Rubric For Thesis Statements

Body Paragraphs

The main idea or a thesis statement is clearly defined. There may be more than one key point. Appropriate relevant information and details are shared from a variety of sources including personal experiences, observations, and prior knowledge. Supporting details are accurate, relevant, and helpful in clarifying the main idea(s).

The main idea can be identified. The writer shares relevant information, facts and experiences.  There is a clear distinction between general observations and specifics.  Supporting details are relevant and explain the main idea.

The main idea can be identified. The writer shares some information, facts and experiences, but may show problems going from general observations to specifics. Stronger support and greater attention to details would strengthen this paper.

More than one of the following problems may be evident: The main idea is not identifiable. The writer shares some information, but it is limited or unclear. Details are missing or repetitious.


Writer’s Voice, Audience Awareness,

The paper is honest and enthusiastic. The language is natural yet thought-provoking. It brings the topic to life. The reader feels a strong sense of interaction with the writer and senses the person behind the words.
Writing is smooth, skillful, and coherent.  Sentences are strong and expressive with varied structure

Writer's voice is  consistent and strong.  The writer is aware of an audience. The reader is informed and remains engaged. Sentences have varied structure.


Writer's voice may emerge strongly on occasion, then retreat behind general, vague, tentative, or abstract language. The writer is aware of an audience.  The reader is informed, but must work at remaining engaged. Sentence structure shows some variety.

Writing is confusing, hard to follow.  Language is vague.  No audience awareness.  No variety in sentence structure.


Spelling, punctuation, capitalization

Punctuation, spelling, capitalization are correct.  No errors.

Punctuation, spelling, capitalization are generally correct, with few errors. (1-2)

A few errors in punctuation, spelling, capitalization. (3-4)

Distracting errors in punctuation, spelling, capitalization.


High School


Thesis Statement: an explicit statement of the purpose, intent or main idea of a piece of writing

The thesis statement presents a point worth making. The text is supported with relevant and sophisticated vocabulary without intimidating the reader. The reader wants to keep going and find the resolution or the answer to questions posed by the author. It is possible to trace the statement through the entire paper without having to search for connections.  

The thesis statement is a road map for the piece. The statement contains powerful and evocative imagery that pulls in someone interested in the topic. Nothing in the piece deviates from the thesis and it is explicitly clear how each section connections back to the statement.

The thesis statement is advertisement that tells the reader where the essay will go, address, or accomplish. It establishes, in purposeful and evocative language, what the essay will do. The statement pulls in even the most reluctant reader. The essay contains information that may seem disconnected but the thesis pulls it all together.

The beginning of the text breaks the rules for writing a thesis and presents the center of the text in a new and evocative way. The theme or argument is explicit to the reader but is presented in a way that is new and compelling. The entire piece hinges on a single message while maintaining the tension with a renaissance approach.  


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