Shared Criteria and Standards for Formative Assessment
Technical Competency and Related Presentational Skills
Criterion and Standards1: Focus
(6, 5) The sample responds fully to the assignment and its rhetorical context. The entire sample has a clear and consistent focus, responding fully and specifically to the assignment and rhetorical context (occasion, audience, purpose). The central ideas are conveyed clearly, and the scope is manageable given the nature of the assignment.
(4, 3) The sample addresses the assignment, but is unevenly responsive. Much of the sample clearly and consistently addresses the assignment and rhetorical context (occasion, audience, purpose). Most of the central ideas are apparent, though further clarification is needed for some. The sample contains occasional digressions or irrelevancies.
(2, 1) The sample is not responsive to the assignment. The sample fails to address key elements of the assignment. The main topics are too broad given the length of the paper, or the central points are simply not clear. The sample may be fragmented, with various points receiving equal attention.
Criterion and Standards2: Development & Support
The sample's major ideas are developed clearly and logically. The sample reflects sound reasoning, and the information is accurate. Readers should follow, understand, and respect the reasoning. The sample invites constructive engagement with the reader. Major ideas are well developed and clearly explained. The sample avoids common fallacies. The support is tailored to suit the audience and occasion.
(Development and Support, Continued):
The sample's major ideas are developed unevenly. Major ideas are well developed as a whole, but occasional problems in support, explanations, or accuracy are likely to confuse readers or cause them to question the author’s reasoning. Most ideas are conveyed clearly and succinctly, though clarification and elaboration are sometimes needed. The sample contains a few relatively minor fallacies.
The development of major ideas is lacking and/or confusing. Readers would likely find significant flaws in logic, accuracy, explanations, or reasoning. Major ideas are barely supported or merely repeated. Generalizations are used when more specific evidence is needed. Fallacies undermine the author’s credibility. Problems with reasoning are likely to alienate the audience or otherwise undermine the communication process.
Criterion and Standards3: Organization
The organization is clear. Paragraphs and sentences follow a reasonable, coherent, discernable sequence. Readers should rarely if ever question the connection between one idea and another. Transitions and/or headings effectively signal the relationships among the larger parts of the sample. The audience will be likely to find the sample engaging and easy to follow.
The organization is generally clear, but relationships are sometimes forced or not fully apparent. The organizational scheme is recognizable, but a few jumps in thought disrupt the flow. The author has a sense of grouping ideas in paragraphs, but some transitions are awkward or not fully clear. The organizational scheme may be too formulaic or predictable to suit the audience and occasion. The audience may be engaged throughout most of the text, but may have some difficulty following the flow at times.
The sample is haphazardly or confusingly arranged. Readers will struggle in connecting ideas, sentences, or paragraphs.
Criterion and Standards4: Mechanics and Presentation
The author makes effective use of appropriate written conventions, including grammar, punctuation, spelling, and stylistic variability. A few minor errors may appear in the sample, but on the whole the author makes effective use of appropriate conventions. Documentation of the author’s work is provided as necessary (for the audience and occasion). The author makes ethical and effective use of rhetorical tools. The sample is guided by a strong and consistent authorial presence. Rhetorical choices are appropriate to the genre, audience, occasion, and purpose(s). The author makes appropriate and effective use of diction, syntax, tone, and stylistic variability.
The sample is generally effective, but there are a few difficulties in the use of appropriate written conventions, such as in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and stylistic variability. The author generally makes effective use of appropriate written conventions, though there are a few relatively minor errors within the sample. Rhetorical tools are used effectively in much of the sample, though not throughout. A strong authorial voice can be found within the sample, though sometimes unevenly. Figures and other elements of style support fulfillment of the authorial purpose throughout much of the text, though occasionally inappropriate or ineffective uses undermine fulfillment of the author’s goals.
There are significant difficulties in the use of appropriate written conventions, including grammar or punctuation errors even in simple sentences. Readers have difficulty understanding the text. Errors undermine the author’s credibility and ability to communicate effectively. Readers have difficulty finding a guiding authorial voice. Stylistic choices are inappropriate to the genre and occasion. Problems with diction and tone disrupt the flow of communication.
NOTES FOR APPLYING FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENT
 This instrument is adapted from the work of the EWU Dept. of English, in collaboration with Joseph Eng, previously Composition Director of EWU and currently Professor of English and Director of Writing and Academic Skills Achievement Programs, CSUMB. Revisions reflect responsiveness to ideas generated during CSUMB’s Spring 2007 TLA/UWP EngCom Collaborative, the 2007 All Campus Pre-Fall Writing Workshop, the Fall 2007 Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) “Brown Bag” Forum Series, and through numerous consultations with EngCom instructional faculty at CSUMB.
 Among the many rhetorical tools available are analogies, metaphors, and other figures of speech , appeals to authority and related appeals, hypothetical examples, illustrations, first-person narrative accounts and related strategies for establishing a strong authorial ethos. In general, using these and other rhetorical tools to deceive or mislead readers is considered unethical.
 The text to follow is adapted from the Summer, 1999 EWU Composition Program’s version of a document titled “Shared Criteria for Formal Writing.” Revisions reflect responsiveness to ideas generated during CSUMB’s Spring 2007 TLA/UWP EngCom Collaborative, the 2007 All Campus Pre-Fall Writing Workshop, the Fall 2007 Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) “Brown Bag” Forum Series, and through numerous consultations with CSUMB’s EngCom instructional faculty.