Scoring Rubric for Critiquing Writing with Critical Thinking?

Categories: Criticism Poem

Learning Indonesian is one of the most important lessons taught at all levels of education in Indonesia. The implementation in the school requires students to be able to study critically the texts taught according to the level of critical thinking including identifying, interpreting, describing, analyzing, evaluating and assessing the texts in verbal and in writing both in language and literacy competencies. Critical thinking becomes an important part of learning.

One of the Indonesian learning materials that emphasizes students' critical thinking is literary criticism and essays in 12th grade of Senior High Schools (SMA).

Literary criticism is a further development of the response texts which are taught at the junior high school level (SMP). The difference lies in the ability of students to assess a literary work that is not only at the stage of commenting, but emphasizes evaluation and criticism. Literary criticism requires high analytical skills that are not only in the form of an early cognitive ability, but it also supports the ability of a student to think logically, creatively, innovatively, and to understand the importance of a solution.

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Page and Mukherjee explained that critical thinking requires high-order thinking skills as the stages of analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating. Critical thinking can be reflected in writing literary criticism that requires students to assess a work. Literary criticism requires the ability to think critically and logically. The problem is, student appreciation towards a literary work is still relatively low. Bahtiar said that literary competence in Indonesian Language and Literature curriculum in high schools is still weak.

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Indonesian students in reading a literary work is still lacking in interest between another countries. In 2011, UNESCO released a list of students' reading abilities between ASEAN countries, which showed the reading ability of Indonesian students was at the lowest level with a score of 0.001. It shows that only 1000/1 of Indonesia's population has a reading concern. This data represents the ability of reading in Indonesia is still alarming and led to speculation that the ability to read literature is also far from expectations.

Meanwhile, literature learning in Curriculum 2013 is not well balanced with language competence so that it causes students to be less responsive in reading literary works and has an impact on students' writing abilities. Writing requires such kind of knowledge and ideas, one of which is could be obtained through reading.  Reading is an initial foundation for making a literature criticism and it trains students to think critically, so the students gain a confidence in interpreting the contents of the work of literature.

Writing a literary criticism emphasizes the ability to convey the information completely and many aspects assessed from literary works, so it needs an assessment instrument. Assessment can be done in two forms, there are test and non-test assessment, meanwhile, writing literary criticism is the ability of performance (productive) so that non-test assessment is considered more suitable. One form of non-test assessment is a scoring rubric.

The problem that often arises is the rubric used so far has not described the desired characteristics in literary criticism. Based on the identification of RPP for a material of literary criticism and text, it is known that the scoring rubric is still abstract and the format used is almost similar to other competency writing assessment. The difference only lies in the aspects being assessed, so the rubric used has not been able to describe the progress and shortcomings of students in writing specific literary criticisms. Another problem is that there is still a habit of assessing a literature directly without using a rubric. This condition needs to be fixed to avoid a confusion in the assessment. These problems indicate the rubric of assessment in literary criticism needs to be developed further, but they must still have a simple, quick, clear, and understandable element.

The development of the scoring rubric can be developed by adopting the Finken and Ennis essay test patterns which emphasize a test of critical thinking. The choice of this concept is based on the assumption that literary criticism and essay has the same characteristics in terms of stages and implementation so far. This concept has a compatibility, particularly in the section of justifying, identifying, interpreting, describing, commenting, and assessing by evidence. This shows the thoughts of Finken and Ennis that were originally applied to the essay test can be applied in the test of writing literary criticism, especially in making scoring rubrics. This paper is expected to be used as a reference for the teacher assessment in evaluating a student's literary criticism. In addition, assessments made by the teachers can achieve the expected aspects.

Literature Review

Literary criticism is a part of literature study which emphasizes the stage of analyzing, studying, interpreting, evaluating, and commenting works of literature. Literary criticism includes the purposes, objectives, and how a literature correlates with various human problems. Literary criticism is useful for the study of literature because it can increase awareness and appreciation for the works of literature. The results shown through literary criticism are used as input for the development of literature, theory and new studies in the field of Indonesian literature.

Pradopo explained literary criticism as a field of literary study to assessing a work of literature. Literary criticism intends to provide an assessment of the quality of a literary work. His study emphasizes the more specific elaboration of the literary work being analyzed, including elements and realities that exist based on the evaluation characteristics of literary works. Sayuti explained literary criticism as a branch of literary science that is directly related to literary works, including interpretation, analysis, assessment, appreciation, and study.

The value of literary works also needs to be determined based on the criteria and evaluation standards. Assessment is used as a basis in determining the quality of a literary work and as a reference for giving comments or even criticism. Hough emphasized two criteria for the assessment of literary criticism, namely moral criteria and formal criteria.  Moral criteria related to their relation to life as a media which represents something by the presenting certain characters, actions, emotions that refer to certain forms. Meanwhile, formal criteria are related to a form of unity, suitability, and a highlight which leads to a content as a reference.

Before doing an assessment, it is important to note the type of literary criticism approach used because literary works are built from all kinds of components that are arranged comprehensively and complexly, and require analytical considerations. The approach in studying literary works are mimetic criticism, pragmatic criticism, expressive criticism, and objective criticism. Mimetic criticism views literary works as imitations and depictions of a real world. Pragmatic criticism views the work as something that is constructed in order to achieve certain effects on the audience, and the critics judge the value of the work according to its success in achieving the aim. Expressive criticism emphasizes literature as the process of generating thoughts, perceptions, feelings that are accumulated and implicit in literary works. Objective criticism is a constructive feedback using only unbiased opinions and facts instead of emotion or personal preference which unrelated from their environment, the poet, reader and all aspects around him.

Literary works have a complex structure and language that requires careful interpretation to describe it.  In other words, to make good literary criticism, it is necessary to pay attention to the steps of analysis, interpretation, and assessment. Criticism is not only about appreciation, but also an examination of literature. The reader needs to understand the literary work which is read thoroughly. The reader is not only required to know the strengths and weaknesses of the work to be criticized, but also to understand the conditions that are highlighted in literary works and need to be expressed as deeply and clearly as possible. This means literary criticism requires an active thinking to solve a problem. Critical thinking is reflective which is the ability to think to solve problems and be active, meaning that critical thinking is a cognitive and mental process for gaining knowledge, understanding, and skills in order to be able to find a way out and make decisions.

Bonnie explained three strategies in teaching critical thinking skills, there are: (1) making clarifications; (2) finding problems; and (3) create a conducive environment. Furthermore, the distinctiveness of teaching critical thinking are: (1) enhance the interaction among students as a form of learning; (2) asking questions; (3) allow a sufficient time for the students to ponder the questions or problems raised; (4) teach to be able to use the abilities that have just been obtained from the situation experienced.

Critical thinking can be categorized into six elements of skill, there are interpretation, evaluation, explanation, inference, self-regulation, and analysis. Interpretation is about to understand and express the meaning of various experiences, situations, data, assessments, procedures or criteria. Interpretation includes categorizing, delivering, and clarifying of a meaning. Evaluation refers to the credibility of representation in the form of descriptions of perceptions, experiences, and interpreting the logical power of inferential relationships, descriptions or other forms of representation. Explanation is a result of justification of someone's reasoning in terms of conceptual, methodological, and contextual by writing results and presenting arguments.

Inference relates to how to obtain and identify the elements needed to make reasonable conclusions according to the hypothesis, relevant information, and conclude the consequences of the data. Self-regulation relates to independence which consciously monitors a person’s cognitive activities, makes corrections, applies skills in analysis, and evaluates his own judgment. Analysis consists of testing and identifying inferential and actual relationships between statements, concepts, descriptions to express beliefs, judgments and experiences, reasons, information, and opinions. Consider the figure 1 below.

First, it is necessary to determine what rubrics model to be used. In general, a model of a rubric is categorized into two types, namely analytical rubric and holistic rubric. Analytical rubric provides a separate assessment for each criterion, while a holistic rubric does not provide an assessment of performance achievements for each criterion. In this discussion, analytical rubric is used which is considered to be more suitable to describe each part of each score.

The second is to determine the aspects which needs to be assessed. These aspects are formulated based on the assessment criteria in the writing of literary criticism, namely formal criteria (form) and moral criteria (content) which then are simplified into aspects of language and content. Both aspects are extended into another specific detailed, which are the topic selection, the suitability between the choice of literary works and writing purpose, suitability in applying the principle of writing criticism, suitability between the contents and purposes of writing, spelling and punctuation, sentence structure, and diction.

The elaboration and development of literacy criticism assessment criteria are based on the lack of specific indicator on the scoring rubric we used so far. The identification results of RPP on aspects of diction are only emphasized on the suitability of diction with the right choice, quite right, not quite right, and not right. The sentence structure aspect only explains about the suitability indicator in using the structure on the sentence, such as if there is no error in the structure, or there is an error or two in the structure. Those format causes a confusion in the assessment, so it needs to be more clearly presented to make it easier for the teacher to do the assessment. The third is the making of assessment point and the scale of achievement. The rating scale are from 1 to 5, which mean the greater the achievement scale obtained by the students, the better their skill is, and vice versa. For more details, scale rating of 1 means their skill is very poor, 2 means poor, 3 means fair enough, 4 means good, and 5 means very good.

Fourth, making a rubric need to be adjusted to the type of literary criticism used. These types are based on critical thinking skill which is an objective criticism which views that literary works are arranged in a comprehensive and complex manner from a variety of components so that they require analytical consideration based on specified criteria. This makes the literary work requires a clear interpretation in its description activities. The steps to reviewing literary criticism need to pay attention to the activities of identifying, studying, analyzing, interpreting, evaluating, and commenting on the works of literature. The next step in the analysis of literary works is implemented in the critical thinking skills of Finken and Ennis, namely the stages of focus, supporting reason, and reasoning (generalizing, best-explanation inferring, and value judging) as criteria for the content of literary criticism. Meanwhile, organization, convention, and integration put more emphasis on formal criteria (forms) such as the structure of writing, the use of diction, and the suitability of writing.

Focus is a statement that contains sub-topics to be discussed. Students must be able to show the intention to support the main point at the beginning of the writing, in the form of an introduction to the issue and the exposure to the initial argument. This initial stage emphasizes the focus of the study which will be explained based on the results of the identification of literary works. This section is an initial synthesis, containing important points which will be explained in detail and specifically in the next section. Supporting reasons related to the level of truth, clarity, trust, credibility of supporting reasons and evidence, as well as sources of references. This section tries to look at students' ability to analyze, interpret, and describe literary criticism in depth, specific, accurate, objective, and credible. Supporting reason emphasizes students to give reasons with reasonable facts.

Reasoning shows the level of truth and clarity of the previous description accompanied by the evidence, alternative solutions, and arguments for literary works. This section emphasizes students being able to provide a responses and personal assessments of literary works in constructive criticism. Zubaidah and Aloysius describe reasoning into three types, namely generalizing, best-explanation inferring, and value judging. Generalizing is related to examples and supporting evidences. Best-explanation inferring is about the plausibility and consistency with the facts described. Value judging about the ability to assessing something in a statement, including the strengths and weaknesses of the literary works being reviewed.

Organization relates to the clarity of the structure of writing which are divided into two, namely vertical (coherence) and horizontal (cohesion). Conventions are the use of grammar, diction, spelling, and punctuation. Also includes the use of adjectives that indicate opinions and assessments of literary works. Meanwhile, integration is the availability of writing with the concept of literary criticism. Furthermore, the implementation is specified as an analytical rubric structure. The development of the rubric is in the increment of the aspects of scoring and each aspects is detailed based on critical thinking skills. The developed rubric provides a clear view about the scoring indicators. This rubric is expected to be one alternative in helping assessment activities, especially the assessment of writing literary criticism that emphasizes students' critical thinking skills. The rubric is as follows.

Updated: May 03, 2023
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Scoring Rubric for Critiquing Writing with Critical Thinking?. (2021, Apr 02). Retrieved from

Scoring Rubric for Critiquing Writing with Critical Thinking? essay
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