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A grading rubric for mothers of young children (Harvard's creative essay rubric, reimagined)

Grading Rubric for Mothers


● 8 to 10: earned by work demonstrating excellent quality and mastery in the corresponding

category; near perfection

● 5 to 7: earned by work demonstrating a skilled use, implementation, or demonstration of the corresponding category, but with notable flaws

● 3 to 5: earned by work demonstrating a fair understanding or a decent attempt in the

corresponding category; many major flaws but passable

● 1 to 3: earned by work demonstrating little to no mastery in the corresponding category;

ridden with errors and flaws

● 0: there is no evidence of the corresponding category in the mothering

Marks in each category are not limited to the questions posed. Marks are in 0.5 intervals.

Category Mark

Connection, Appearance, Respectability and Reliability: Is the mothering objectively sound? Is there consistent, authentic evidence of connection? Are there logistical mistakes? Are the children punctual, gracious, kind, clean? Do the children get dropped off and picked up from all activities and events on time? Are all meals healthy and balanced? Are bath time and bed time consistently fun, soothing, calm? 


Introduction, Conclusion: Was the labor and delivery of your child/children joyous or captivating? Does it provide a good lead into the life of your child? Does it appropriately introduce the child’s journey or the background/context of how this child was brought into the world? Is there a conclusion to your mothering?  If so, does it wrap up a childhood well and provide a sense of completion? Is it captivating or powerful?


Storytelling: Is the mothering focused or does it detract from the childhood(s) (e.g.,

disorganization, redundancy, extraneous content, etc.) in such a way that is confusing or

hard to understand for the children?  Does the mother impress anyone? Are the ideas on mothering easily discernible and the lives easily understood? Are there appeals to the senses? Is the mother an engaging, interesting woman? Is her role memorable? Can the children see the world of the mother?


Content, Childhood: Is there a coherent childhood? Are the environment, family members, and childhood fully fleshed out, vibrant, and connected? Does every family member, friend, idea, and detail serve a purpose? Does the childhood exhibit some complexity beyond a simple, predictable storyline while remaining unforced? Is it thought-provoking, interesting, inspiring, engaging, or artistic?


Motherly Devices: Are motherly devices (e.g., nurturing, understanding, protecting, challenging, comforting, teaching, supporting, creativity, nourishment, fun, etc) used? Are they used effectively and at appropriate points? Do they add to the lifetime or are they forced in?


Organization, Structure: Is the child’s life easy to follow? Does every era and

season of growth flow logically from one to the next? Is there structure? Are the experiences 

and the events in each era organized? Are transitions used?


Compassion, Resource, Effort: Does the child’s life demonstrate an adept use of compassion? Are the resources, toys, books, friends skillfully chosen? Are the efforts concise and easy to understand? Are the efforts complex or varied? Is the mother using the best tools for the job? Is the tone and style appropriate for the life being lived or the ideas being conveyed? Does the mothering, through skillful manipulation of compassion, resource and effort,  appeal to the child (e.g., through pathos)?


Thoughtfulness, Creativity: Overall, is this motherhood distinguished? Is there evidence of

thought put into the mothering? Is this childhood and its mother and memories creative and unique? Is this childhood ordinary and predictable? Does the mother think outside the box?


Total /80


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