Conventions are the mechanical correctness of the piecespelling, grammar and usage, paragraphing (indenting at the appropriate spots), use of capitals, and punctuation. Writing that is strong in conventions has been proofread and edited with care. Handwriting and neatness are not part of this trait. Since this trait has so many pieces to it, it’s almost a holistic trait within an analytic system. As you assess a piece for convention, ask yourself: “How much work would a copy editor need to do to prepare the piece for publication?” This will keep all of the elements in conventions equally in play. Conventions is the only trait where we make specific grade level accommodations.

Questions to ask when trying to improve Conventions…

  • Place paragraph breaks where they will help to put my message across?
  • Employ punctuation that helps the reader know where to pause and how to read my material?
  • Check to make sure all rules for grammar, spelling and capitalization have been followed?

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