Education Technology

NCTE: Assessing Paraphrasing

Published on 07/19/2006

Activity Overview

Students will paraphrase a paragraph provided by their teacher, annotating their paraphrase to explain how they are following the directions for a quality, non-plagiarized paraphrase.

Before the Activity

See the attached Activity PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity.

Print the appropriate pages from the Activity for your class.

Choose a paragraph from a text used in your class (an excerpt from a novel would be ideal.) Make sure the paragraph you choose contains language that will be familiar to students so that the assessment evaluates their paraphrasing skills and not their vocabulary.

During the Activity

  • Distribute the appropriate pages from the Activity to your class
  • Follow the procedures outlined in the Activity


  • Students will:
  • Research uses and explanations of paraphrase.
  • Analyze each source to determine what information is essential for their purposes.
  • Create directions for paraphrasing appropriate to their level and class expectations.
  • Paraphrase a document individually.
  • Synthesize group members' paraphrased documents into one clear paraphrase.
  • Reflect upon the process of paraphrasing to explain steps and critique their work.
  • After the Activity

    Collect the paraphrases and annotations. Assess them according to the directions given. The following rubric may be used or adapted for this purpose.

    5 — The document is very clear and relates the same information as the original without relying on the primary source's word choice or organization. Annotations clearly identify choices made and reflect complete understanding of paraphrase techniques.

    4 — The document is clear and relates the same information as the original with minimal reliance on the primary source's word choice or organization. Annotations identify choices made and reflect general understanding of paraphrase techniques.

    3 — The document is somewhat clear and relates information similar to the original with minimal reliance on the primary source's word choice or organization. Annotations may identify choices made but may not always reflect understanding of paraphrase techniques.

    2 — The document may be somewhat unclear, but relates some information similar to the original. It may rely heavily on the primary source's word choice or organization. Annotations may be inconsistently present, or may be unclear. Annotations may demonstrate a lack of understanding of paraphrase techniques.

    1 — The document may be unclear and may not relate information similar to the original, or may relate such information using the primary source's word choice or organization in such a way that would require quotation marks. Annotations may be missing altogether, or may be unclear. Annotations may demonstrate a lack of understanding of paraphrase techniques.