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Argumentative Writing rubric


Mastery looks like

Introduces artful and precise claim(s) in a sophisticated thesis statement.

Skillfully orients reader to topic(s) in introduction.

Thoroughly develops claim(s) with relevant body paragraphs through consistently well developed, logical stages in an overall, at times complex, argument.

Creates cohesion through skillful use of linking words, phrases, and clauses within and between paragraphs.


Provides a meaningful and reflective conclusion which draws from and supports claim(s), while acknowledging and responding to other perspectives on the subject.


Provides substantial and pertinent evidence to support claim(s).


Seamlessly and effectively integrates and cites credible sources and/or textual evidence.

Convincingly refutes specific counter-claim(s).

Shows insightful understanding of topic/text .

Uses persuasive and valid reasoning to connect evidence with claim(s).

Uses purposeful and varied sentence structure.

Contains minimal to no errors in conventions (grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization).

Strategically uses academic and domain-specific vocabulary clearly appropriate for the audience and purpose.

Proficiency looks like

Introduces precise claim(s) in a clear thesis statement.


Orients reader to topic(s) in introduction.

Develops claim(s) with relevant body paragraphs defined and developed, although the explanation may not be consistent.


Provides a conclusion that follows from and supports claim(s), with some acknowledgement of alternative perspectives.

The stages follow in a generally cohesive progression through linking words, phrases, and clauses within and between paragraphs. Paragraphs are mostly well sequenced, although some may finish less strongly than they begin.


Provides sufficient and relevant evidence to support claim(s).


Integrates and cites credible sources and/or textual evidence.


Refutes specific counter-claim(s).

Shows understanding of topic/text.


Uses valid reasoning to connect evidence with claim(s).

Uses correct and varied sentence structure.

Contains a few, minor errors in conventions.

Uses academic and domain-specific vocabulary clearly appropriate for the audience and purpose.

Competency looks like

Introduces reasonable claim(s) in a thesis statement.

Makes an attempt to orient reader to topic(s) in introduction.

There is a series of relevant points and a clear attempt is made to develop some of them. These points are straightforward and logical/coherent.

Provides a conclusion which repetitively or partially supports claim(s) made in introduction.


Repetition is avoided, but the order of the stages in the overall argument can be changed without adverse effect. The sequence of the sentences within paragraphs is satisfactory, but the linking words, phrases, and/or clauses within or between paragraphs may be insecure.

Provides limited and/or superficial evidence to support claim(s).


Uses and cites adequate sources and/or textual evidence, but they are integrated ineffectively.

Minimally refutes counter- claim(s).

Shows superficial understanding of topic/text.

Uses some valid and accurate reasoning to connect evidence with claim(s).

Uses mostly correct and some varied sentence structure.

Contains some errors in conventions which may cause confusion.

Superficially uses academic and domain-specific vocabulary clearly appropriate for the audience and purpose.

Partial Competence looks like

Introduces superficial or flawed claim(s) in a weak thesis statement.

Inadequately orients reader to topic(s) in introduction.

Mainly relevant points are made but they are inadequately developed through minimal body paragraphs.

Provides an ending but it is not a conclusion.

The overall argument shows signs of structure but may be sounder at the beginning than at the end, or may drift away from the topic. There may be some repetition. Uses limited and/or inappropriate linking words, phrases, or clauses to sequence sentences.

Provides minimal and/or irrelevant evidence to support claim(s).

Shows limited understanding and/or flawed understanding of topic/text

Uses limited, simplistic and/or flawed reasoning to connect evidence with claim(s)

Uses limited and/or repetitive sentence structure.

Contains numerous errors in conventions which cause confusion.

Inadequately uses academic and domain-specific vocabulary clearly appropriate for the audience and purpose.


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