AP Nine Point Trait Rubrics

All essays, both in-class and take-home, will be evaluated with the standard AP rubrics for poetry, prose and open-ended questions. When essays are done in class as timed writings using a real AP prompt, the corresponding rubric published by ETS is used for grading. However, sometimes materials are not directly related to an AP prompt.  Below are samples of generic rubrics containing the general language and areas of concentration used to evaluate AP essays for prose analysis, poetry analysis, and open-ended questions. The scoring is from 9 (highest) to 0 (lowest). I have tried to equate a percentage grade with each of the number scores. As you can tell, there is a wide range for some of the scores.

 

Prose Analysis Papers
# Trait Description %
9-8 These papers clearly demonstrate an understanding of the passage and recognize its complexity. The essays correctly identify two tones or sides of the author's attitude toward the subject in a well-written thesis and deal specifically with narrative techniques such as point of view, syntax, diction, detail, and organization. These papers use appropriate choices for quotation or reference and select an appropriate number of choices from throughout the passage. Although they may be flawed, the papers, nevertheless, display consistent control over the elements of effective writing and reveal the students' ability to read with perception and to express ideas with clarity and skill. Papers with a score of 9 will sing while 8 papers are almost there with just a few flat notes. 100-92
7-6 These papers adequately demonstrate an understanding of the passage. Tone identification may not be as precise or thesis as forcefully worded as in 9-8 essays. These papers are not as thorough, precise, or aware of complexities as the top scoring papers. They may deal with fewer narrative techniques, and analysis may be less perceptive or less developed than that of the better essays. The prose demonstrates an ability to express ideas clearly but with less maturity and control than the top-scoring papers. Generally, essays earning a score of 6 present a more limited analysis and less consistent command of the elements of effective writing than essays scored 7. 91-81
5 These papers represent the smallest score for college credit and are often characterized by superficiality. These essays respond to the question without important errors but miss the complexity of the passage. Their thesis statements may not reveal clear understanding of author's tone(s). Only a vague relationship exists between paragraphs' discussions of point of view, syntax, diction, detail, organization and how these relate to the question. Choices of proof may be less effective than those in 9-6 range or not from throughout the passage. Although adequate to convey the students' thoughts, the writing is not as well conceived, organized or developed as that in papers scoring in the upper half. These papers looks good on the surface but are simplistic. Students respond correctly but do not devote enough space to arguments. 80-75
4-3 These papers attempt to explain the passage but do so inaccurately or ineffectively. They may present misguided or underdeveloped analysis of point of view, syntax, diction, detail, organization and/or fail to relate them to the thesis. The papers mistake examples of diction for detail or vice versa and may involve paraphrasing and/or omit analysis altogether. Generally the prose reveals weak control over writer's elements as diction, organization, syntax or grammar. Typical essays earning a score of 4 are partly right, forgot part of something, went astray on part of answer, or are missing part of answer. Typical essays earning a score of 3 exhibit more than one of these problems; they are flawed by weak writing skills, significant misinterpretations, inadequate developments, or serious omissions. Four papers are still swimming-albeit almost drowning; however, one good kick would put them above water. Three papers are going under for the third time and need a lifeline. 74-60
2-1 These papers compound the weaknesses of essays in the 3-5 range. Moreover, they seriously misread the passage or fail to respond adequately to the question. The essays may be unacceptably brief, may be poorly written on several counts and/or may contain many distracting errors in grammar and mechanics. Although they may have attempted to answer the question, the views presented typically have little clarity or coherence. Two papers will paraphrase from the selection while the one essays omit any reference to the text. 59-25
0 These essays respond with no more than a reference to the task, contain completely off-topic responses, or are blank. 24-0

 

Poetry Analysis Papers
 
# Trait Description %
9-8 These well-organized and well-written essays clearly demonstrate an understanding of how the poet expresses the complex attitude of the speaker. In their textual references they are apt and specific. Although the writers may provide a range of interpretations, these papers will offer a convincing interpretation of the poem as well as consistent control over the elements of effective composition, including the language unique to the criticism of verse. Though not without flaws, they demonstrate the writer's ability to read poetry perceptively and to write with clarity and sophistication. 100-92
7-6 These essays reflect a sound grasp of this poem; but they are less sensitive to the complexities than the best essays, and their interpretation of the poem may falter in some particulars. Though perhaps not as thorough or precise in their discussion of (how the speaker's tone) is revealed in the poem, their dependence on paraphrase, if any, should be in the service of analysis. These essays demonstrate the writers' ability to express ides clearly, but they do not exhibit the same level of master, maturity and/or control as the very best essays. These essays are likely to be briefer, less incisive, and less well-supported than the 9-8 papers. 91-81
5 These essays are, at best, superficial. They respond to the assigned task yet probably say little beyond the most easily-grasped observations. Their analysis of HOW the author creates meaning may be vague, formulaic, or inadequately supported. They may suffer from the cumulative force of many minor misreadings. They tend to rely on paraphrase but nonetheless paraphrase which contains some implicit analysis. Composition skills are at a level sufficient to convey the writer's thoughts, and egregious mechanical errors do not constitute a distraction. These essays are nonetheless not as well-conceived, organized, or developed as upper-half papers. 80-75
4-3 These lower-half essays reveal an incomplete understanding of the poem and perhaps an insufficient understanding of the prescribed task as well: they may emphasize literal description without discussing the deeper implications of the poem. The analysis may be partial, unconvincing, or irrelevant or it may rely essentially on paraphrase. Evidence from the text may be meager or misconstrued. The writing demonstrates uncertain control over the elements of composition, often exhibiting recurrent stylistic flaws and/or inadequate development of ideas. Essays scored 3 may contain significant misreadings and/or unusually inept writing. 74-60
2-1 These essays compound the weaknesses of the papers in the 4-3 range. They may seriously misread the poem. Frequently, they are unacceptably brief. They are poorly written on several counts and may contain many distracting errors in grammar and mechanics. Although some attempt may have been made to respond to the question, the writer's assertions are presented with little clarity, organization, or support from the text of the poem. 59-25
0 These essays respond with no more than a reference to the task, contain completely off-topic responses, or are blank. 24-0

 

Open-ended Questions

# Trait Description %
9-8 Superior papers are specific in their references, cogent in their definitions, and free of plot summary that is not relevant to the question. These essays need not be without flaws, but they demonstrate the writer's ability to discuss a literary work with insight and understanding and to control a wide range of the elements of effective composition. 100-92
7-6 These papers are less thorough, less perceptive or less specific than 9-8 papers. These essays are well-written but with less maturity and control than the top papers. They demonstrate the writer's ability to analyze a literary work, but they reveal a more limited understanding than do the papers in the 9-8 range. Generally, 6 essays present a less sophisticated analysis and less consistent command of the elements of effective writing than essays scored 7. 91-81
5 Superficiality characterizes these 5 essays. Discussion of meaning may be pedestrian, mechanical, or inadequately related to the chosen details. Typically, these essays reveal simplistic thinking and/or immature writing. They usually demonstrate inconsistent control over the elements of composition and are not as well conceived, organized, or developed as the upper-half papers. On the other hand, the writing is sufficient to convey the writer's ideas. 80-75
4-3 Discussion is likely to be unpersuasive, perfunctory, underdeveloped or misguided. The meaning they deduce may be inaccurate or insubstantial and not clearly related to the question. Part of the question may be omitted altogether. The writing may convey the writer's ideas, but it reveals weak control over such elements as diction, organization, syntax or grammar. Typically, these essays contain significant misinterpretations of the question or the work they discuss; they may also contain little, if any, supporting evidence, and practice paraphrase and plot summary at the expense of analysis. 74-60
2-1 These essays compound the weakness of essays in the 4-3 range and are frequently unacceptably brief. They are poorly written on several counts, including many distracting errors in grammar and mechanics. Although the writer may have made some effort to answer the question, the views presented have little clarity or coherence. 59-25
0 These essays respond with no more than a reference to the task, contain completely off-topic responses, or are blank. 24-0

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