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ACTIVITY: Evaluating Writing


This activity asks you to download and evaluate “Early Earth,” a sample Big History essay, using the same rubric Big History uses to grade writing. The goal of this activity is to familiarize you with the rubric by having you practice using it on a sample paper. It should also help you think more carefully about what should be included in the essays you write.
Illustration of Earth and the Moon. Note increased proximity of the two, dark green ocean of water with large quantities of iron(II)oxide and clouds of carbon dioxide. "Earearth" by Anynobody - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


Download and review the Big History Writing Rubric. In the Big History course, all writing is evaluated in four different categories. Read the descriptions of the standards for each category.
Once you have reviewed the rubric, read “Early Earth.” When you’ve finished reading the essay, evaluate it using the blank version of the rubric, which is attached to the Writing Rubric document. Focus on one category at a time and take the following approach: Reread the general description of the category—the column furthest to the left. Then, reread the descriptions of each standard for that category. Decide which standard for the category you think best describes the essay. Once you decide, mark the appropriate box on the rubric with an “X” and write a brief comment somewhere in that row—it can be on either side of the “X.”

For Further Discussion

In the Questions Area below, list the following:
1. The score from one row of the rubric (be sure to post which row).
2. Helpful suggestions for the author. If the author could do one thing to improve the score in that row, what advice would you give?

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