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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2126877-How-I-Rate--Review
Rated: E · Other · Writing · #2126877
As a former English teacher, I try to balance positive and negative feedback.
I enjoy reading the variety of contributions from beginner and veteran writers. When I leave a review, I refer to a mental "rubric" of attributes that each score point (or star rating) should have. I generally will give at least a Score Point 2 for effort.

Here's a general idea of what my mental "rubric" looks like:

Score Point 5: Outstanding
A Score Point 5 represents an exceptional piece of writing. I give this rating when a poem, story, or other item shows all these traits:
         Word choice is crisp and effective. Every word serves a purpose and clearly conveys the writer's message throughout the piece.
         Sentence structure varies and is easy to read.
         The writing is free of errors in usage and conventions.
         For poems, the visual structure strongly complements the words.
         If color is used, it doesn't distract from the writing.
         The tone is well suited for the topic and the intended audience.
         Characters and plot are fully realized.
         Dialogue, if used, contributes strongly to plot or characterization.
         If nonfiction, all facts are accurate.
         The content is deeply engaging and interesting.
         The writer provides a unique perspective or shows exceptional creativity with the topic.
         The writer's message is clear and consistent throughout the piece.

Score Point 4 1/2: Excellent
A Score Point 4.5 represents a piece of writing that is well above average, but doesn't quite meet the standards of a Score Point 5.
         Word choice is generally crisp and effective. Every word serves a purpose and conveys the writer's message throughout the piece.
         Sentence structure varies and is easy to read.
         The writing is mostly free of errors in usage and conventions.
         For poems, the visual structure complements the words.
         If color is used, it doesn't distract from the writing.
         The tone is appropriate for the topic and the intended audience.
         Characters and plot are clearly noticeable.
         Dialogue, if used, contributes to plot or characterization.
         For nonfiction, facts are accurate.
         The content kept me engaged and interested throughout.
         The writer delves into a topic or provides a thoughtful perspective on that topic.
         The writer's message is mostly clear throughout the piece.

Score Point 4: Very Good
I give a Score Point 4 for writing which is quite good but might benefit from some careful edits.
         Word choice is crisp and effective. The writer's message is clear.
         Sentence structure varies and is easy to read.
         The writing may have a few minor errors in usage or conventions, but these errors don't distract from the reading.
         For poems, the visual structure complements the words.
         If color is used, it doesn't distract from the writing.
         The tone is mostly appropriate for the topic and the intended audience.
         Characters and plot are mostly well realized.
         Dialogue, if used, generally contributes to plot or characterization.
         For nonfiction, facts are accurate.
         The content kept my interest throughout.
         The writer provides a different perspective on a common topic.
         The writer's message is generally clear throughout the piece.

Score Point 3 1/2: Above Average
I give a Score Point 3 1/2 for writing that shows a strong effort but might benefit from a few well-placed edits.
         Word choices are clear but could be more precise or vivid.
         Sentence structure is generally effective, but it may not flow well.
         The writing has several minor errors in usage or conventions that may distract from the reading or cause confusion.
         For poems, the visual structure may not effectively complement the words.
         If color is used, it may slightly distract from the writing.
         The tone is generally appropriate for the topic and the intended audience.
         Characters and plot may be weak in some places.
         Dialogue, if used, somewhat contributes to plot or characterization.
         For nonfiction, facts may be slightly inaccurate.
         The content mostly kept my interest.
         The writer's message may be slightly unclear or inconsistent in places.

Score Point 3: Average
A Score Point 3 is for average work that may be inconsistent or vague in some way, or has glaring errors that can be improved.
         Word choice is somewhat ineffective, causing the writing to be dull, wordy, or imprecise.
         Sentence structure is generally effective, but it may be confusing or choppy in some places.
         The writing has errors in usage or conventions that distract from the reading and cause confusion.
         For poems, the visual structure may distract from the writing.
         If color is used, it distracts from the writing or makes the writing difficult to read.
         The tone is somewhat appropriate for the topic and the intended audience.
         Characters and plot are not fully realized.
         Dialogue, if used, may somewhat contribute to plot or characterization.
         For nonfiction, minor inaccuracies may somewhat distract from the reading.
         The content somewhat kept my interest.
         The writer's message is somewhat unclear and inconsistent.

Score Point 2 1/2: Weak
A Score Point 2 1/2 is for work that would benefit from careful editing.
         Word choice is generally ineffective, causing writing to be uninteresting, wordy, or awkward.
         Sentence structure is somewhat effective, but is choppy or confusing.
         The writing has glaring errors in usage or conventions that severely distract from the reading and cause confusion.
         For poems, the visual structure distracts from the writing or makes the writing unclear.
         If color is used, it distracts from the writing or makes the writing illegible.
         The tone is not well suited for the subject or the audience.
         Dialogue, if used, only slightly contributes to plot or characterization.
         Characters and plot are weakly developed.
         For nonfiction, inaccuracies distracted from the reading.
         I lost interest in the content before I finished reading.
         The writer's message is unclear and not well developed throughout.

Score Point 2: Needs Improvement
A Score Point 2 is for work that needs a great deal of time and attention to reach its potential.
         Word choice is ineffective, leading to wordy, awkward writing.
         Sentence structure is ineffective, leading to choppy or confusing writing that is difficult to read and understand.
         Errors in usage and conventions make the writing difficult to read and understand.
         For poems, the visual structure distracts from the writing and makes the poem difficult to read and understand.
         If color is used, it distracts from the writing and makes the writing illegible.
         The tone is not well suited for the subject or the audience.
         Dialogue does not contribute to plot or characterization.
         Characters are more like caricatures and lack substance.
         Plot does not follow a logical sequence.
         For nonfiction, I noticed glaring inaccuracies.
         I lost interest in the content long before I finished reading.
         The writer's message is unclear and inconsistent throughout.

If I don't think I can give a piece at least a Score Point 2, I won't rate or review it. This isn't because I don't want to be helpful, but because I believe in trying to balance praise and criticism as much as possible. One thing for writers to remember is, we're all learning together. If I offer constructive advice, it's because I believe that you are a capable writer.

Remember, also, that a Score Point 3 or 4 doesn't mean your work is bad or "defective" in some way. A Score Point 4, for example, is still an 80%, which is a B. Many reviewers, including me, are reluctant to give a Score Point 5 because almost all writing can be improved in some way. So please don't be discouraged or take it personally if your work gets something other than a Score Point 5.
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