Writing is necessary to participate in public discourse. Much of today's communication is based on information, yet many students do not adequately learn how to write expository text. Learning to write is difficult, but expository text can be especially difficult as it requires knowledge of both a subject and special text structures. The purpose of this study was to give teachers a research-proven method for teaching students to write expository text and to give more information on how to evaluate students' writing. In this quasi-experimental quantitative research design, the expository writing of students before and after receiving a new science and literacy integrated curriculum combined with specific expository writing instruction was compared. Participants included 71 second-grade students and 3 teachers from a suburban public elementary school in a Mountain West state. Students came from diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Measures included a holistic rubric that measured statement of purpose/focus and organization and conventions/editing, and an analytic rubric that measured introductions, facts on the topic, conclusions, word count, and the language mechanics of punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. A paired-samples t test of total scores from the holistic rubric showed statistically significant improvement pre-instruction to post-instruction (p < .001, two tailed). A paired-samples t test of total weighted scores from the analytic rubric also showed statistically significant improvement between pre-instruction and post-instruction (p < .001, two tailed). Wilcoxon signed-ranks tests were used to examine the individual elements of each rubric. All rubric elements showed statistically significant improvement except for three elements of the analytic rubric: topic introduction (p = .664), concluding statement (p = .916), and spelling (p = .299). Findings indicated that teachers could use the instruction to successfully teach students to develop content knowledge about an expository topic and write expository text based on that knowledge. The ranks of scores for each rubric were also examined to see how the scores varied based on which rubric was used. The holistic rubric had fewer positive and negative ranks than the analytic rubric, and the holistic rubric had more tied ranks than the analytic rubric. It was therefore determined that the rubrics did not score similarly. Holistic rubrics give an overall impression while analytic rubrics allow the scorer to see the areas in which students excel and the areas which need improvement. Therefore, teachers and researchers should consider their purpose for scoring writing and use the rubric that will appropriately meet that purpose.



College and Department

Teacher Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





integration, science, expository writing, rubrics



Included in

Education Commons