Now that you've created an essay grading scale with your students, make it official.
My life was pointless. I stayed in my classroom all day, grading papers, creating assessments for writing, trying to figure out how to create a rubric. None of my assessments for writing worked. Student writing got worse and worse until I read this great lesson plan (linked at the bottom) by a brilliant author and teacher. With his help I finally knew how to create a rubric. More importantly, it was the most effective rubric I had ever made.
Here's what I came up with.
Introduction - 25 Possible Points
1. Hooks the Reader Using One of the Proscribed Methods: 10 8 6 4 2
2. Thesis Statement Contains a Subject and a Verb and is Clear: 10 8 6 4 2
3. Thesis Statement is at the End of the Introduction: 5 4 3 2 1
Usage/Mechanics -25 Possible Points
1. Correct Spelling: 5 4 3 2 1
2. Correct Punctuation: 5 4 3 2 1
3. Variety of Sentence Types: 5 4 3 2 1
4. Limited Use of Passive Voice: 5 4 3 2 1
5. Parts of Speech Use: 5 4 3 2 1
Points to Ponder
Allowing students a voice in how their essay is graded is a good way to review what they learned and it shows them their voice counts for something. Of all the assessments for writing I've tried, allowing the class to help create the rubric has been the most effective. The example I've shown you is my example. Yours will probably look different.