What are conventions?

Conventions are the part of the writing that deals with things you might traditionally associate with good writing such as spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and correct grammar. Other items such as indenting paragraphs and underlining or italicizing titles are also associated with conventions. More specifically all of the following are part of the writing trait of conventions : correct grammar ("she was" instead of "she were"), capitalization of proper nouns, appropriate punctuation (commas, periods, exclamation points, question marks, quotation marks, colons, etc.). If a paper is strong in conventions, the writer communicates the message clearly and it is easy for the writer to interpret the message. A paper could be very strong in all of the other traits, but if it has poor conventions, the writer may not receive the correct message because incorrect conventions interefere so the writer has to spend time figuring and interpreting the message of the paper.

What is the conventions rubric and how do I use it to evaluate my child's writing?

Click here to learn how to use a rubric.


  1. Read through the rubric below.
  2. Read Sample Paper 1.
  3. Use the rubric to evaluate the sample paper 1. Based on the rubric, decide for yourself what the score should be.
  4. Then view the score and rationale for the paper to see if you were correct.
  5. It may be helpful to print off the rubric to have next to you as you read the story.
  6. Repeat the process for Sample Paper 2.


Conventions Rubric

5 – Paper: Mostly Correct
There are very few errors in my paper; it wouldn’t take long to get this ready to publish.

· I have used capitals correctly.
· Periods, commas, exclamation marks, and quotation marks are in the right places.
· My spelling is accurate.
· Every paragraph is indented to show where a new idea begins.
· My grammar/usage is consistent and shows control.

3 – Paper: About Halfway Home
A number of bothersome mistakes in my paper need to be cleaned up before I am ready to publish.

· Spelling is correct on simple words. It may not always be right on the harder words.
· Most sentences and proper nouns begin with capitals, but a few have been overlooked.
· Paragraphs are present, but not all begin in the right spot.
· A few problems with grammar and punctuation might make a reader stumble or pause now and again.
· My paper reads like a first draft; I was more concerned with getting my ideas down than making sure all the editing was taken care of.

1 – Paper: Editing Not Under Control Yet
It would take a first reading to decode, and then a second reading to get the meaning of my paper.

· Spelling errors are common even on simple words.
· My paper has errors in punctuation and grammar that send the reader back to the beginning to sort things out.
· I’ve got capital letters scattered in all over the place or not at all.
· I haven’t got the hang of paragraphs yet.
· The truth is I haven’t spent much time editing this paper.



Sample Paper 1

Grade level: 4-5


Airplans are good for transportation. Only 3 plans in a year crash. Airplans do plot the air a lot more than 1000 cars a day. Airplans get lots of mail if we didn't airplans we'd have to wate for a day to mail from other country. They would have to go by boat. Airplans make 1000s for the government. When a plan crashes it killes lots of people and cost the state lot of money to get a new one.

Little airplans are for carriering things to people in. Jungles, plains, and hilles little plans can put out fires and they can find lost people.

Fighter plans kille fast the they can rech speeds upto 1000 mts.







Sample Paper 2

Grade level: 3rd

"My favret dog"

My favret dogs name was blandy. He would take me and my sister to the bus stop. He would wach us go to school. After school he would be there right on time. He was the best dog ever.


















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