An essay is a piece of structured writing used to communicate an idea or series of ideas.
Students get so worried that they 'can't write an essay'. I think they get too anxious over the word essay, but when we break down the expectations of a good essay the task doesn't seem so difficult.
When I mark English essays I usually use a marking rubric. A rubric is a scoring tool that allows markers to stay within objective guidelines when judging an assessment. They are also a great tool for students, as it allows students to understand what their marker is looking for.
In essay writing rubrics usually cover:
So when a student is writing an essay they should keep content, structure and mechanics in the back of their mind. When rereading and editing their essay they should keep content, structure and mechanics in the front of their mind. Students should go through their essay and ask questions around content, structure and mechanics, such as:
Are my ideas relevant to the chosen topic?
Did I use evidence, did I discuss is clearly?
Are my ideas communicated in a logical way?
Have I checked my spelling / grammar / punctuation?
If students are able to write with the rubric in mind they will pick up many more marks. If they get used to referring to the rubric they will have much more guidance when beginning the task of writing an essay. and finally, they will have good guidance on what they did well and what they need to improve on in the future.
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