Owning the Intangible: Possession, Theft, and (Mis)Appropriation of Ideas

A Rubric for Editing Writing

Using this form: First fill in short answers. Then answer the longer and more reflective questions. On the short questions use the following: plus for outstandingly; check for adequately; minus for poorly.

A. Date Form Completed:

B. Author of Paper:

C. Title of Paper:

D. Your Name:

What's the Point?

E. What, in your view, is the central point of the paper? You may copy a sentence from the paper if you find it appropriate to do so.


F. How well do the opening passages announce that central point? _____

G. How well do the closing passages leave the reader with a clear sense of the central point? _____

H. How well does the paper maintain a unity of focus? _____

I. How well does each paragraph in the central body advance the claim or intensify the focus? ____

Basic Skills

J. How well does the author use appropriate skills in grammar, punctuation, spelling and idioms? _____

K. How well does the author use information to support the paper's central claim? _____

L. How well does the author choose appropriate formats (e.g., quotations, footnotes, figures) to present that information? _____

Author's Voice

M. How well does the writing reveal a narrative voice that is engaged intellectually with the topic of the paper? _____

N. How well does the writing acknowledge and grapple with the complexity of the material? _____

Narrative Assessment

O. What is the strongest aspect of this paper?


P. What is the weakest aspect of this paper?


Q. Please enter any other comments you have here, including explanations for low ratings on the first side. You may also comment directly on the paper.


Many numeric questions on this form are modified from the Grinnell College Writing Assessment Rubric.

Sortor, Marci, et al. (2003). Grinnell College Writing Assessment Rubric. Unpublished document, available from The Office of the Academic Dean, Grinnell College.

This modified rubric is available on the Web at http://www.cs.grinnell.edu/~rebelsky/Courses/Tutorial/2003F/Handouts/writing-rubric.pdf.



Wednesday, 27 August 2003 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]

Thursday, 28 August 2003 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]

Monday, 3 November 2003 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]


Disclaimer: I usually create these pages on the fly, which means that I rarely proofread them and they may contain bad grammar and incorrect details. It also means that I tend to update them regularly (see the history for more details). Feel free to contact me with any suggestions for changes.

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Samuel A. Rebelsky, rebelsky@grinnell.edu