A pair of essay rubrics, one for mechanics to use as you read all those sheepish insights bleeting from fields of marginally coherent verbiage. The second is a quick checklist style scoring rubric that saves you time, and the trouble of writing commentary at the end of the essay. These have cut my grading time in half, and I no longer have a line of students asking that I justify their scores. The rubrics are in MS Word 97-2003 so that you can make changes if needed.
The numbers may seem daunting at first, but as you use it you find that you are primarily using seven or eight corrections most of the time.
Here are a few tips for usage:
1. Pass a copy of this out to each of your students at the beginning of the year!
2. Pass out a sheet with numbers (sequential or not).
a. Each student selects a number (not in sequence) and writes it down.
b. They put that number on their paper as the only identifier.
i. This eliminates accusations of bias/"you just don't like me" arguments
c. Each student puts seven blanks on the back of the last page of his/her essay:
3. Grade papers using the numbered rubric to note errors (faster than marginalia).
4. Assign scores based on the seven domains (this is very quick once you are used to it) and put the numbers in the seven blanks; add up the score.
5. Students come to get their papers as their number is called - at which time you enter their score.
6. Students get the score they deserve - and know it.
7. I have put this in Word because you may want to make changes that reflect your own situation.