NJ Holistic Scoring Rubric

  • New Jersey Registered Holistic Scoring Rubric

    Used for the "Writing to Speculate" (Picture Prompt) and Persuasive Writing Items


    Inadequate Command

    Limited Command

    Partial Command

    Adequate Command

     Strong Command

    Superior Command








    Content and Organization

    May lack opening and/ or closing

    May lack opening and/ or closing

    May lack opening and/ or closing

    Generally has opening and/or closing

    Opening and closing

    Opening and closing

    Minimal response to topic; uncertain focus

    Attempts to focus

    May drift or shift focus

    Usually has single focus

    Single focus

    Single focus

    Sense of unity and coherence

    Key ideas developed

    Single, distinct focus

    Unified and coherent

    Well- developed

    No planning evident; disorganized

    Attempts organization

    Few, if any, transitions between ideas

    Some lapses or flaws in organization

    May lack some transitions between ideas

    Ideas loosely connected

    Transitions evident

    Logical progression of ideas

    Moderately fluent

    Attempts compositional risks

    Logical progression of ideas

    Fluent, cohesive

    Compositional risks successful

    Details random, inappropriate, or barely apparent

    Details lack elaboration,

    i. e., highlight paper

    Repetitious details

    Several unelaborated details

    Uneven development of details

    Details appropriate and varied

    Details effective, vivid, explicit, and/ or pertinent


    No apparent control

    Severe/ numerous errors

    Numerous errors

    Errors/ patterns of errors may be evident

    Some errors that do not interfere with meaning

    Few errors

    Very few, if any, errors

    Sentence Construction

    Assortment of incomplete and/ or incorrect sentences

    Excessive monotony/ same structure

    Numerous errors

    Little variety in syntax

    Some errors

    Some variety

    Generally correct

    Variety in syntax appropriate and effective

    Few errors

    Precision and/or sophistication

    Very few, if any, errors


    Errors so severe they detract from meaning

    Numerous serious errors

    Patterns of errors evident

    No consistent pattern of errors

    Some errors that do not interfere with meaning

    Few errors

    Very few, if any, errors


    Non-Scorable Reponses


    No Response

    Student wrote too little to allow a reliable judgement of his/her writing.


    Off Topic/Off Task

     Student did not write on the assigned topic/ task, or the student attempted to copy the prompt. 


    Not English

    Student wrote in a language other than English. 


    Wrong Format

    Student refused to write on the topic, or the writing task folder was blank.


    Content/ Organization


    Sentence Construction


    • Communicates intended message to intended audience
    • Relates to topic
    • Opening and closing
    • Focused
    • Logical progression of ideas
    • Transitions
    • Appropriate details and information
    • Tense formation
    • Subject- verb agreement
    • Pronouns usage/ agreement
    • Word choice/ meaning
    • Proper Modifiers
    • Variety of type, structure, and length
    • Correct construction
    • Spelling
    • Capitalization
    • Punctuation