Ideas and Content


Topic is narrow and manageable

Relevant and quality details

Reasonably accurate details support main ideas.

Ideas are fresh and original.

Reader’s questions are anticipated and answered.


The topic is fairly broad; however, you can see where the writer is headed.

Support is attempted, but doesn't go far enough yet in fleshing out the key issues or story line.

Ideas are reasonably clear, though they may not be detailed, personalized, accurate, or expanded enough to show in depth understanding or a strong sense of purpose.

The writer seems to be drawing on knowledge or experience, but has difficulty going from general observations to specifics.

The reader is left with questions. More information is needed to "fill in the blanks."

The writer generally stays on the topic but does not develop a clear theme. The writer has not yet focused the topic past the obvious.


The writer is still in search of a topic, brainstorming, or has not yet decided what the main idea of the piece will be.

Information is limited or unclear or the length is not adequate for development.

The idea is a simple restatement of the topic or an answer to the question with little or no attention to detail.

The writer has not begun to define the topic in a meaningful, personal way.

Everything seems as important as everything else; the reader has a hard time sifting out what is important.

The text may be repetitious, or may read like a collection of disconnected, random thoughts with no discernable point.