1 Majar

Food Waste Argumentative Essay Rubric

Student Objectives

Presession: Waste in the Cafeteria Survey

Session 1: PowerPoint Presentation

Session 2: Analysis/Deconstruction of the Persuasive Argument in Video Format

Sessions 3–4: Research (computer days)

Session 5: Developing Thesis and Arguments (optional computer day)

Session 6: Writing the Rough Draft

Session 7: Revising and Publishing Persuasive Blogs (computer day)

Sessions 8–9: Response and Reflection (computer day)


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Develop research skills by conducting a brief investigation of food waste in the school cafeteria

  • Analyze and evaluate persuasive techniques by deconstructing a persuasive argument from an audio/visual source and online resources

  • Apply metacognitive reading strategies to understand written text

  • Identify facts and supporting arguments in online articles to answer specific research questions

  • Develop persuasive arguments supported by evidence gleaned from research

  • Apply persuasive argument techniques by creating a blog post that includes a thesis and quality arguments appropriate to the writer’s purpose and electronic audience

back to top


Presession: Waste in the Cafeteria Survey

  1. Assign students to conduct a personal survey of the amount of food they throw away each day at lunch using the Cafeteria Waste Activity Sheet.

  2. After five days of data collection, divide students into groups of three to five. Have them compile and analyze the information they have collected by determining the overall percentage of food wasted over the last five days.

  3. Have each group of students synthesize their findings into a pie chart that can be displayed. Have the class draw conclusions about the findings as they examine the charts. Collect students’ activity sheets for assessment.

back to top


Session 1: PowerPoint Presentation

  1. Teach persuasion basics using The Art of Persuasive Writing PowerPoint presentation, having students take notes. Use the presentation notes included at the bottom of some of the slides to guide your discussion. Stop frequently to allow students to share their own examples of persuasive speech. Presentation highlights include types of persuasive speech, elements of the persuasive essay, and persuasive vocabulary like logos, pathos, ethos, and counterarguments.

back to top


Session 2: Analysis/Deconstruction of the Persuasive Argument in Video Format

  1. Watch TED Talk: Marcel Dicke: Why Not Eat Insects? as a class.

  2. As they watch the video, have students take notes using the Why Not Eat Insects? Notes Organizer.

  3. After watching the video, discuss the presenter’s purpose and intended audience with students.

  4. Have students use their notes to fill in the ReadWriteThink Persuasion Map, identifying the thesis and major supporting arguments. Collect their notes organizers for assessment.

back to top


Sessions 3–4: Research (computer days)

  1. Set a purpose for reading the following articles: Food Facts: Your Scraps Add Up, Food Waste Basics, and the Waste Not, Want Not blog. Review what students know about food waste.

  2. Review the four metacognitive strategies in the Metacognitive Strategies Chart: connect, question, infer, and evaluate. Remind students to preview the articles by reading the titles, examining the graphics, and reading the captions.

  3. Have students explore the online articles for answers to the food waste problem. Briefly model the process of collecting information from the online articles.

  4. Have students record their findings on the Research Guide.

back to top


Session 5: Developing Thesis and Arguments (optional computer day)

  1. Briefly model the process of developing a single, focused thesis and arguments from the Research Guide. Some students may want to tackle all of the issues discovered in their research, so you should provide the necessary scaffolding as students work to narrow their focus. (Please note that the focus of Waste Not, Want Not is reducing food waste at home; however, students should be free to choose any food waste topic from their research when writing their own blogs.)

  2. Have students develop a thesis and arguments for their own blog post, offering persuasive solutions to the waste problem. Students should refer to facts from the Research Guide to craft their arguments.

  3. Have students consider the appropriate tone for their electronic audience. Since students are addressing their own academic community about a social issue, the tone should be thoughtful and insightful. Caution students to avoid informal or flippant remarks.

  4. Students may use the ReadWriteThink Persuasion Map to plan their blog. If a computer lab is not available, students may use a hard-copy persuasion map instead (click on “Print Blank Map” on the interactive page).

  5. Have students print out their work at the end of the session. Collect both the Research Guide and the Persuasion Map for assessment.

back to top


Session 6: Writing the Rough Draft

  1. Hand out and explore the Persuasive Blog Rubric. Explain to students that assessment for the remaining sessions is ongoing, based on the rubric, and culminates in each student publishing a blog post and two responses.

  2. Model applying the Persuasive Blog Rubric to the mentor text, Waste Not, Want Not. Ask students to identify the thesis statement and supporting arguments. Extend the discussion by having students evaluate the quality of each blog post argument and whether or not the author has successfully tailored those arguments to an electronic audience.

  3. Have students apply what they have learned by writing the initial draft of their blog. Students should write about a topic from their research that interested them. For example, they could write about the costs of meat production, how restaurants can reduce waste, or how food waste contributes to rising methane levels.

back to top


Session 7: Revising and Publishing Persuasive Blogs (computer day)

  1. Have students evaluate their blog post drafts using the Persuasive Blog Rubric. Students may work in pairs or as individuals. Have students check to make sure each blog post includes a thesis statement, supporting arguments, and a well-developed conclusion; has an appropriate academic tone; and is free of convention errors.

  2. Have students revise based on self-evaluation and, if working in pairs, peer feedback.

  3. Have students publish blog posts.

back to top


Sessions 8–9: Response and Reflection (computer day)

  1. Briefly review the Persuasive Blog Rubric for the response criteria.

  2. Display the Metacognitive Strategies Chart on the board, and discuss how the strategies lead to insightful responses that further the blogging conversations.

  3. Examine the blog post responses in Waste Not, Want Not. As a class, rate each response according to the criteria outlined in the Persuasive Blog Rubric, identifying the responses that are insightful and further the conversation. Brainstorm other possible responses.

  4. Have students read at least two other student blogs and respond to each.

  5. Circulate around the room to check for student understanding and response quality. Scaffold and support students by offering specific feedback. Look for evidence that students are crafting well-thought-out responses by making connections, questioning, inferring, and/or evaluating.

  6. Review each student’s blog posts and responses, and evaluate them according to the Persuasive Blog Rubric.

back to top



  • Have students plan a “No Waste” class party.

  • Find and deconstruct another TED Talk video about reducing waste or recycling.

  • Have students organize a cafeteria waste reduction program for your school.

  • Start a class blog or online forum where students can share their ideas about another community or school issue.

  • Create an advertisement for the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

  • Open the EPA’s Food Waste Basics and follow the link at the top of the page titled, “Source Reduction/Prevention.” Scroll down to “Source Reduction and Prevention Success Stories.” Have students plan a campaign for your community, and express their ideas in a letter to the editor of the local newspaper.

back to top



  • Review the Cafeteria Waste Activity Sheet to assess student research and investigation skills.

  • Review the Why Not Eat Insects? Notes Organizer to assess student understanding of persuasive techniques.

  • Review the Research Guide to assess student ability to apply metacognitive reading strategies to comprehend, identify facts and supporting arguments, and answer specific reading questions.

  • Review the ReadWriteThink Persuasion Map (interactive or hard copy) to assess each student’s ability to craft a well-supported, persuasive argument.

  • Use the Persuasive Blog Rubric to assess student ability to apply persuasive argument techniques in a blog post and responses written for an electronic audience.

  • Informal assessment is ongoing as you and each student conference throughout the process of doing research, developing arguments, and creating the blog post.

back to top

AP English Language and Composition 

Writing Rubric

Each of the three AP English Language and Composition essays equals one-third of the total essay score, and the entire essay (free-response) section equals 55% of the total exam score. Each essay is read by experienced, well-trained high school AP teachers or college professors. The essay is given a holistic score from 1 to 9. (A score of 0 is recorded for a student who writes completely off the topic—for example, "Why I think this test is a waste of money." A student who doesn't even attempt an essay, leaves a blank page, will receive the equivalent of a 0 score, but it is noted as a dash [-] on the reader's scoring sheet.) The reader assigns a score based on the essay's merits as a whole, on what the essay does well; the readers don't simply count errors. Although each essay topic has its own scoring rubric (or guide) based on that topic's specific information, a general scoring guide for rhetorical analysis and argumentation essays follows. Notice that, on the whole, essay-scoring guides encompass four essential points; AP readers want your essay to be (1) on topic, (2) well organized, (3) thoroughly developed, and (4) correct in mechanics and sophisticated in style.  

High Score (8-9)

High-scoring essays thoroughly address all the tasks of the essay prompt in well-organized responses. The writing demonstrates stylistic sophistication and control over the elements of effective writing, although it is not necessarily faultless. Overall, high-scoring essays present thoroughly developed, intelligent ideas; sound and logical organization; strong evidence; and articulate diction. Essays earning a score of 9 are exemplary in every way.

  • Rhetorical analysis essays demonstrate significant understanding of the passage, its intent, and the rhetorical strategies the author employs.

  • Argument essays demonstrate the ability to construct a compelling argument, observing the author's underlying assumptions, (addressing multiple authors—three minimum—in the synthesis essay) and discussing many sides of the issues with appropriate evidence.  

Medium-High Score (6-7)

Medium-scoring essays complete the tasks of the essay topic well--they show some insight but usually with less precision and clarity than high-scoring essays. There may be lapses in correct diction or sophisticated language, but the essay is generally well-written.

  • Rhetorical analysis essays demonstrate sufficient examination of the author's point and the rhetorical strategies he uses to enhance the central idea.

  • Argument essays demonstrate the ability to construct an adequate argument, understand the author's point, and discuss its implications with suitable evidence. The synthesis argument will address at least three of the sources.

Medium Score (5)

Essays that earn a medium score complete the essay task, but with no special insights; the analysis lacks depth and merely states the obvious. Frequently, the ideas are predictable and the paragraph development weak. Although the writing conveys the writer's ideas, they are presented simplistically and often contain lapses in diction or syntax.

  • Rhetorical analysis essays demonstrate uneven or insufficient understanding of how rhetorical strategies create an author's point. Often, the writer merely lists what he or she observes in the passage instead of analyzing effect.

  • Argument essays demonstrate the ability to present an argument, but they frequently provide limited and inadequate discussion, explanation, or evidence for the writer's ideas. The writer may not address enough of the sources in the synthesis essay. Oversimplification of the issue(s) minimizes the essay's effectiveness.

Medium-Low Score (3-4)

These essays are weaker than the 5 score because the writer overlooks or perhaps misreads important ideas in the passage. The student may summarize the passage's ideas instead of analyzing them. Although the writer's ideas are generally understandable, the control of language is often immature.

  • Rhetorical analysis essays demonstrate little discussion of rhetorical strategies or incorrect identification and/or analysis of those strategies.

  • Argument essays demonstrate little ability to construct an argument. They may not clearly identify the author's point, may not present multiple authors' points of view in the synthesis essay, and may offer little evidence for the student's position. 

Low Score (1-2)

These essays demonstrate minimal understanding of the topic or the passage. Perhaps unfinished, these essays offer no analysis of the passage and little or no evidence for the student's ideas. Incorrect assertions may be made about the passage. Stylistically, these essays may show consistent grammatical problems, and sentence structure is usually simple and unimaginative.

  • Rhetorical analysis essays demonstrate little ability to identify or analyze rhetorical strategies. Sometimes these essays misread the prompt and replace it with easier tasks, such as paraphrasing the passage or listing some strategies the author uses.

  • Argument essays demonstrate little ability to understand the author's point (or multiple authors in the synthesis essay) and then construct an argument that analyzes it. Minimal or nonexistent evidence hurts the essay's effectiveness. Some students may substitute an easier task by presenting tangential or irrelevant ideas, evidence, or explanation.

Conversion Chart for AP English Language and Composition


AP Rubric

Numerical Average

Letter Grade






















2 or lower




Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *