All-USA Scholarship - Improved Writing Rubrics

Submitted by Roselyn Turner on

As reported on the 2014 CATS "All-USA Scholarship Selection Process," a "6-Trait Writing Rubric" replaced the EMCC Writing Rubric for scoring the 2015 essays. 2014 scorers reported displeasure with the EMCC Writing Rubric, especially regarding content. The 2015 rubric was customized to weight heavily "Ideas & Content," and the semi-finalist judging score sheet was adjusted accordingly. 2015 scorers reported the new rubric was more effective in judging the value of the experiences and accomplishments in the essays. Additionally, they reported the rubric was more efficient because of clearer criteria. Contrasting inter-rater reliability of the 2014 with the 2015 rubric showed more closely aligned scores, making the selection of the semi-finalists clear. Due to confidentiality, scores cannot be provided for this CATS. We suggest continuing the use of the revised 6-Trait Writing Rubric for this competition. Our findings also suggest that broader application of the 6-Trait writing Rubric is beneficial and warrants consideration in other areas, such as composition courses, the Writing Center & the SAAC Writing/Composition Ability.

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Average: 4.5 (6 votes)


Heather Muns Sat, 04/16/2016 - 9:59pm

I like that you are continually looking at this and making adjustments accordingly.  

Olga Tsoudis Sun, 04/17/2016 - 3:52pm

HI Ro and Marylyn,

It is exciting how you continue to improve the process for the scholarships.

I also like how the results can be used in courses as well.



Peter Turner Mon, 04/18/2016 - 2:22pm

As one of the scorers, I can attest to the efficacy of the 6-trait rubric, at least as it applied to the All-USA papers that we assessed. Great job of listening to the scorers and modifying accordingly!

Becky Baranowski Mon, 04/18/2016 - 2:39pm

I have been on this committee for 10+ years, and the process of scoring the papers has become so much easier.  Thanks for continually looking to improve the process.