Rubric for Socratic Seminar








Demonstrates respect for learning process; has patience with differing opinions and complexity; asks peers for clarification; attempts to involve others; moves forward into new concepts; not disruptive

Generally shows composure but may display impatience with contradictory or confusing ideas; not patient while waiting to speak; comments frequently but does not encourage others to participate; attempts to move discussion forward; shows a desire to contribute responsibly

Participates verbally but shows impatience with seminar process; may make insightful comments but is either too forceful or too shy and does not contribute to the progress of seminar; tends to debate not discuss; may be unfocused due to depth/length of seminar

Displays little/no respect for the seminar process; argumentative; takes advantage of or causes distractions; uses inappropriate language; challenges individuals rather than speaking to ideas; writes personal notes


Speaks to all participants; avoids talking too much; can be heard by all

Addresses majority of comments to peers; does not try to say “everything” while speaking; responds to questions voluntarily; tries to speak louder when asked to do so

Speaks directly to leader; speaks too softly and needs to be reminded; routinely lapses into slang or substandard usage; speaks only with prompting and has no sustainable point

Reluctant to speak when called on or passes; cannot be heard; shows no desire to contribute verbally


Understands questions before answering; cites evidence; provides logical and insightful comments; makes connections between ideas; resolves apparent contradictory ideas; considers others’ viewpoints not only own; avoids bad logic

Demonstrates some reflection on concept but not mastery; makes limited connections with ideas of others; ideas interesting enough that others respond to them

Limited reflection on concept; may overlook important points thus leading to faulty logic; may be accurate on minor points while missing main concept; contributes opinions that have not factual support; has some difficulty in formulating understandable comments

Makes illogical comments; says no more than “I agree”; ignores previous comments and seminar direction; uses humor to avoid serious thinking


Listens for opportunities to respond; does not overlook details; takes notes/writes questions; builds on discussion; points out flawed reasoning; overcomes distractions

Generally attentive and focused; responds thoughtfully to ideas/questions raised; may be too absorbed in own thoughts to hear others’ comments; may write some notes but not consistently

Responds only to ideas that are personally interesting; asks for repetition and rephrasing of questions; takes limited notes; easily distracted

Not attentive to others; exhibits negative body language; takes no notes


Understands major concepts; has student prepared notes and questions

Demonstrates knowledge of facts; has highlighted WWW printouts and prepared simple questions

Confused about key concepts; may have some WWW printouts

Clearly unprepared; has no notes, WWW printouts, or questions


Adapted from Socratic Seminar