Analytic vs. Holistic Rubrics

Part three in a five-part series

What's the difference between analytic and holistic rubrics?

  • Analytic rubrics identify and assess components of a finished product.
  • Holistic rubrics assess student work as a whole.
Which one is better?

Neither rubric is better than the other. Both have a place in authentic assessment, depending on the following:

  • Who is being taught? Because there is less detail to analyze in the holistic rubric, younger students may be able to integrate it into their schema better than the analytic rubric.
  • How many teachers are scoring the product? How many teachers are scoring the product? Different teachers have different ideas about what constitutes acceptable criteria. The extra detail in the analytic rubric will help multiple grades emphasize the same criteria.

Recall the analytic rubric from part two and compare it with the holistic rubric below:

Fiction Writing Content Rubric – HOLISTIC

  • 5 – The plot, setting, and characters are developed fully and organized well. The who, what, where, when, and why are explained using interesting language and sufficient detail.
  • 4 – Most parts of the story mentioned in a score of 5 above are developed and organized well. A couple of aspects may need to be more fully or more interestingly developed.
  • 3 – Some aspects of the story are developed and organized well, but not as much detail or organization is expressed as in a score of 4.
  • 2 – A few parts of the story are developed somewhat. Organization and language usage need improvement.
  • 1 – Parts of the story are addressed without attention to detail or organization.

Rubric Reminders:

  1. Neither the analytic nor the holistic rubric is better than the other one.
  2. Consider your students and grader(s) when deciding which type to use.
  3. For modeling, present to your students anchor products or exemplars of products at various levels of development.

Rubrics: An Overview
Rubrics Part One: The Advantages of Rubrics
Rubrics Part Two: Create an Original Rubric
Rubrics Part Four: How to Weight Rubrics
Rubrics Part Five: Student-Generated Rubrics

Free 7-Day Trial for TeacherVision®

Sign up for a free trial and get access
to our huge library of teaching materials!

Start Trial


Celebrate the Festival of Lights in your classroom! Hanukkah begins at sundown December 6.

December Calendar of Events
December is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: World AIDS Day (12/1), International Volunteer Day (12/6), Hanukkah (begins at sundown 12/6), Handwashing Awareness Week (12/6-12), Computer Science Education Week (12/7-13), Human Rights Day (12/10), Winter Solstice (12/22), Christmas (12/25), Kwanzaa (begins 12/26), Visit the Zoo Day (12/27), and New Year's Eve (12/31). Plus, celebrate Bingo's Birthday Month, Universal Human Rights Month, and Write to a Friend Month all December long!

Hour of Code
Introduce your students to basic coding and computer science! Celebrate Computer Science Education Week from December 7-13, 2015 with our Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Kids, Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Teens, or the Hour of Code resources provided by Code.org®

Interested in using different types of media in your classroom? We have a growing collection of videos, with related activities, for holidays and events, including: slavery & the Civil War, American History, U.S. Presidents, handwashing awareness, the Common Core, women's history, Memorial Day, the American Revolution, and the environment. Enjoy!

Teaching with Comics: Galactic Hot Dogs
Reach reluctant readers and English-language learners with comics! Our original teaching guides to the Galactic Hot Dogs comic series (chapters 1-4 and 5-8), as found on Funbrain.com (and now in print!), will take students on a cosmic adventure while engaging their creative minds. Plus, find even more activities for teaching with comics, featuring many other classic stories.