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Argumentative Essay Rubric: Master Writing Skills and Improve Grades

A grading rubric is an essential tool that instructors use to assess the work of their students. Basically, an argumentative essay rubric is an example of this tool, whose purpose is to assess the degree to which students have aligned their essays to acceptable standards. In turn, these standards include organization, formatting, content quality, and thesis development. As such, the argumentative essay rubric differs from the rubric of other types of essays in that it assesses whether students have captured counter-arguments and refutations in their texts.

General Aspects of Argumentative Essay Grading Rubric

When students write academic texts, their instructors grade their work by assessing it against an established grading rubric. Therefore, an argumentative essay grading rubric is an assessment tool that instructors use to measure students’ performance. Ideally, the rubric, which takes the form of a table, has assessment criteria and grading criteria. In this case, the former appears as a row on the left, and the latter appears as an upper column. Moreover, the argumentative essay grading rubric differs from the rubric of other types of academic texts in that one of the assessment criteria is the content of the text. In the argumentative paper rubric, students are assessed by whether they have captured counter-arguments and refutations. Besides, no other essay assesses these details.

Argumentative essay rubric

Rubric for an Assessment of an Argumentative Essay

1. Organization

3 Points: The essay has a natural, logical, and compelling progression of ideas. The structure is clear and enhances the central idea and readability of the text. The text utilizes transitions gracefully throughout the paper.

2 Points: Overall, the paper has a natural, logical progression of ideas. The flow of ideas makes sense and enhances readability. There is evidence of strong transitions throughout the text.

1 Point: The essay has an awkward progression of ideas, yet the reader can read the text without much confusion. There is sporadic use of transitions in parts of the paper.

0 Points: There is an unclear and illogical arrangement of the text. There is evidence of a lack of direction. There is a loose or random use of ideas and details. The text lacks an identifiable internal essay structure, which complicates the flow of thought. The text has a few transitions that have been used loosely and randomly. Hence, the paper fails to meet the basic requirements of the argumentative essay rubric.

Score: ___ .

2. Formatting

3 Points: There is a well-developed sentence structure throughout the essay. There is a correct use of punctuation and capitalization.

2 Points: Overall, the sentence structure is correct. However, there is evidence of some awkward sentences in parts of the paper. There is also evidence of punctuation and capitalization errors.

1 Point: The essay is poorly structured and has notable grammatical errors. There is evidence of punctuation and capitalization errors.

0 Points: The paper has multiple incorrect sentence structures. There are plenty of punctuation and capitalization errors. Hence, this paper must be improved by considering the criteria of the argumentative essay rubric.

Score: ___ .

3. Content

3 Points: The essay’s content is well-developed with three or more main arguments and supporting details. There is a counter-argument paragraph with at least two claims. There is a refutation paragraph(s) that acknowledges the counter-argument and summarizes the main arguments.

2 Points: The paper has three or more main arguments but without sufficient supporting details. There is a counter-argument paragraph. There is a refutation paragraph that acknowledges the counter-argument but does not summarize the main arguments.

1 Point: The essay has three or more main arguments that are not well-developed. There is a counter-argument with a vague claim. There is a refutation paragraph that does not acknowledge the counter-argument.

0 Points: The written work has less than three main arguments, which are not well-developed. There is neither a counter-argument nor a refutation paragraph. Hence, the work must be revised to follow the argumentative essay rubric.

Score: ___ .

4. Thesis

3 Points: The essay has a clearly structured thesis statement. The introduction is well-developed and contextualizes the thesis.

2 Points: The paper has a clearly stated thesis. The introduction offers some background information that connects with the thesis.

1 Point: The text has a thesis, but the introduction offers no background information that helps to contextualize the thesis.

0 Points: The written piece has a vague thesis. The background information in the introduction seems random and does not relate to the stated thesis. Hence, the student needs to develop the thesis statement to cover the expectations of the argumentative essay rubric.

Score: ___ .

Final Score: ___ .

Grade Equivalent:

A = 10-12 points
B = 9-7 points
C = 5-6 points
D = 3-4 points
F = 0-2 points

Summing Up on Argumentative Essay Rubric

The argumentative essay grading rubric is a tool that instructors use to assess students’ work. Basically, the grading assesses students’ work in terms of organization, formatting, content, and thesis development. In turn, students should master the following tips about the argumentative paper grading rubric:

  • create an introduction that offers a background for the thesis;
  • observe correct formatting standards as per applicable formats, such as APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago/Turabian;
  • utilize transitions to create a natural and logical progression of ideas.