Many different ingredients go into good writing, from vivid verbs to well placed commas. But no writer can keep every single ingredient in mind all at once. Instead, it's easier to consider three essential qualities: structure, ideas, and conventions. All writing—from paragraphs to essays to reports, stories, emails, and so on—should exhibit these qualities.
Good writing has a clearly developed beginning, middle, and ending. Each main point and supporting detail is arranged according to the best pattern of organization.
Effective writing presents interesting information about a specific topic. It has a clear message or purpose. The ideas are thoroughly developed through a variety of details. And these details are presented in an easy-to-read and enjoyable manner through precise words, varied sentences, and an agreeable voice.
Good writing follows the basic standards of punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and grammar. It is edited with care to ensure that the work is accurate and easy to follow.
You may have noticed that the qualities are a simplified version of the traits of effective writing—ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. While the six traits have provided the foundation for state writing standards for more than 50 years, the Common Core focuses on just three of the traits (ideas, structure, conventions) for students in grades K through 5. We call this reduced list of traits the "qualities" of effective writing.
You can use these rubrics to evaluate writing for upper-elementary students.