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A Teacher’s Guide to a Short Story Writing Rubric

A Teacher’s Guide to a Short Story Writing Rubric

A short story writing rubric can your students become fantastic short story writers! Today, we’re going to dive into the world of short story writing rubrics—a tool that can make your teaching journey smoother and your students’ writing skills shine.

What’s a Short Story Writing Rubric, Anyway?

Before we dive in, let’s clear the air about what a short story writing rubric is. Think of it as your trusty roadmap for assessing and guiding your students through the process of crafting awesome short stories. It’s like a checklist, a set of guidelines, or even a secret recipe for creating engaging tales.

Why Do You Need a Short Story Writing Rubric?

You might be wondering, “Why should I bother with a rubric when grading short stories?” Well, here’s the scoop:

  • Clarity : A rubric lays out your expectations for students in a clear and understandable way. No surprises!
  • Consistency : It helps ensure that all your students are judged fairly and consistently, no matter who’s doing the grading.
  • Feedback : Rubrics provide a structured way to give feedback. Instead of writing a novel on each paper, you can pinpoint areas for improvement efficiently.
  • Growth : By using a rubric, you give students a roadmap for success, helping them see where they excel and where they need to improve.

Creating Your Short Story Writing Rubric

short story writing rubric

Step 1: Determine Your Criteria

Decide what aspects of short story writing are most important to you and your curriculum. Here are some common criteria to consider:

  • Plot : Is the story engaging? Does it have a clear beginning, middle, and end?
  • Characters : Are the characters well-developed and relatable?
  • Setting : Does the story transport the reader to a specific time and place?
  • Dialogue : Is the dialogue natural and does it advance the plot?
  • Grammar and Style : Is the writing clear, and are there few grammatical errors?
  • Creativity : Does the story stand out, offering fresh ideas or unique twists?

Step 2: Define Levels of Proficiency

For each of your criteria, create different levels of proficiency . Let’s use a four-level rubric as an example:

  • Beginning : This level represents a starting point where students are just beginning to grasp the concept.
  • Developing : At this level, students are making progress and showing improvement.
  • Achieving : Achieving level indicates that students have reached a satisfactory level of proficiency.
  • Mastering : This is the highest level, reserved for students who have demonstrated exceptional mastery of the criterion.

With these four levels, you can provide a more nuanced assessment of your students’ short stories and better guide their development.

Step 3: Describe Each Level

Now, describe what each level means for each criterion. Be specific! For example:

  • Plot (Level 3) : The story’s plot is engaging, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. It includes unexpected twists that captivate the reader.
  • Plot (Level 2) : The story has a good plot with a clear structure. While it’s engaging, there’s room for a bit more creativity.
  • Plot (Level 1) : The story lacks a clear structure, making it difficult to follow.

Repeat these descriptions for all your criteria.

Using Your Short Story Writing Rubric

Alright, you’ve got your rubric ready , but how do you use it effectively?

  • Share It : Start by giving your students the rubric before they start writing. This way, they know what you’ll be looking for.
  • Self-Assessment : Encourage students to assess their own work using the rubric before turning it in. It’s a great way for them to identify areas they can improve.
  • Peer Review : Have students exchange their stories and use the rubric to assess their classmates’ work. It promotes collaboration and helps students see different writing styles.
  • Provide Feedback : When grading, use the rubric as a guide. Be sure to provide specific feedback on each criterion to help students understand where they excelled and where they can improve.
  • Goal Setting : After grading, discuss the rubric with your students. Help them set goals for their next short story based on your feedback.

Final Thoughts

In the world of teaching short story writing, a rubric is like your secret sauce. It helps you create consistency, provide meaningful feedback, and guide your students toward becoming top-notch storytellers.

So, go ahead, create your short story writing rubric , and watch your students’ writing skills soar to new heights. Happy teaching, and may your classrooms be filled with captivating short stories!

That’s a wrap on our guide to short story writing rubrics for grade 7 teachers. We hope you found this information helpful and can’t wait to see the amazing stories your students will produce.

Try our Rubric Builder for Teachers! 

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The Scholastic Awards Writing Rubric: What Is It and How Can It Improve Your Writing?

When jurors review writing works during the awards selection process, they must keep in mind the Awards’ three judging criteria:


Work that breaks from convention, blurs the boundaries between genres, and challenges notions of how a particular concept or emotion can be expressed.

Technical Skill

Work that uses technique to advance an original perspective or a personal vision or voice, and shows skills being utilized to create something unique, powerful, and innovative.

Emergence of a Personal Voice or Vision

Work with an authentic and unique point of view and style.

We’ve used the same judging criteria since the Awards began in 1923 and have found it useful for identifying works that show promise. But how are those criteria used when reviewing teen writing? To assist our judges with making their selections, we’ve put together a rubric that offers guides to help the jurors determine which works meet the criteria and which works exceed them.

Students and educators may want to review the rubric to see where their works fall and what they can improve. For instance, rambling sentences can drown out a strong voice, and works that are grammatically correct can fall short of the originality criteria if they don’t present any new ideas. Like any skill, writing can be improved with practice, and reviewing the rubric may help.

Featured Image

Zoya Makkar, Awake from an Ignorant Slumber , Photography. Grade 10, Plano East Senior High School, Plano, TX. Karen Stanton, Educator ; Region-at-Large, Affiliate . Gold Medal 2021

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Supported by

Our 3rd Annual Personal Narrative Writing Contest

We invite students to tell a short story about a meaningful life experience in 600 words or fewer. Contest Dates: Oct. 13 to Nov. 17, 2021

rubric for story writing competition

By The Learning Network

Update, Jan. 20, 2022: Winners have been announced!

When you think of The New York Times, you probably think of front-page news, but The Times also has a long tradition of publishing personal narratives, and you can find new ones online nearly every day if you know where to look.

In fact, over the years there have been columns dedicated to personal narratives on themes from love and family to life on campus, how we relate to animals, living with disabilities and navigating anxiety.

For this contest, we invite you to write a personal narrative of your own about a meaningful life experience.

We’re not asking you to write to a particular theme or to use a specific structure or style, but we are looking for short, powerful stories about a particular moment or event in your life. We want to hear your story, told in your unique voice, and we hope you’ll experiment with style and form to tell a tale that matters to you, in a way you enjoy telling it.

Take a look at the full guidelines and related resources below. Please post any questions you have in the comments and we’ll answer you there, or write to us at [email protected]. And, consider hanging this PDF one-page announcement on your class bulletin board.

Here’s what you need to know:

How to submit, resources for teachers and students, frequently asked questions.

Students ages 11 to 19 anywhere in the world attending middle or high school can participate. Read the instructions carefully to determine the best way to participate.

Student Submission Form

If you can answer YES to either of these two questions, then you can use our student submission form :

Are you a middle or high school student residing in the United States or the United Kingdom who is 13 - 19 years old?

Are you a middle or high school student residing in any country outside the United States or the United Kingdom who is 16 - 19 years old?

If you are a middle or high school student who answers “No” to both of those questions, then please ask an adult to submit on your behalf.

Teacher/Parent Submission Form

Adults can submit on behalf of any middle or high school students ages 11 - 19. We offer two forms for teachers and parents. Choose which form is best for you.

Individual Submission Form: If you are an adult submitting on behalf of one student, use this submission form .

Bulk Submission Form: If you are an adult submitting entries on behalf of more than one student, use this bulk submission form .

Your narrative should be a short, powerful, true story about a meaningful experience from your own life.

It must be 600 words or fewer, not including the title.

You must be a student ages 11 to 19 in middle school or high school anywhere in the world to participate. For students in the United States, we consider middle school to begin in 6th grade. Students in lower grades cannot participate. For students outside the United States, students must be 11 years old to have their work submitted to this contest.

Your essay should be original for this contest, meaning, it should not already be published at the time of submission, whether in a school newspaper, for another contest or anywhere else.

Keep in mind your audience. You’re writing for a family newspaper, so, for example, no curse words, please.

Submit only one entry per student.

While many of our contests allow students to work in teams, for this one you must work alone.

All entries must be submitted by Nov. 17, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific using the appropriate contest form above.

Please read through all the official eligibility and submission rules before submitting your narrative. If you have questions, please see the Frequently Asked Questions section below.

A unit plan on personal narrative writing , including writing prompts, mentor texts, lesson plans and reader ideas.

An on-demand introductory webinar, Teaching Narrative Writing With The New York Times , with Learning Network staff on using writing prompts and mentor texts to prepare students for the contest.

An on-demand webinar, Personal Narratives From the Newsroom to the Classroom , featuring two guest experts — a New York Times editor who selects stirring personal stories for the popular Modern Love column, and a high school English teacher who uses our narrative-writing unit and mentor texts from The Times to help her students write college essays with voice, style and meaning.

A lesson plan, “ From ‘Lives’ to ‘Modern Love’: Writing Personal Essays With Help From The New York Times ,” on everything from avoiding “zombie nouns” to writing “dangerous” college essays.

An annotated essay from the Modern Love column, “ Annotated by the Author: ‘Why Can’t Men Say “I Love You” to Each Other?’ ”

The seven winning essays from our 2020 contest and eight essays from our 2019 contest.

Three annotated essays — “Pants on Fire,” “Speechless” and “Cracks in the Pavement” — and video interviews with past student winners that illuminate the narrative writing process.

A short video with advice from three or our past winners (embedded above).

Our collection of 550 Writing Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing .

Our contest rubric .

Below are answers to your questions about writing, judging, the rules and teaching with this contest. Please read these thoroughly and, if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, post your query in the comments or write to us at [email protected].

Questions About Writing

What is a personal narrative?

For this contest, we’re defining a personal narrative as a short, powerful, true story about a specific experience, event or incident from your real life.

Because you’re telling a story about a particular moment rather than, say, summarizing your whole life or reflecting on your feelings about a topic, there should be a clear narrative arc — a beginning, middle and end — that is driven by a conflict of some kind that is eventually resolved or spurs an attempt at an ongoing life change.

Keep in mind, however, that any story can work. It doesn’t have to be the most dramatic thing that ever happened to you; it can, instead, be about baking brownies with your brother, or a conversation you had on Tuesday’s bus ride to school. It’s all in how you tell it.

And a good personal narrative not only tells a story but supplies a reason for telling it , so that readers come away with a sense of some larger meaning or a universal message they can relate to. The best essays often do this subtly and leave room for the reader’s own interpretation.

How can I make my essay stand out?

We are primarily looking for good storytelling, as explained above. But we’re also looking for writing that is vivid and engrossing. A few tips:

Hook your readers right from the start by dropping them into the scene .

Write from your own point of view in your real voice . We want to see your personality come through on the page.

Follow the adage “ show, don’t tell. ” For example, don’t simply say: “my brother was angry.” Instead, describe his clenched fists or flared nostrils. Such imagery elicits a more powerful response because readers can imagine the scenes you describe, and feel what the narrator is feeling. But be careful to avoid overly ornate or complicated wording that could detract from your story.

Try to avoid sweeping conclusions, clichés and platitudes (like “it’s always darkest before the dawn”). A strong story will clue us onto its themes without having to state them overtly.

I have no idea what to write about. Where should I start?

Everyone has a story to tell. Read essays from the Times’s personal narrative columns (linked below) or look at winning essays from 2019 and 2020 .

You might also scroll through our list of “ 550 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing ” that includes questions about childhood memories, friendship, travel, social media, food, sports, school and more. Try responding to a few that interest you. You might choose one that you enjoyed writing about to turn into your piece.

Can I submit my college application essay?

As long as it suits the requirements of this contest and our definition of a personal narrative above, your entry will be considered.

However, please keep in mind that we are not looking for a résumé of your accomplishments or a reflection on the themes or patterns from your life thus far, which many college applications ask for. Instead, we want a concise, compelling story about a life experience that transformed you, whether it was in a small or profound way.

Can I have someone else check my work?

You are welcome to get suggestions for revising and editing your narrative, of course, but the work you submit should be fundamentally your own.

Where can I find examples of personal narratives in The Times?

Start with the Lives column, the inspiration for this contest. It ran from 1996 to 2017 and invited writers to tell short, powerful stories about meaningful life experiences in 800 words.

Here are several more personal narrative columns from around The Times:

Modern Love , a weekly column about relationships, feelings, betrayals and revelations.

Rites of Passage , essays that explore notable life transitions and events, big, small and absurd.

Metropolitan Diary , reader tales from New York City.

On Campus , dispatches from college students, professors and administrators on higher education and university life.

Disability , essays, art and opinion exploring the lives of people living with disabilities.

Menagerie , essays that explore the strange and diverse ways the human and animal worlds intersect.


How will my narrative be judged?

Your work will be read by New York Times journalists as well as by Learning Network staff members and educators from around the United States. We will use this rubric to judge entries.

What’s the prize?

Having your work published on The Learning Network and being eligible to be chosen to have your work published in the print New York Times.

When will the winners be announced?

About two months after the contest has closed.

My essay wasn’t selected as a winner. Can you tell me why?

We receive thousands of entries for this contest, so, unfortunately, our team does not have the capacity to provide individual feedback on each student’s essay.

Questions About the Rules

Who is eligible to participate in this contest?

For this contest, we invite students ages 11 to 19 in middle school or high school to write a personal narrative. For students in the United States, we consider middle school to begin in 6th grade; students outside of the United States must be at least 11 years old to enter.

The children and stepchildren of New York Times employees are not eligible to enter this contest. Nor are students who live in the same household as those employees.

If you are not sure if you are eligible for this contest (for example, if you’re taking a gap year), please see our more detailed eligibility rules .

My personal narrative was published in my school newspaper. Can I submit it to this contest?

No. We ask that your narrative be original for this contest. Please don’t submit anything you have already published at the time of submission, whether in a school newspaper, for another contest or anywhere else.

Who can I contact if I have questions about this contest or am having issues submitting my entry?

Leave a comment on this post or write to us at [email protected].


I’m a teacher. What resources do you have to help me teach with this contest?

Start with our unit plan for personal narrative writing . It includes writing prompts, mentor texts and lesson plans that can support this contest. To learn more about how to teach with this unit, watch our on-demand webinar .

You can also use winning essays from 2019 and 2020 as student examples.

Do my students need a New York Times subscription to access these resources?

Students can get free access to Times pieces through The Learning Network . All the activities for students on our site, including mentor texts and writing prompts, plus the Times articles they link to, are free. Students can search for articles using the search tool on our home page.

However, if you are interested in learning more about school subscriptions, visit this page .

How do my students prove to me that they entered this contest?

After they submit their essays, students should receive an email from The New York Times with the subject heading “Thank you for your submission to our Personal Narrative Contest,” which they can forward to you to show their entry has been accepted.

Register for Summer Camp!

The Practice Space

Resource 16: Storytelling Rubric

Resource 16, final storytelling rubric.

Download and/or print out the PDF below.


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iRubric: Short Story Writing - Grade 9 rubric

  • Narrative Assessment

rubric for story writing competition

Opinion The education of Lina Khan, whose superpower is busting monopolies

Leading the “hipsters” of antitrust law, Khan is recovering from a rough start at the FTC.

rubric for story writing competition

It is one of the recurring plotlines in the psychodrama of U.S. politics: A talented and charismatic young reformer goes to Washington, is hailed for taking on a corrupt and self-satisfied establishment, but in the end is nearly undone by inexperience, naiveté and unbending idealism.

The latest “Mr. Smith” to hit the capital is Lina Khan, the crusading chair of the Federal Trade Commission who, at the age of 35, has become the wonky cult hero and legal wunderkind of a new progressive movement determined to break the economic and political power of Big Business and Big Tech.

At the top of Khan’s agenda is ending the 40-year orgy of corporate mergers that has enriched Wall Street and left industry after industry dominated by a handful of giant firms. She also vows to tap the FTC’s broad but rarely used powers to break up monopolies and prevent dominant firms from snuffing out competitors, squeezing workers and small business suppliers, and extending their dominance to new markets.

Khan’s impatience to revitalize antitrust after what she often characterizes as four decades of “failed” and “feckless” enforcement has not sat well inside the cozy, bipartisan community of lawyers and economists who specialize in antitrust law, many of whom once worked at the FTC or the antitrust division at the Justice Department. Among the commission’s professional staff, the reception has ranged from resentment to outright hostility. A series of rookie management mistakes and an embarrassing run of losses in court undermined confidence in Khan, even among those who sympathize with her mission.

She has also become a lightning rod for the criticism and contempt of the business lobby and its cheerleaders in the media, while House Republicans have made her the target of one of their ongoing partisan investigations. Apple went so far as to prevent Jon Stewart from having her as a guest on his Apple-hosted talk show’s companion podcast . More ominously, several companies that are targets of what they characterize as Khan’s “regulatory overreach” — Walmart, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter — have launched constitutional challenges to her agency’s power and independence, arguments likely to get a friendly hearing from a conservative Supreme Court.

Khan won’t be easily intimidated or defeated. There is little doubt that as a political novice with scant management or litigation experience suddenly in charge of a 1,200-person federal agency, she was in way over her head. But like a lot of talented young leaders — including the founders of many of the tech giants now in her sights — she is figuring it out and growing into the job. The final scenes of this political and legal drama have yet to unfold.

“This is an incredible moment to restore antitrust and anti-monopoly to its roots,” she told me recently. “People have a sense that they are being screwed, that the deck is stacked against them. We have this window of opportunity to show them that we are willing to take on big fights on their behalf.”

We spoke in Khan’s tidy but cavernous office at the FTC’s art deco headquarters, with its spectacular view of the Capitol just blocks away. In conversation, she is both charming and combative, with a self-assurance that belies her age. Rarely deviating from a well-honed script, she remains unshakably confident in the rightness of her cause.

While most FTC chairs channel their energy into legal filings and remarks at antitrust conferences, Khan believes her success depends on connecting antitrust law to the daily lives of Americans. That’s why she joined Hollywood writers on the picket line, why she books appearances on “The Daily Show” and at South by Southwest , and visits law schools to proselytize about antitrust . It’s why she relishes the coming battle over recently announced regulations to outlaw “junk fees” routinely added to ticket prices and airfares, and “noncompete clauses” that prevent Jimmy John’s workers, for example, from taking a higher-paying job at another sandwich shop nearby. And it’s why Khan holds “listening sessions” outside Washington at which ordinary citizens can voice concerns about high-profile mergers.

Although shy by nature, Khan aims to use her star power to raise public awareness and replace the dry, technocratic language of antitrust with vocabulary that speaks to fairness, opportunity, and the unequal distribution of wealth and power. Khan’s bet is that the judges who interpret and ultimately enforce antitrust law will be less inclined to rule in favor of corporate giants if they are widely perceived as running roughshod over the rest of society.

I first heard about Khan in 2017. As a business columnist at The Post, I had written so many pieces about corporate consolidation that it was hardly surprising someone sent me a link to a 24,000-word article in the Yale Law Journal, written by a third-year law student who managed to explain — “with remarkable clarity and sophistication,” as I later described it — why antitrust law had failed. Khan’s “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” would get her profiled by more than a dozen major media outlets. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The essence of Khan’s critique was that antitrust had strayed from its succinct mandate from the antitrust laws to prevent monopolies, bar mergers that “substantially lessen competition,” and ensure “fair and open competition.” It was left to regulators and judges to figure out what that meant.

In 1966, it meant that the government could step in to prevent Von’s Grocery, the third largest supermarket in Los Angeles, from buying the sixth largest. Although the combination would have given Von’s Grocery a modest 7.5 percent share of the booming Southern California market, Justice Hugo Black, writing for the Supreme Court majority, explained that Congress’s intention was to arrest “in its incipiency” a “rising tide toward concentration” that threatened to leave the economy “in the grip of a few big companies.”

That decision by the old New Dealer was intended to usher in a period of vigorous antimerger enforcement. Instead, it had the opposite effect, becoming a target of derision for economists, legal scholars, and, ultimately, regulators and judges, who saw the ruling as a misguided effort to preserve in amber an inefficient “mom and pop” economy — an economy deprived of the lower prices and innovation largely driven by large, well-funded firms.

The intellectual foundations for this U-turn were laid at the University of Chicago by such scholars as Robert Bork, whose sneering dismissal of the legal and economic logic in cases like United States v. Von’s Grocery helped doom his Supreme Court nomination in 1987. The political foundations were laid in the 1980s when President Ronald Reagan’s crusade against overregulation was taken up by his appointees at the Justice Department and FTC. Under the Reaganauts , a merger or business practice was deemed acceptable if it generated “economic efficiencies” and enhanced “consumer welfare” by lowering prices. Rather than viewing “monopoly power” as a threat to the democratic order, the Chicago crowd celebrated it, arguing that the prospect of earning monopoly profits gave firms the necessary incentive to compete even harder.

The consequence of this hands-off approach was a headlong rush into corporate consolidation. Judges and regulators took to paying scant attention to whether a merger might reduce consumer choice or make it harder for new companies to enter the market or reduce the pace of innovation — other markers of competitiveness. Any merger that left two other competitors in the market was now likely to be approved — or if not, could be easily “fixed” through divestitures and promises not to engage in anticompetitive business practices. “Vertical” mergers between dominant firms and their suppliers or distributors were simply assumed to enhance efficiency and were no longer challenged.

To Khan and a generation of economists and legal scholars who had grown up on Google and Facebook, this single-minded focus on price seemed ridiculously misguided when applied to high-tech markets where consumers get services for free. These markets tend naturally toward monopoly because users want to be on the same network, or use the same software and apps, or buy and sell on the same platform that everyone else is using. Nor are those services truly free. They are paid for by another set of customers — sellers on the Amazon platform, for example, or advertisers on Facebook and Google. In such “two-sided” markets, a merger or a business practice that benefits consumers can also have a distinctly negative effect on competition in those other markets.

“The idea that a merger should be approved if it is efficient, if it lowered prices — that turned out to be a big mistake,” said Eric Posner, an antitrust expert at the University of Chicago. (The antitrust revolution has reached even there.) “It isn’t the law, and economically it doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

The first stirrings of discontent with the prevailing antitrust consensus appeared during the merger mania of the early 2000s. While presidential candidate Barack Obama promised more vigorous antitrust enforcement, Obama administration regulators had only mixed success. Although they were able to block a number of high-profile mergers ( AT&T with T-Mobile , Budweiser with Corona ), more often they either declined to intervene ( Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp) or reached settlements that proved inadequate ( Ticketmaster’s purchase of concert promoter Live Nation, American Airlines’ merger with US Airways). Most notably, after an exhaustive 19-month investigation, a unanimous FTC concluded that Google had not used unfair tactics to maintain its monopoly in internet search, favor its own content and use customer data to gain an advantage over rivals. Subsequent leaks of internal memos to Politico showed that, in giving Google a pass, the commissioners had rejected the recommendation of their own lawyers and misread the evidence.

For a generation of progressive populists, these failures were proof that the consumer welfare doctrine was inadequate to sustain vigorous competition. Proof that Obama and his neoliberal advisers were too concerned with placating Big Business. Proof of the soft corruption that led regulators to pull their punches to improve their private sector futures as partners at lucrative law firms or posh consultancies. Without a revolution in antitrust, they warned, democracy would give way to plutocracy.

Anti-monopoly activists coalesced into a movement. Its patriarch and chief evangelist is journalist Barry Lynn , who first brought Khan to Washington as a researcher fresh out of Williams College and whose Open Markets Institute has become the hub of a network of other think tanks and advocacy groups. Blogger Matt Stoller , once described as “Washington’s angriest progressive,” serves as the movement’s amanuensis and enforcer, with Columbia’s Tim Wu and Fordham’s Zephyr Teachout its academic stars. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is the movement’s political director, with Rohit Chopra — her onetime protégé and former FTC commissioner — as consigliere. And ever since her breakthrough law review article, the movement’s standard-bearer has been Khan, the daughter of Pakistani professionals who emigrated from London when she was 11 and who, by her 30th birthday, was grilling the chief executives of Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon as counsel to the antitrust subcommittee of the House of Representatives.

The generational rivalry between the antitrust establishment and its progressive critics initially played out at academic conferences, at congressional hearings and in the columns of law journals. The “hipsters,” as they came to be called, viewed the priesthood as corrupt accommodationists unwilling to admit they had blown it. The priesthood viewed the hipsters as self-righteous social justice warriors ignorant of legal and business realities. On social media, their feud was often bitter and personal.

Things came to a head following Joe Biden’s election when members of the priesthood began showing up on lists of those being “mentioned” for top antitrust posts in the new administration. Warren, who had endorsed Biden after dropping out of the Democratic presidential primary, called in her chits, threatening to mount a noisy opposition to nominees with ties to Big Business and Big Tech. She found a receptive ear in Ron Klain, the incoming White House chief of staff. In the ensuing weeks, Warren’s longtime counselor, Bharat Ramamurti , was appointed deputy director of the National Economic Council. Wu was named special White House adviser for tech and competition policy. And Chopra was tapped to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. With Warren’s blessing, Jonathan Kanter , an experienced litigator who made a specialty of suing tech giants, was named to head the antitrust division at Justice. And at her urging, Khan was nominated to fill an open Democratic seat at the FTC.

Khan was confirmed by the Senate with a comfortable bipartisan margin, 69-28. Minutes later, the phone rang in the office of the acting FTC chair, Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, a former top aide to Senate Democratic leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). Having settled comfortably into the commission’s bipartisan consensus and traditions, Slaughter expected (along with Khan and everyone else in Washington) that she would be designated as the permanent chair. Instead, the White House was calling to let her know that Khan would now be setting the FTC’s agenda and directing its staff as chair.

The hipsters were now in charge.

Two weeks after being sworn in, Khan convened a meeting of the five-member commission to rescind an Obama-era policy statement renouncing the use of the FTC’s expansive authority to issue regulations against “unfair methods of competition.” The earlier statement had been pushed by Google and other tech giants that feared such regulations would allow the FTC to do an end run around court rulings that protected their monopolies. By ramming through the reversal at her first meeting with scant notice, debate or input from staff, Khan signaled that a new sheriff was in town.

Reasserting the FTC’s regulatory authority had been a top priority for Khan’s predecessor, Commissioner Chopra, who became something of a Rasputin to the young and inexperienced new chair. With Chopra preparing to move on to the CFPB, Khan appointed his chief of staff as her own and named several other Chopra advisers to head bureaus or fill key staff positions. His agenda became hers.

Chopra was a controversial figure at the FTC. Although outwardly friendly with the other commissioners, a number came to distrust him. So did much of the agency’s senior staff, who bristled at his repeated characterization of them as “clueless” and “corrupt,” and theirs as an agency that had “lost its credibility” and “fallen into deep decay and disarray.”

Khan and her chief of staff did too little to dispel the suspicion that they shared these views. The pandemic still raged, and Khan hunkered down with a tight circle of advisers drawn from the anti-monopoly movement. Contrary to custom, staff attorneys and economists working on investigations for the agency were not invited to meetings at which decisions were made. Mid-level managers accustomed to calling the shots found their actions second-guessed and overruled, their public appearances tightly controlled. Routine court filings and press releases were edited or sent back to be rewritten. Staff with whom Khan did interact invariably found her smart and well-prepared, but she often came off as irritated, impatient and dismissive. Corporate lawyers who came in to argue for their clients found her inflexible and tendentious. As one put it to me, “She didn’t know what she didn’t know.”

Khan was also determined to be seen as making good on her pledge of tough enforcement, particularly if it involved Big Tech. She went to court with cases that she was warned she couldn’t win. She demanded full-blown reviews of seemingly benign deals while refusing to settle outstanding cases, even when companies agreed to everything the agency’s lawyers had demanded. And with staff working overtime to keep up with a record number of mergers, the new chair insisted on pushing ahead with an aggressive agenda of industry-wide investigations and rulemaking.

“It was a nightmare,” said one longtime staff attorney who observed Khan’s first year up close.

Within a year, the agency that once billed itself as the “best place to work” fell to near the bottom of its category on the annual federal employee satisfaction survey . Feeling overworked and disrespected, a number of experienced, talented and proud public servants headed out the door.

“She didn’t realize that if you want to take the hill, you take it with the troops you have, not the ones you wished you had,” said Neil Averitt, a longtime FTC attorney who now writes a column for FTC:Watch.

The traditional bipartisan collaboration among the five commissioners also frayed. Republican commissioners complained of being kept in the dark about ongoing investigations and ignored on enforcement decisions and policy changes. Party-line voting and biting written dissents became the norm. Republican Commissioner Christine Wilson delivered a blistering critique at a bar association conference in which she characterized Khan and her movement colleagues as “Marxists” who would stop at nothing in their quest for “total control of the economy.” Wilson later resigned in a huff.

As one Khan confidant acknowledged, “There was a lack of appreciation of how those relationships needed to be nurtured and developed.”

Along with her managerial failings, Khan was also running up an embarrassing string of losses in the courts.

A federal judge in Washington dismissed a suit originally brought by her Republican predecessor to unwind Facebook’s purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp. The judge chastised the agency for failing to provide convincing evidence of Facebook’s dominance in social media.

A judge in California refused to block Meta, Facebook’s parent, from buying the developer of a popular virtual reality fitness app, finding insufficient evidence that absent the merger, Meta would have entered that market on its own.

Another California judge refused to block Microsoft, the manufacturer of Xbox, from purchasing Activision, a leading video game developer, finding insufficient evidence that Microsoft would withhold “Call of Duty” and other popular games from rival console PlayStation.

These setbacks provided ample grist for Khan’s critics. She became a favorite punching bag of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, which has run at least 90 editorials and columns bemoaning “regulation by intimidation” and “antitrust gone wild.” On CNBC , host Jim Cramer called her a “one-woman wrecking crew for your stock portfolio,” while Clinton and Obama adviser Lawrence Summers said her policies amounted to “a war on business.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce peppered the FTC with angry letters, regulatory filings, document requests and lawsuits, the latest seeking to overturn the ban on noncompete clauses. A page at the chamber’s website is titled, “FTC: A Timeline of An Agency Gone Rogue.”

I spoke with two dozen people who worked with Khan during this rough period for her and her agency. Even her admirers acknowledge she was impatient with advice she didn’t want to hear and stubbornly resistant to compromise. But even her critics concede that she is so driven to succeed that she eventually learned from her setbacks and moved to fix what was wrong.

The first step was to replace her chief of staff. Elizabeth Wilkins was another progressive young Yale-trained lawyer, fresh from White House service as Klain’s senior adviser. Blessed with political and management savvy and high emotional intelligence, Wilkins set about improving communication with commissioners and staff. Khan began meeting with members of the priesthood and outsider stakeholders, who gave her a better understanding of the job and how to handle it. She also reached beyond movement acolytes to hire Henry Liu , an experienced antitrust litigator from a blue-chip firm as the new director of the competition bureau, and Aviv Nevo, a respected economist from the University of Pennsylvania, to head the economic bureau.

This new circle of advisers — which now included a supportive Slaughter — helped Khan grow into the job. She became more willing to trust the recommendations of staff attorneys and economists as they developed a better understanding of her vision. She became more selective in the cases and investigations she ordered. Most significantly, she came to understand that while transforming antitrust law required bringing cases that the agency might lose, it was also important to win some to maintain the agency’s credibility and morale. The latest employee satisfaction survey, in fact, shows that the FTC has reversed more than half of its precipitous decline.

Khan’s more pragmatic approach was evident last September when the FTC, along with 17 state attorneys general, filed a much-anticipated suit against Amazon. The 172-page complaint did not rely on many of the novel legal theories Khan had advanced in her star-making article. Instead, it took the more traditional approach, accusing Amazon of raising prices for consumers by punishing third-party sellers on its platform who offered lower prices elsewhere, and by requiring sellers to use Amazon’s expensive fulfillment services to qualify for Prime status.

“She has come to appreciate that being revolutionary at times requires being evolutionary,” said Bill Baer, who was a top official at both the FTC and Justice.

Khan’s adaptability has put some important wins on the board for her agency. For example, rather than pursuing a court battle to block Amgen’s $28 billion purchase of a hot biotech firm, she agreed to settle the case on terms favorable to the FTC. And on appeal, the agency succeeded in unwinding a high-profile biotech merger of firms Illumina and Grail, setting an important new precedent for vertical mergers.

For the first time, the FTC sued a private equity fund, challenging the industry’s appetite for creating virtual monopolies. In this case, a fund had bought nearly every anesthesiology practice in Texas. Judging from the howls of protest from Wall Street, the suit poses a significant threat to the hugely profitable business model of “rolling up” small firms in often-overlooked markets.

And earlier this year, the FTC won an early round of a case brought against two of the largest makers of farm pesticides for using loyalty programs and exclusive contracts to fend off makers of cheaper generic products. If successful, the precedent would implicate business practices widely used in other industries.

At the Justice Department, meanwhile, Kanter’s antitrust division has also been on a roll. Penguin Random House’s purchase of publishing rival Simon & Schuster was blocked on the theory that the combination would lower advances for authors and reduce the diversity of opinions on which democracy depends. Justice also blocked JetBlue’s joint marketing agreement with American Airlines and its purchase of upstart rival Spirit. Based on preliminary rulings, Justice also appears to have the wind at its back in two monopolization cases against Google that seek to break up the internet giant. In March, Justice joined 15 states and the District of Columbia in filing a sweeping suit against Apple over business practices that discourage customers from switching to other phones and using rival apps.

Even so, the biggest win for the hipsters might be a new set of merger guidelines that lay out how the FTC and the Justice Department — and, indirectly, the courts — will interpret and enforce antitrust law. At Khan’s urging, the initial draft of the guidelines abandoned the old Chicago rubric of consumer welfare in favor of hard limits on concentration, relying on reanimated precedents like Von’s Grocery . Laced with questionable economics and movement rhetoric, the draft was widely panned by the antitrust establishment and denounced by business groups.

But after considering thousands of public comments and consulting the priesthood, Khan and Kanter ultimately settled on a set of credible enforcement principles based on updated economics and legal doctrine respectful of precedent but not shackled by it. Under the new rubric, merger reviews will shift from endless arm-wrestling over defining the relevant market and estimating future prices to an inquiry into how firms in that market actually compete. Consumer prices will be a factor in that assessment, but not the only one.

The reaction from the priesthood ranged from surprised relief to genuine admiration. “The final product was clear and coherent … an intellectually honest description of the law,” said Doug Melamed, who once headed the antitrust division at Justice.

Weeks later, Khan took the new guidelines out for spin. Along with eight states and D.C., the FTC asked a federal court in Colorado to block the biggest-ever merger of grocery chains . The nation’s largest chain of traditional supermarkets, Kroger (whose portfolio of brands includes Ralphs and Harris Teeter), sought to combine with the second largest, Albertsons (which owns Safeway, Shaw’s and good old Vons). After decades of unchecked consolidation, this latest mashup would create the third largest employer in the country, with more than 5,000 stores and annual sales of $210 billion, larger than the economy of Hungary. Its market share among traditional supermarkets would be as high as 50 percent in dozens of regional markets stretching from Maryland to California.

In short, this was exactly what Justice Black had warned of nearly 60 years ago.

It’s too early to tell whether the anti-monopoly movement will succeed or fail. Much hinges on whether Biden wins a second term giving Khan and Kanter time to win some big cases while the president salts the federal courts with sympathetic judges. Khan understands she is playing a long game. The old orthodoxy was built slowly and will only be undone over time.

“Antitrust will be in a better place when she finishes,” predicts Jon Leibowitz, the Obama-era chair who was once as skeptical of the hipsters as they were of him.

Already, corporate executives and their lawyers are adjusting to the credible threat of tougher enforcement. A number of companies have walked away from mergers after the agencies announced they would oppose them. AI chipmaker Nvidia, for example, recently punted on its $40 billion takeover of U.K.-based chip designer Arm Holdings. In other cases, mergers are not even pursued. One leading Wall Street banker recently complained that a surprising number of deals that would have previously been done now never make it out of the boardroom because of concerns about heightened antitrust enforcement.

“To me, that’s the ultimate measure of success,” Kanter said.

Khan’s detractors see a parallel with Mike Pertschuk , her Carter-era predecessor. Pertschuk, too, arrived at the FTC promising to unshackle antitrust from the consumer welfare standard while proposing sweeping new regulations covering more than a dozen industries and professions. The political backlash was so intense that even a Democratic Congress threatened to cut the FTC’s funding, and Pertschuk became an avatar of political ham-handedness and regulatory overreach.

A “cautionary tale,” Khan allowed when we spoke. But the better analogy, she argued, is Pertschuk’s Reagan-era successor, Jim Miller. Like Khan, Miller was an ideologically driven reformer who generated lots of noisy pushback from FTC staff and the antitrust establishment. Like her, he was impatient to steer the agency in a different direction, terminating investigations, dropping cases, and pushing for dramatic cuts in budgets and staff. Like her, Miller was bitterly criticized by commissioners of the other party, while his agency in turmoil received extensive media coverage and howls of protest from Capitol Hill.

Miller, however, was anything but a failure. With William Baxter, his counterpart at Justice, he succeeded in remaking antitrust doctrine and analysis, ushering in decades of corporate consolidation. By the end of the Reagan era, antitrust regulators were seriously reviewing only about 1 percent of reported mergers; a decade earlier, under Carter, it had been 10 percent. Monopolization cases virtually disappeared, giving dominant firms a green light to adopt all manner of anticompetitive practices. And judges — many of them appointed for their anti-regulatory leanings — were only too happy to avoid cases requiring them to make subjective judgments concerning businesses and markets they knew little about.

The reason Miller succeeded, the reason the anti-antitrust revolution took hold, was because the law had not kept pace with competitive realities. In an economy that was rapidly nationalizing and globalizing , buffeted by changes in technology and business models, it no longer made sense to prevent mergers that resulted in measly 7.5 percent market shares. “Big is bad” no longer made sense.

Forty years on, Khan and her movement are likely to succeed for the same reason — because antitrust doctrine and analysis have failed to keep up with what Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously called “the felt necessities of the time.” The pendulum was allowed to swing too far toward giantism and anything-goes. Data on market shares , corporate profits , wages , innovation and new business formation supports such a conclusion. So do multiple retrospective studies that find that the “efficiencies” promised by so many mergers either never materialized or were never passed on to consumers. In many industries, the meager gains from additional economies of scale are now outweighed by the inefficiencies of companies too big to manage. Now it is “bigger is always better” that no longer makes sense.

Khan’s radicalism is the mirror image of Miller’s — and no less justified. Most of the complaints one hears about her are self-serving canards. They are peddled by corporate executives, lawyers, lobbyists and investment bankers desperate to protect an economic model that has made them richer than they could have ever imagined — and richer than they deserve.

“The antitrust establishment still doesn’t know what hit them,” said William Kovacic, an antitrust scholar and former Republican chair of the FTC who has become a mentor to Khan. “She has built an awareness of the issue and a political constituency for it. I greatly admire what she has done.”

A generational battle is underway to rewrite the rules and reshape the contours of American capitalism. Economically, politically, the stakes are enormous. And at the center of it is a steely young idealist who came to Washington determined to revive antitrust law as a check on corporate power.

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  1. Reviewing Writing Essay Rubric Up Dated Sp 2024

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    WRITING CONTEST RULES AND JUDGING RUBRIC RULES 1. No entry fee is required, and all rights in the story remain the property of the author. All types of fiction are welcome. 2. By submitting to the Contest, the entrant agrees to abide by all Contest rules. 3. All entries must be original works by the entrant, in English.

  2. A Teacher's Guide to a Short Story Writing Rubric

    Step 3: Describe Each Level. Now, describe what each level means for each criterion. Be specific! For example: Plot (Level 3): The story's plot is engaging, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. It includes unexpected twists that captivate the reader. Plot (Level 2): The story has a good plot with a clear structure.

  3. The Scholastic Awards Writing Rubric: What Is It and How Can It Improve

    To assist our judges with making their selections, we've put together a rubric that offers guides to help the jurors determine which works meet the criteria and which works exceed them. Students and educators may want to review the rubric to see where their works fall and what they can improve. For instance, rambling sentences can drown out a ...

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    Contest. This is not a strict rubric or a checklist that must be adhered to. Rather, these are some criteria that all judges will be conscious of as they read the submissions. Fiction (i.e. short story) Judging Criteria • Style & presentation: punctuation, spelling, grammar, and syntax are standard except as required for literary effect.

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    Final Storytelling Rubric. Download and/or print out the PDF below. Page 1 / 2. Zoom 100%.

  8. PDF Writing Rubric: Writing a Short Story

    The story has no resolution. 22 Rubrics for Assessing Student Writing, Listening, & Speaking. High School. Voice. Word Choice & Sentence Fluency. Conventions. Point of view is consistent and effective throughout the story. The writer's choice of narrative voice is exceptionally appropriate to the story's theme.

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    Essay Contest Judging Rubric. For each criterion listed, score the essay on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best score. Use a separate form for each essay. Do not score in decimals or fractions - whole numbers only. Understanding of the topic: To what extent did the writer demonstrate a clear understanding of the question and respond with ...

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    Short Story Rubric . Key Traits 4 20 pts. 3 15 pts. 2 10 pts. 1 5 pts. pre c IDEAS • The opening lines vividly sent thest ory'smain onflict and haracter s. • Significant, descriptive details reveal the setting and characters. • The writer uses strong dialogue to show the characters' personalities. • The opening lines pre • Most ...

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    2023 RRPL Writing Contest Assessment Rubric . Distinguished 4 points Proficient 3 points Apprentice 2 points Novice 1 point Theme . The writer's short story or poem is organized and revolves around a clear central idea/theme. Part of the writer's short story or poem relates to a central theme or idea. An idea or theme is mentioned in the short

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    Writing attracts reader's interest. Author's voice shows engagement with the topic. Technically well written; however, author's voice is weak. Writing fails to engage the reader. Does not demonstrate writer's interest in topic. Adapted from Rubric for Editorial - Commentary Essay from and the 6+1 Traits of Writing Rubric from

  14. iRubric: Creative Writing: Original Short Story rubric

    Creative Writing: Original Short Story. Creative Writing: Original Short Story. Writing an original short story, with an emphasis on using the elements of writing to convey meaning. Rubric Code: R738WW.

  15. PDF Rubric for Story

    Description of a Story. A story is one of the oldest forms used in writing. It stems from the oral tradition of story telling. Story has many forms. A common form is based on the experience of the author with imaginary extensions. Another is the personal experience narrative whereby the author relates an event in his/her life.


    Conventions—10 points. -Spelling is correct throughout piece -Punctuation is used correctly -Punctuation is deliberately manipulated in a sophisticated manner to affect style -Format and presentation is correct/professional (Times New Roman, size 12, double spaced)

  17. PDF Essay Contest Judging Rubric

    Essay Contest Judging Rubric. For each criterion listed, score the essay on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best score. Use a separate form for each essay. Do not score in decimals or fractions - whole numbers only. 5=Excellent. 4=Above Average. 3=Average. 2=Below Average. 1=Poor/Incomplete.

  18. PDF Storytelling+Rubric+and+Instructions+

    Name:& School:& Level:& Storytelling+Rubric+and+Instructions+ & Tell&a&story&inASL.&&Storyoptions&include&personal&narratives,&jokes,&legends,&or&afairytale&from ...

  19. PDF Teen Writing Contest Rules & Rubric

    Teen Writing Contest Rules & Rubric 1. No entry fee is required, and all rights in the story remain the property of the author. All types of fiction are welcome. 2. By submitting to the Contest, the entrant agrees to abide by all Contest rules. 3. All entries must be original works by the entrant, in English. Plagiarism, which includes the

  20. Rubric List

    2024 Writing Trip to Sicily; Members in the News; Opportunities; Classes. Online Classes; Webinars; Enroll; ... Contests. The Story Circle LifeWriting Competition; The Story CIrcle Poetry Competition ... Member Library; About. Member Benefits; Rubric List. March 10, 2020 by . SCN Women's Book Awards: Rubrics . Memoir; Nonfiction: biography ...

  21. PDF Digital Story Rubric

    Digital Story Rubric Category 5 4 3 2 1 Voice - Consistency Each student has a speaking role. Voice quality is clear and consistently audible throughout the presentation. Each student has a speaking role. Voice quality is clear and consistently audible throughout the majority (85-95%) of the presentation. Students do not have an equal

  22. iRubric: Creative Writing Short Story Rubric

    Creative Writing Short Story Rubric. Coming Alive Short Story Rubric. This is a rubric determines how well each short story was written. Rubric Code: K56455. By HomerLD9514. Draft. Public Rubric. Subject: English. Type: Writing.

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    Students will write to enhance the ability to develop character descriptions as well as a story line with a sequence of events, climax, and resolution. Rubric Code: SXB454W. By dalthus. Ready to use. Public Rubric. Subject: English. Type: Writing. Grade Levels: 9-12.

  24. Opinion

    Under the new rubric, merger reviews will shift from endless arm-wrestling over defining the relevant market and estimating future prices to an inquiry into how firms in that market actually compete.