PARCC Writing Rubrics UPDATE, 10-13-16

LITERACY AND THE COMMON COREIt has come to my attention that the PARCC people have been quietly revising the rubrics used to score the writing tasks. I generally read their newsletters, but somehow the one about the rubrics changing must have slipped by.

They made a point-value change for grades 4-5, which I’ve explained below.*

The biggest change is that whereas previously the rubrics for Research Simulation Task and Literary Analysis Task writing included three scoring rows (Reading Comprehension, Written Expression, and Writing Conventions), they have COMBINED the first two rows. Their stated justification for this is as follows:

“ELA/Literacy scoring rubrics are tools for scoring students’ written responses. In July 2015, PARCC states updated the scoring rubrics, combining the reading comprehension and written expression traits. PARCC state educators who called for this update did so because information from the PARCC state spring tests indicated that teachers and scorers would be better able to use the rubrics reliably with the revisions made.

“As in the past, PARCC states’ decisions were a direct result of applying both research results and educator input.  Educators working on this update believe the updated rubrics will be more usable, while simultaneously honoring the focus of the CCSS through the integration of reading and writing. Students will continue to receive both a reading and a writing score for their written responses.”[1]

I’m not sure what they mean by the last sentence. How can students receive “both” a reading and a writing score for their written responses if you combine the two into one row? And the other row is for mechanics. So. I can’t explain that.

Regular readers of this blog may have seen my “User-friendly” versions of the original (2014) PARCC rubrics. I’m keeping them available because the language in the newer rubrics has not changed significantly, and I think my versions are still easier to read. Just keep in mind that the rows are no longer as “rowish.” Meaning, the students don’t get scored separately for the separate rows that you see in my versions.

Here are the most current PARCC Writing Rubrics (as of July 2015):

PARCC Writing Rubric for Grade 3: grade3-ela-literacyscoringrubric-july2015

PARCC Writing Rubric for Grades 4-5: grade4-5-ela-literacyscoringrubric-july2015 *NOTE: When you compare this to the original rubric, you will notice that the highest score for the original RST and Literary Analysis rubric was 3. Now, it’s 4. But the maximum score for conventions remains 3 (presumably because they didn’t want to weight conventions equally with the other component (the combined reading and writing row).  Why does this matter? If you look at the PARCC-released student exemplars, you’ll notice that the highest scores from 2015 models are 3s. That’s because the rubrics only went up to 3 that year.

PARCC Writing Rubric for Grades 6-11: grade6-11-ela-literacyscoringrubric-july2015

For more information on PARCC preparation, please see the TLC Website “PARCC Prep” page, where I’ve curated everything I know about PARCC.

If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts, please chime in!

[1] Found at:

About theliteracycookbook

In addition to this blog, I am the creator of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK Website ( and ONLY GOOD BOOKS Blog (, and the author of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Jossey-Bass, 2012), LITERACY AND THE COMMON CORE: Recipes for Action (Jossey-Bass, 2014), and USING GRAMMAR TO IMPROVE WRITING: Recipes for Action (BookBaby, 2018). Check out my Website for more information about my consulting work.
This entry was posted in Assessment(s), Literary Analysis Writing, Narrative Writing, PARCC, Research Writing, Resources, Rubrics, Test Prep, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to PARCC Writing Rubrics UPDATE, 10-13-16

  1. Pingback: PARCC Prep: Narrative Writing Task Lesson Cycle | The Literacy Cookbook blog

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