This is a generic set of criteria for grading papers, adapted from a
set by Lewis Hyde . Note that I will hand out a specific grading
rubric with each graded writing assignment.
An A paper
shows that the author clearly understood the assignment and spent time
thinking carefully about it. The paper is
well-written, which means that the writing is interesting, it
clearly explains the topic in a focused and
organized way, and uses language appropriate to the audience and
purpose. When appropriate, the paper has a well-formulated thesis and
provides evidence to support this thesis. The paper as a whole
has a logical flow. Paragraphs are organized around one main idea
and use effective patterns of development. As expected, an A
paper contains few, if any, grammar, spelling, or
proofreading mistakes and absolutely no mathematical mistakes.
I know I've read an A paper when I find myself thinking about it for
several days after reading it.
A B paper
shows that the author mostly understood the assignment and spent some
time thinking about it. This paper is well-written, although
there may be some mechanical
mistakes or some places where the writing is a bit awkward.
The writing is fairly easy to read, but indicates that the
author has a less in-depth understanding of the topic. Like the A
paper, the B paper has a logical structure and the paragraphs convey a
main idea. Again, there may be one or two proofreading mistakes.
A B paper is good, but not excellent, outstanding or
paper is one where the author didn't quite understand the
assignment or did not spend enough time thinking about it. The
writing may be stilted, hard to follow, or slightly inappropriate for
the audience or purpose of the assignment. It may have a thesis
that is obvious or uninteresting; it may use evidence that doesn't
fully support the thesis. While the
writing is understandable, there may be problems with organization or
clarity. A C paper is fairly well-written, but has noticeable
grammar, spelling, punctuation, or other mechanical mistakes.
When I read a C paper, I usually get the feeling that this was a paper
written at the last minute. The author may have good ideas but
trouble with expressing them in writing. Alternatively, the
author may be a good writer, but hasn't invested enough thought
in the assignment.
C papers meet the requirements of the assignment but just barely.
paper is one where the author didn't understand the assignment
or put little time or thought into the writing. The paper is hard
to follow or inappropriate for the audience or purpose of the
assignment. It may not have a thesis at all, or it may have one
which is obvious or uninteresting. It does not use evidence
appropriately. It may be very disorganized, with lots of
mechanical mistakes and several mathematical mistakes. The
paragraphs seem to be a collection of several sentences which seem
unrelated or disorganized. The author has difficulty developing ideas
or expressing them in writing.
The author of a D paper seems to just not get the assignment.
paper is rare. Usually, people who get a F have problems
with plagiarism or excessive lateness.
However, exceptional failure to comply with the terms of an
assignment may also result in an F.