I must confess that I feel slightly short-changed since I did not learn about the 6+1 Traits before I was half a century old! I really feel that I could have developed more as a writer had writing been scored in all the areas that define strong writing. There was absolutely too much emphasis put on conventions and presentation, and not nearly enough on ideas, organization, voice, word choice, and sentence fluency.
I remember a particular incident in high school that helped me to recognize the “wrongness” of grading for writing at that time. My writing was always neat, my spelling pretty accurate, and I tended to do a good job presenting a beautiful looking paper. I also was known as a worker, but one time, I did not give my best (for whatever reason). My friend, on the other hand, wrote a heck of a story that impressed me to no end. When the dust settled, my beautiful looking paper received the usual “A”, and my friend’s beautifully written paper received a “C”. I knew it was wrong. If the 6+1 rubric been utilized, those grades would have been reversed (as they should have been). I like part of the description for ideas that was given on the website, “Successful writers “show” readers that which is normally overlooked; writers seek out the extraordinary, the unusual, the unique, the bits and pieces of life that might otherwise be overlooked.” (http://educationnorthwest.org/traits/scoring). Without connections, the thread of a story or report is entirely lost, and the piece does not give meaning or bring a satisfying closure. Events must indeed proceed logically or the piece will lose meaning.
In particular, readers respond to the voice of the writer. If the reader can feel and “hear” the voice in a piece, then the text becomes alive with feeling, and tends to engage us. The more we connect with the voice in a written piece, the more we connect with it. A good writer will use rich and interesting vocabulary to help the reader picture the thoughts, scenes, or concepts that the writer is sharing. Great vocabulary does indeed enhance and enrich the content.
When looking at sentence fluency, a teacher is taking into account the rhythm and flow of the language that is used. Fluency (or the lack of it) helps or hinders the reader’s progress through text. Of course, conventions can also affect fluency, and conventions are still important, particularly during the revision process. The five elements in mechanical correctness should not be forgotten (spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar/usage, and paragraphing) definitely are essential to good writing, but they should not be that which is most valued in writing.
Lastly, the presentation also has true value (no matter what