The Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum (CEWAC) (PDF) is a rubric for assessing youth writing about civic issues intended for a public audience. The rubric defines four attributes: Employs a Public Voice, Advocates Civic Engagement or Action, Argues a Position Based on Reasoning and Evidence, and Employs a Structure to Support a Position. Each attribute can be scored on a four-point scale.
CEWAC grows out of a development process focused on identifying and articulating how civically engaged writing both builds on and differs from academic writing. Thus, it addresses the challenge of how to choose evidence and frame arguments for an intended audience with integrity, elegance, and a sense of possibilities for engagement and action. In short, to develop a public voice and to advocate for civic engagement or action.
To build understanding of the CEWAC rubric, we recommend that teachers engage in two activities.
- Research Basis for the Rubric. Rubrics use parsimonious language to summarize big ideas. Thus, we have written brief essays that summarize the research literature and the interviews conducted during CEWAC’s development process.
- Close Reading of the Rubric. We recommend studying the rubric’s language carefully, using a process we refer to as threading. Working one attribute at a time, read the language that defines score-point 4. Underline the words that capture the main ideas for each bullet point. Then, working from the right (the highest score) to the left (the lowest score), continue underlining the consistent keywords AND highlight the descriptor words that distinguish each score point. (See the first thread for Employs a Public Voice for an example.)