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4.2.2 Informative-Explanatory Writing Rubric

California has joined the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and will be using assessments to measure student achievement in English Language Arts and Mathematics for grades 3–8 and 11 beginning in 2015. SBAC includes constructed response items that measure students’ writing according to rubrics. Rubrics can be very useful tools in assessing student work. Take a few moments to look over the “Smarter Balanced Informative-Explanatory Writing Rubric (Grades 3–5)

Time to Try

Ms. Valbuena’s goal was to assess students’ content knowledge of the Bill of Rights and their ability to write explanatory/informative essays. Take some time to assess the writing samples of four students using the rubric by looking at the images of their writing as well as the transcription. You can find Mrs. Valbuena’s scores for the student work after the last sample to compare your results. Keep in mind the following questions:  

  • Did the student demonstrate mastery of the information? 
  • Did the student demonstrate mastery of informative-explanatory writing?


Student Work Example 1

Student Work Example 2

Student Work Example 3

Student Work Example 4

Time to Reflect

After examining the student work and your comments, use the questions that follow to help you write up your conclusions in the journal:

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Sample responses

Select the following link to reveal how Mrs. Valbuena scored these essays.

Mrs. Valbuena’s Smarter Balanced Informative-Explanatory Writing Rubric Scores