Cornell Notes: A Rubric For Language Arts Teachers

By Trent Lorcher

I love rubrics. If you have your students using Cornell Notes, follow this rubric to teach your students how to create effective notes.

How Do You Take Cornell Notes?

Despite having explained thirty-eight times how to take Cornell Notes, I still saw the same problems and had to answer the same stupid Cornell Notes questions over and over, ad infinitum, repeatedly, and forever more. Right as I was about to jam a ball point pen into my fibula, an amazing thought stayed my hand:

"I have a persuasive essay rubric, a general essay rubric, a news article rubric, a process essay rubric, and a notebook rubric and they all raised the quality of work in my class. I think I should make a Cornell Notes Rubric!"

And I did.

NEATNESS

  • A: Handwriting is legible. Lines are straight or a computerized template has been used. Date is easily readable. Topic is easily readable. Paper has not been scrunched, put through a blender, used as toilet paper, been placed in a bird cage, or used as a weapon and covered with blood. The format is correct.

  • B: Handwriting is mostly legible. Lines are mostly straight. Date is easily readable. Topic is easily readable. Paper has not been scrunched, put through a blender, used as toilet paper, been placed in a bird cage, or used as a weapon or covered with blood. The format is correct.

  • C: Handwriting is mostly legible. Lines are mostly straight. Date is written. Topic is written. Paper has not been scrunched, put through a blender, used as toilet paper, been placed in a bird cage, or used as a weapon and covered with blood. The format is correct.

  • D: Handwriting is partially legible. Lines are crooked. I think the date is written. I think the topic is written. Paper has not been scrunched, put through a blender, used as toilet paper, been placed in a bird cage, or used as a weapon and covered with blood. The format is correct.

  • F: Paper has been scrunched, put through a blender, used as toilet paper, been placed in a bird cage, or used as a weapon and covered with blood or the format is not correct.

NOTES

  • A: Notes take up the entire section. Main points are captured. Keywords are clearly written. Notes are notes and not a word for word reporting of what was said or read.

  • B: Notes take up the entire section. Most main points are captured. Keywords are written. Notes are notes and not a word for word reporting of what was said or read.

  • C: Notes take up the entire section. Some main points are captured. Some keywords are written. Notes are notes and not a word for word reporting of what was said or read.

  • D: Notes take up the entire section. Notes are a word for word reporting of what was said or read.

QUESTIONS

  • A: Notes contain at least 5 relevant questions, three of which require higher level thinking skills. All necessary information can be found in the notes.

  • B: Notes contain at least 5 relevant questions, one or two of which require higher level thinking skills. All necessary information can be found in the notes.

  • C: Notes contain at least 5 relevant questions, none of which require higher level thinking skills. All necessary information can be found in the notes.

  • D: Notes contain at least 2-4 relevant questions. All necessary information can be found in the notes.

SUMMARY

  • A: Summary contains 2-5 sentences and shows an understanding of the material. It does not begin with "These notes are about...," or "Today I learned..."

  • B: Summary contains 2-5 sentences and mostly shows an understanding of the material. It does not begin with "These notes are about...," or "Today I learned..."

  • C: Summary contains 2-5 sentences but shows a poor understanding of the material. It does not begin with "These notes are about...," or "Today I learned..."

  • D: I'm not sure exactly who you were listening to during the notes, but it probably wasn't me. The summary does not begin with "These notes are about...," or "Today I learned..."