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21 Grading Grids for Popular High School Essays and a Position Paper (e-book) Review by April Elstrom

Sharon Watson
Writing with Sharon Watson
P. O. Box 6441
Kokomo, IN 46904-6441

If there’s one thing homeschool parents might fear more than teaching writing, it’s actually grading the completed essays. I had been homeschooling for around 14 years before I heard of a grading rubric. Suddenly, grading a writing assignment was no longer a vague mystery. But that doesn’t help me grade an essay that is assigned in my daughter’s history text. There isn’t a grading rubric built into the textbook.

Sharon Watson has solved that problem by compiling an e-book of 21 Grading Grids for Popular High School Essays and a Position Paper. It’s this homeschool mom’s dream come true! Just download and save the PDF document to your computer, then print out each grading rubric as that type of essay is assigned. Most essay varieties have two grades: one for content and one for grammar and mechanics. This allows the student to see where they are doing well, and where improvement is needed. If you need to combine those into one grade, you can average them together, but it still helps students to see both grades.

The 21 Grading Grids e-book is designed to correspond with her writing curriculum, The Power In Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School. All 21 of these grading grids are included in the teacher’s manual for The Power In Your Hands, but having them in a PDF document makes it simple to print them without having to photocopy from the book. It also makes the rubrics available to use with other curriculum, without having to flip through an entire teacher’s manual to find them.

Although the grading grids provide guidelines for how many points to give for different elements of writing, there is still room for subjectivity in grading. The grading grid states that you should assign 1-10 points for how well an essay is organized, but one teacher may still grade more stringently than others. Sharon Watson does caution parents to realize that younger students will not write as well as older students, and also that their writing will improve as they proceed through the assignments.

Personally, I meant it when I said that 21 Grading Grids for Popular High School Essays and a Position Paper was my dream come true. I will be saving this e-book to a thumb drive to prevent me losing it in case of another computer crash, because I expect to use this throughout my remaining years of homeschooling. All those history essays and English research papers will now have a grading grid for me to follow. Even though I have a photocopier in my home, it will be much simpler to print from this e-book as we proceed through The Power In Your Hands with my high school students. Thank you, Sharon Watson, for putting them into an e-book format!

-Product review by April Elstrom, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2016