shared from a variety of sources including personal experiences, observations, and prior knowledge. Supporting details are accurate, relevant, and helpful in clarifying the main idea(s).

The main idea can be identified. The writer shares relevant information, facts and experiences.  There is a clear distinction between general observations and specifics.  Supporting details are relevant and explain the main idea.

The main idea can be identified. The writer shares some information, facts and experiences, but may show problems going from general observations to specifics. Stronger support and greater attention to details would strengthen this paper.

More than one of the following problems may be evident: The main idea is not identifiable. The writer shares some information, but it is limited or unclear. Details are missing or repetitious.


Writer’s Voice, Audience Awareness,

The paper is honest and enthusiastic. The language is natural yet thought-provoking. It brings the topic to life. The reader feels a strong sense of interaction with the writer and senses the person behind the words.
Writing is smooth, skillful, and coherent.  Sentences are strong and expressive with varied structure

Writer's voice is  consistent and strong.  The writer is aware of an audience. The reader is informed and remains engaged. Sentences have varied structure.


Writer's voice may emerge strongly on occasion, then retreat behind general, vague, tentative, or abstract language. The writer is aware of an audience.  The reader is informed, but must work at remaining engaged. Sentence structure shows some variety.

Writing is confusing, hard to follow.  Language is vague.  No audience awareness.  No variety in sentence structure.


Spelling, punctuation, capitalization

Punctuation, spelling, capitalization are correct.  No errors.

Punctuation, spelling, capitalization are generally correct, with few errors. (1-2)

A few errors in punctuation, spelling, capitalization. (3-4)

Distracting errors in punctuation, spelling, capitalization.


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Rubric for Evaluation of the Paragraph

A rubric is a grading tool that describes the criteria, or "what counts," for the assignment.  It also describes each of the criteria according to gradations of quality, with descriptions of strong, middling, and problematic student work.  The criteria are listed in the column on the left.  The numbers in the top row indicate quality, with 3 being the best.   The number 0 is something everyone wants to avoid.  Students may use the rubric as a check list to determine if the writing meets the criteria of the assignment.

Point Value

2 points

1 points

.5 points

0 points

Topic Sentence

Interesting, original topic sentence, reflecting thought and insight; focused on one interesting main idea.

Clearly stated topic sentence presents one main idea.

Acceptable topic sentence presents one idea.

Missing, invalid, or inappropriate topic sentence;  main idea is missing.

Supporting Details 

Interesting, concrete and descriptive examples and details with explanations that relate to the topic.  

Examples and details relate to the topic and some explanation is included. 

Sufficient number of examples and details that relate to the topic.

Insufficient, vague, or undeveloped examples. 

Organization and Transitions

Thoughtful, logical progression of supporting examples; Mature transitions between ideas.

Details are arranged in a logical progression; appropriate transitions.

Acceptable arrangement of examples; transitions may be weak.

No discernible pattern of organization; Unrelated details; no transitions.


Appropriate tone, distinctive voice; pleasing variety in sentence structure; Vivid diction, precise word choices.

Appropriate tone; Clear sentences with varied structures; Effective diction.

Acceptable tone; some variety in sentence structures; Adequate diction and word choices.

Inconsistent or Inappropriate tone; Awkward, unclear, or incomplete sentences; Bland diction, poor word choice.


Consistent standard English usage, spelling, and punctuation. No errors.

Some errors, but none major, in usage, spelling, or punctuation. (1-2)

A few errors in usage, spelling, or punctuation (3-4)

Distracting errors in usage, spelling, or punctuation

Topic Sentences                                      ______
Supporting Details and Organization    ______
Organization/Transitions                        ______
Style                                                          ______
Mechanics                                                ______
            Total Points  ______ = grade of ______

*Your instructor will average the scores of both paragraphs to generate your final grade for Assignment #1.

Grade Equivalent:

A =  8 - 10 points
B =  6 -7  points
C =  4 - 5 points
D =  2 - 3 points
F =  0 - 1

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