Similarity reports of plagiarism detectors should be approached with caution as they may not be sufficient to support allegations of plagiarism. This study developed a 50-item rubric to simplify and standardize evaluation of academic papers. In the spring semester of 2011-2012 academic year, 161 freshmen's papers at the English Language Teaching Department of Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey, were assessed using the rubric. Validity and reliability were established. The results indicated citation as a particularly problematic aspect, and indicated that fairer assessment could be achieved by using the rubric along with plagiarism detectors' similarity results.