Skip to main content OPRFHS Library Home Page

Stovall/Farrow/McMurray - Jr. Theme: Rubric


Junior Theme Learning Targets Rubric


American Literature

Learning Targets

Sophisticated & Effective




Thesis:  Position Development



Your intro and thesis take a clear position that recognizes counterargument and previews your key evidence and analysis.  The thesis takes an original and arguable position that responds to the prompt with depth.

Your intro and thesis take a clear position that provides a preview of key evidence and analysis.  The thesis may be somewhat general.

Your intro and thesis present a response to the prompt, but may lack depth, oversimplify issues, or generalize too broadly.

Your intro/thesis do not take a clear or arguable position, or may not respond fully to the prompt.

Main Ideas & Focus




Topic sentences are clear,  concise, and consistently connect directly to your thesis statement. There are no shifts in focus.

Your claim is supported in each topic sentence.  Topic sentences may be somewhat unclear.

Your topic sentences do not consistently support your thesis.  There are minor shifts in focus throughout the essay.

Your claim is not clearly focused and may include tangential shifts unrelated to the thesis.  You may be missing some topic sentences.

Target 1:  Evidence

I can find, evaluate, and synthesize evidence from multiple sources to support my thesis statement.


You have included specific, ample, appropriate, and accurate evidence from course texts and external research to support your argument. 


Evidence comes from a variety of sources (news, databases, academic journal, editorial, primary/secondary, books, government, etc.)


Sources represent credible authors and institutions and are not limited to third party news sources or blogs.

Evidence is provided to support your claims, but may be somewhat basic in its support and may provide somewhat general information.


Evidence comes from a limited variety of sources.


Sources generally represent credible authors.

Evidence is insufficient or inconsistently supports your claim.


Evidence represents sources that lack credibility and variety.

Evidence is missing, inaccurate or irrelevant to the argument/claim.



Target 2:  Incorporation of Evidence

I can incorporate paraphrased and quoted evidence smoothly into my own argument using appropriate and sophisticated lead-in material and correct MLA parenthetical citation.




Evidence is thoughtfully arranged and incorporated smoothly using appropriate transition material.


*Quoted material has smooth lead-ins, and punctuation formatted correctly.


*Lead-ins provide author/credential information when necessary.


*Parentheticals/citations are correct for ALL references: quotes, paraphrase, summary.

Evidence is thoughtfully arranged and incorporated into each body paragraph, but may lack some smooth transitional material. 


*Correct parenthetical citations are included for all references.

Evidence is included in each body paragraph, but may feel choppy and forced due to missing transitional material and lead-ins.


*Some references are not cited correctly.

Evidence is not incorporated for each body paragraph.


Evidence is missing appropriate lead-ins and correct citations.





Target 3:  Analysis

I can analyze and explain how the support, factual statements, and specific examples prove my thesis and refute evidence that contradicts my thesis.  I do not rely on the research to speak for me.

Analysis of texts/themes/arguments throughout the essay is original, thoughtful, and sophisticated.


Counter-arguments are addressed and refuted without distracting from the main claim.




Analysis includes clear interpretation of texts/themes/arguments, but may only provide limited original analysis.


Counter-arguments are only loosely addressed or may distract from the main claim.

Analysis simply restates or summarizes evidence and provides only a generic connection back to thesis statement/prompt.


Analysis is missing, unclear, lacks focus on the claim, or makes unsophisticated assumptions.


Target 4:  Works Cited & MLA I can create a Works Cited page that reflects all of the material I cited in my paper.

Effective works cited entries with no errors in MLA formatting. Parenthetical citations are flawless.


Effective works cited entries with minimal errors in MLA formatting.  Only minor errors in parenthetical citation.


Inadequate works cited entries with multiple errors in MLA formatting.

No works cited page and/or internal citations.



Language & Word Choice





Your writer “voice” is unique and clear.   Vocabulary and sentence structure are especially sophisticated and effective for an academic audience.


There are no distracting grammar errors.

Your vocabulary and sentence structure are clear and concise and appropriate for an academic audience.


There are very few distracting grammatical or spelling errors

Not all language choices are appropriate for academic audiences.


Writing is too informal for an academic audience:  You use first and/or second person.  Contractions are used.


Spelling/grammar are somewhat distracting.


Language is informal, unsophisticated and inappropriate for formal essay context.


Spelling and grammar are very distracting.  It appears that the essay was not edited, spell-checked, or previewed before turning it in.





o  Typed

o  Double-Spaced

o  Times New Roman, 12 pt.

o  MLA style Cover Page

o  No spaces in between paragraphs

o  Title


One formatting error


Two formatting errors


More than 2 formatting errors


 Learning Target 5:  (Formative) Process Assessment

I can plan for and successfully meet the multiple checkpoints required for the entire process.


Your original calendar/checklist (with initials) will be submitted as evidence of your commitment to the essay process.