These grading standards establish tour major criteria for evaluation at each grade level: purpose, reasoning and content, organization, and expression. Obviously, every paper will not fit neatly into one grade category; it may, for instance, have some characteristics of B and some of C. The grade it finally receives depends on the weight the instructor gives to each criterion.
1. The A paper has not only fulfilled the assignment, but it has done so in a fresh and mature manner. It has effectively met the needs of the organization. The paper is fully accommodated to its audience(s).
2. The evidence is detailed; the sources of information or persuasion have been used creatively. The evidence presented is wholly appropriate to the audience. The reasoning is valid. Beyond that, the paper is thoughtful, showing good judgment and sensitivity to the complexities of the situation or issue.
3. The organization is effective for this audience and purpose. The introduction establishes the sense of audience. Every paragraph and segment is fully developed and follows inevitably from what precedes it. Headings and subheadings are appropriately used. The conclusion is suitable in tone and strategy.
4. The prose is not only clear and readable but occasionally apt and memorable. It contains few errors, none of which seriously undermines the effectiveness of the paper for educated readers.
1. The assignment has been not just followed but fulfilled. In taking its stand, the paper shows a clear and precise sense of audience.
2. The writer has not settled for the most obvious evidence. The B paper is characterized by thoroughness. The reasoning is more than Adequate. Not only does it make no mistakes, but it shows thoughtfulness, some complexities, and some awareness of other points of view.
3. The B paper has an effective introduction and conclusion. The order of the presentation is logical, and the reader can follow it because of well-chosen transitions. Paragraph divisions are logical.
4. The expression is competent, more ambitious than that of the C paper, less felicitous than that of the A paper. Not only is sentence structure correct, but it also uses subordination, emphasis, sentence length and variety, and modifiers effectively. It would be surprising to find serious sentence errors in a B paper. Word choice is idiomatic, vocabulary precise and varied. Punctuation, grammar, and spelling conform to the conventions of edited American English.
1. The assignment has been followed. The paper develops its points and shows some sense of audience.
2. The information or degree of persuasion in a C paper is appropriate. Though the evidence is perhaps obvious and easily accessible, it has been gathered honestly and used responsibly. The C paper may exhibit some minor imperfections or inconsistencies, but it commits no major flaws in reasoning.
3. The organization is clear. The reader could easily outline the presentation. Paragraphs are adequately developed and appropriately divided; although transitions may be mechanical, they foster coherence.
4. The expression is competent. Sentence structure is generally correct, although it may show limited competence with such elements as subordination, emphasis, sentence variety and length, and modifiers. The paper is generally free of comma splices, unintentional fragments, and fused sentences--errors that betray an inadequate sentence sense. Word choice is correct, although it probably reflects uneasiness with idiom and a fairly limited vocabulary. It may contain errors in spelling, mechanics, and grammar that reveal unfamiliarity with the conventions of edited American English.
1. A D paper makes an attempt at supporting a point, even though that point may be poorly chosen or insufficiently limited. A D paper often shows a poor sense of audience. For example, it may not show much sense of its audience's prior knowledge or assumptions.
2. Necessary evidence or information may be missing irrelevant evidence present, or the interpretation or evaluation of that evidence may be inadequate. The reasoning may be seriously flawed.
3. Organization may be significantly flawed in any of the following ways: topic sentences are missing; paragraphs are not well developed or appropriately divided or arranged; transitions are missing or incorrect; introductions or conclusions are missing, misleading, or unrelated to the argument.
4. A D paper may have consistent and numerous errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation. The syntax or diction may be so flawed that sentences are virtually incomprehensible. Lack of proofreading can turn an otherwise adequate paper into a D paper.
1. The F paper is off the assignment, even if it is correctly and coherently written. (Many instructors require that such papers be rewritten before assigning a grade.)
2. It has-no clear point but goes off in several directions.
3. It falls seriously short of minimum length requirements.
4. It may be plagiarized--either it is someone else's essay or it has used sources improperly or without documentation.
5. It is plagued by more than one of the organizational deficiencies of the D paper,
6. Numerous and consistent errors of grammar spelling, punctuation, diction, or syntax seriously hinder communication.