Some More Modifications to the Rubric System

Hey QG Writers!

Once again, we’ve made some changes to the way the rubrics work.  We were running up against some issues, so rather than just list out the changes, I’ll mention the issues and how we have resolved them.

Grade Ranges Made Getting a C Too Difficult

Getting a C should be fairly easy, assuming the instructions were followed.  All it means is that, while we were able to improve upon the article and make it viable for our client, we had to spend more time correcting mistakes than we would have a B.  We still felt it was worth paying for rather than failing and reassigning, but, because of the extra time spent, could not pay out as much as a B receives.

Therefore, we have a grading scale as follows:

  • 22-24=A (we hardly had to do anything to it)
  • 17-21=B (we had to spend some time correcting mistakes)
  • 11-17=C (we spent a significant amount of time correcting, or had to override the grade due to not following instructions… more on that below)
  • 11 and below=F (we could not send to the client, and therefore could not pay for the article)

We’ve had this range in place for a little while now, and it’s proving useful, so it will likely be sticking around through at least the rest of the test.

Grades Can Be Overridden In Specific Circumstances

Here’s the issue we were running into with this one.  There we’d be, editing a pretty decent article when BAM!… no link text.  Or we’d look at the article and BOOM!… wrong style.  If you’ve been with us since the pre-rubric days, you know what that usually meant – a C.  We had the flexibility back then to simply mark the article as a C, make a note explaining why, and move on.

With the rubrics, we had lost some of that flexibility.  If the article was great, but didn’t reach the requisite number of links (which, as you know, can be the major time investment of any article) the possibility existed that the article would still get an A.  Not only would we be paying out four times as much for the article as we may have if it was written two months ago, but we were reinforcing the idea that you didn’t need to do everything right in order to get an A.  Not good.

So here’s what we’ve done.  Regardless of the quality of the rest of the article, we may override the rubric and grade an article a C if:

  • Link descriptions, if required, were not included.
  • Approximately 40% of the links included had to be removed because they were poor quality, competitors, homepages, etc.
  • Minor issues in Copyscape.  NOTE: This is up to our discretion.  Always attempt to have no results in Copyscape, and talk to us before submitting an article with potential plagiarism issues.

Also, we can override with an F if:

  • The content is unusable (grammar/spelling errors, etc)
  • The topic or audience was not adequately addressed.

We Consolidated Subjectivity as Much as Possible

One of the major issues we knew we would face right from the start was the issue of subjectivity.  Some of you pointed this out as well.  What is the difference between engaging the writer and attempting to engage the writer?  Or, in the case of blogs, how do we differentiate between words that reflect the author’s voice and somewhat reflect the author’s voice.

Of course, we can’t simply get rid of the qualitative measures.  This is writing.  It is inherently qualitative and for many of us, that’s what makes it worth doing.  So the question arose: how do we reward great qualitative content while reducing subjectivity?

What we’ve done is consolidate the qualitative measures as much as possible.  Where qualitative measures may have spanned 3 rows in previous rubrics, we’ve tried to reduce that number where possible.  The changes are subtle and can be seen by bringing up any current rubric and comparing them to those of a week ago.

Keep the (Constructive) Feedback Coming

Some of you have left some great feedback in emails about your writing, and that feedback has inspired these changes.  Personally, I know this feedback has helped, both internally (how we do things daily) and externally (how we are able to meet our writers’ needs).  We’re doing something we haven’t done before, so there are bound to be missteps along the way.  What I hope to have shown by now is that we will, as a group, always be willing to admit missteps and correct them quickly in order to create a better service for both you and our clients.

We always want to be fair, and feel that these rubrics are helping us do that, but if you have any more feedback (constructive please) feel free to leave a comment or email us.

Matthew Holden is the Director of Content Marketing for Online Writing Jobs, and a frequent contributor to the OWJ blog. After receiving a Master’s degree in English Education from Sage Graduate School in Troy, New York, he began writing freelance, and eventually full-time, for various companies and media outlets. After spending some time writing marketing copy, he became interested in the various ways a company can market itself online through the use of different types of content marketing.

Today, as the Director of Content Marketing, Matt oversees strategy creation, production, implementation, and promotion, of content written by experts and influencers from across the country in every vertical imaginable. When he is not overseeing the creation and promotion of thousands of pieces of content a year for OWJ clients, Matt can be found writing some for himself.

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