What are the Attributes of Civic Writing?

The Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum (CEWAC) supports instruction and assessment of civic writing. The National Writing Project and its partners engaged in a two-year process to design and test a rubric for assessing public civic writing. After conducting interviews with experts in civic engagement, reading research literature about civic writing, and analyzing thousands of writing samples from high school youth, we defined four attributes. These definitions identify goals for students as they produce thoughtful, high-quality civic writing.

Employs a Public Voice

Analyzes how the writing employs rhetorical strategies, tone and style to contribute to civic discourse or influence action, and how it establishes a writer’s credibility. Public voice is directed beyond one’s immediate family or friends. Learn More ›

Advocates Civic Engagement or Action

Analyzes how the writing, as crafted for an intended audience, raises awareness and establishes the public importance of a civic issue. When appropriate, advocates for a desired change or civic action, explaining why the action is reasonable and feasible. Learn More ›

Argues a Position Based on Reasoning and Evidence

Analyzes how the writing uses reasoning, interprets and presents evidence, and when appropriate for purpose and audience, addresses alternate positions or perspectives. Evidence may include personal experience as well as primary and secondary research. Learn More ›

Employs a Structure to Support a Position

Analyzes how organization and structure help develop the central argument, including openings, closings, and linkages. Learn More ›

Why Civic Writing? What Does High-Quality Civic Writing Look Like?