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

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