Six-Trait Rating Guide

What is the Six-Trait Analytic Rating Guide?

This is a system professors, peers, and you can use in evaluating papers.  You can use the rating guide to analyze the six criteria: Ideas and Content, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Conventions .  Ratings are given for each criteria that help explain what a paper would need to include to have the best possible score, and the scoring system can be used to grade a paper.

Ideas and Content

This score will be based on how well the writer establishes and supports the main ideas of the paper.  See further pages for a more detailed description of this section, as well as tips on overcoming writer's block, generating ideas, using the Venn diagram, and brainstorming to help with ideas.  Handouts are also available to strengthen content, with information on research and warnings about plagiarism.


This section is based on how well the pieces of the puzzle fit into place.  Handouts are available to see how this topic is rated, as well as general tips on organization and the integration of quotes within a paper.


This section is defined by how honest, expressive, and interesting the writer makes the paper.  Use the handout to see how this section is scored, and focus on supporting ideas, such as word choice and organization, to help bring out the voice in a paper.

Word Choice

This is the section that deals with how well the paper is written based on imagery, powerful verbs, and other aspects that help a reader understand the importance of the paper.  Handouts are available to help steer writers clear from mistakes in word choice and sexist language.

Sentence Fluency

Paying attention to sentence fluency and variety is crucial to the overall writing style of your paper.  General tips are included in the handouts.


This section encompasses many aspects of the paper, from standard conventions to your understanding of the discipline you are writing for and the style guides that are required.

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