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Grading Rubric


Content: The argument is clear, focused, and supported.  These papers engage with the text thoroughly and competently, and clearly demonstrate how the analysis fits in with the larger point of the essay.  Further, they make efforts to engage counterarguments, consider the implication of the argument to other areas of the text, or demonstrate an awareness of the complexity of the topic.  Finally, papers that push beyond simply “answering” the assignment and attempt to work with the material in provocative, interesting, and complex ways will fall into the “A” category.

Structure: Structurally, they follow a clear development of ideas, providing evidence where appropriate.  The paragraphs are developed and progress logically from what precedes them.  An introduction and a conclusion are effective; the introduction provides necessary contextual information in an engaging and original way and the conclusion moves beyond simply restating the introduction by suggesting the implications of the argument.   

Style & Mechanics: Aside from being virtually free of grammatical errors, “A” papers read with a certain ease and clarity.  They also demonstrate stylistic variety – on the level of the word, sentence and paragraph – by varying length and word choice.  



Content: Put simply, these papers are good essays – they accomplish the task at hand and do not have any significant structural, grammatical, or analytical errors that deter from the overall success of the paper.  They demonstrate a thorough understanding of the text and have arguments that are adequate (but could be sharpened).  They employ close reading and analysis successfully and are able to work textual support into the fabric of the argument.  If counterarguments are not addressed directly, their absence does not weaken the argument.  Though well-executed, these essays do not push their analysis into the realm of “provocative.”

Structure: The structure of the paper is logical (tying points back to the whole), contains relatively few areas of disorganization, and attempts to use transitions. This paper provides enough detail in the body to satisfy the reader and presents an effective introduction and conclusion. 

Style & Mechanics: While they may contain a small number of awkward sentences, “B” papers are, for the most part, well-written and contain few grammatical errors.  



Content: Overall, “C” papers demonstrate an understanding of and ability to work with a topic.  The essay makes effort to answer the assignment; however, it may fall short when considering all aspects of the issue at hand.  The approach is not as “well-rounded.”  These papers attempt to make a point or argument, yet run into some problems when following the argument through the entire paper.  Arguments are often defined only generally and do not address the complexity if the topic.  The supporting evidence, gathered responsibly and used accurately, is, nevertheless, often obvious or easily accessible. 

Structure: While the paper does follow a structure, this organization is sometimes lost and unclear.  Transitions may be used, but are often mechanical. 

Style & Mechanics: Some patterns of grammatical error emerge and take away from the strength of the essay.  Sentence structure is relatively simple and the writing style seems slightly awkward and choppy at moments. 



Content: These papers may gesture at an overall point but do not articulate this clearly.  Some attempt is made to answer the assignment, but clarity and depth of analysis give way to summary.  Points are made yet may exist without textual support and a clear tie to the rest of the paper.  Understanding of the text is uncertain and possibly incorrect.   

Structure: Transitions are non-existent and the movement from paragraph to paragraph and sentence to sentence seems arbitrary at multiple points. 

Style & Mechanics: The paper contains a significant amount of grammatical errors.  Coupled with the overall lack of organization, this makes the essay difficult to read. 



This paper makes no effort to respond to the assignment.  It contains no argument or point and does not engage with the text in any coherent, analytical way. Organization is absent and grammatical mistakes are numerous.  Writing style is both awkward and inappropriate.  This paper may also be plagiarized.