Four Paragraph Essay Rubric Template

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Rubric for Evaluation of the Paragraph

A rubric is a grading tool that describes the criteria, or "what counts," for the assignment.  It also describes each of the criteria according to gradations of quality, with descriptions of strong, middling, and problematic student work.  The criteria are listed in the column on the left.  The numbers in the top row indicate quality, with 3 being the best.   The number 0 is something everyone wants to avoid.  Students may use the rubric as a check list to determine if the writing meets the criteria of the assignment.

Point Value

2 points

1 points

.5 points

0 points

Topic Sentence

Interesting, original topic sentence, reflecting thought and insight; focused on one interesting main idea.

Clearly stated topic sentence presents one main idea.

Acceptable topic sentence presents one idea.

Missing, invalid, or inappropriate topic sentence;  main idea is missing.

Supporting Details 

Interesting, concrete and descriptive examples and details with explanations that relate to the topic.  

Examples and details relate to the topic and some explanation is included. 

Sufficient number of examples and details that relate to the topic.

Insufficient, vague, or undeveloped examples. 

Organization and Transitions

Thoughtful, logical progression of supporting examples; Mature transitions between ideas.

Details are arranged in a logical progression; appropriate transitions.

Acceptable arrangement of examples; transitions may be weak.

No discernible pattern of organization; Unrelated details; no transitions.


Appropriate tone, distinctive voice; pleasing variety in sentence structure; Vivid diction, precise word choices.

Appropriate tone; Clear sentences with varied structures; Effective diction.

Acceptable tone; some variety in sentence structures; Adequate diction and word choices.

Inconsistent or Inappropriate tone; Awkward, unclear, or incomplete sentences; Bland diction, poor word choice.


Consistent standard English usage, spelling, and punctuation. No errors.

Some errors, but none major, in usage, spelling, or punctuation. (1-2)

A few errors in usage, spelling, or punctuation (3-4)

Distracting errors in usage, spelling, or punctuation

Topic Sentences                                      ______
Supporting Details and Organization    ______
Organization/Transitions                        ______
Style                                                          ______
Mechanics                                                ______
            Total Points  ______ = grade of ______

*Your instructor will average the scores of both paragraphs to generate your final grade for Assignment #1.

Grade Equivalent:

A =  8 - 10 points
B =  6 -7  points
C =  4 - 5 points
D =  2 - 3 points
F =  0 - 1

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