Title page for ETD etd-04112012-105233

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Miller, Jeanette Martin
Author's Email Address jmiller@achslions.com, faith.working.through.love@gmail.com
URN etd-04112012-105233
Title Fixing Mechanics: A Study in Cross-Curricular Use of Rubrics to Grade Writing
Degree Master of Education (M.Ed.)
Department Educational Theory, Policy, & Practice
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bach, Jacqueline Committee Chair
Bickmore, Steven Committee Member
Trousdale, Ann Committee Member
  • rubrics
  • cross-curricular
  • writing
  • Mechanics
Date of Defense 2012-03-29
Availability unrestricted
Teachers who assign and grade writing sometimes use rubrics to assist in this process. A rubric usually consists of a set of rules, guidelines, or criteria that must be met for students to obtain a passing grade. Rubrics are intended to take the subjectivity out of grading writing and to give feedback to the student for further improvement. Because even English teachers disagree about the use of rubrics to grade writing, and the criteria that is most important within the rubrics, hearing from teachers in other subject areas could help all teachers better understand how to grade writing assignments. This case study examines teacher perspectives on the use of rubrics to grade student writing. Within one private K-12 school, teachers from grades K-12 in every subject area were asked for their opinions of the elements of good writing, their use of rubrics to grade writing, and the criteria they value in writing. Teachers at the high school level use rubrics and value elaboration and details, but expressed frustration with common mechanical errors in student writing.. This study was conducted in two parts – the first at the high school, and the second at the elementary and middle schools. Findings indicate that elementary and middle school teachers, in general, characterized good writing as writing that is free of mechanical errors. These elementary and middle school teachers then collaborated, created, and implemented a rubric for assessing mechanics in student writing. In follow up interviews, students expressed some annoyance that every teacher was now grading their writing, but admit that they are now more careful to proofread their work. Hearing from teachers in other subject areas did help all teachers better understand how to assess writing assignments. Most agree that using a rubric is the best tool for grading student writing, and even worked together to address those common mechanical errors found across the curriculum in our students’ writing. This open communication and collaboration needs to extend to other critical areas of literacy.
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