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Grading Standards

Page history last edited by Tonya Howe 13 years, 3 months ago

On the typical 100-point scale, the letter breakdown is as follows:


100-90: A

89-80: B

79-70: C

69-60: D

59-below: F

Not turned in receives a zero


For small assignments and activities, I use a 10-point check-check plus-check minus scale, in which:


Check Plus: 10

Check: 8

Check Minus: 6

Not turned in receives a zero


Please be advised that I use the full range of grades. The following rubric can be applied to all of our formal work for this class.


The ‘F’ Paper

  • reads as if it were written the night before.

  • is overwhelmed with mechanical, syntactical, and grammatical errors.

  • replaces an argument with clichés, unexamined assumptions, and unsupported assertions.

  • makes no effort to think analytically.

  • often contains neither a thesis nor “a point,” and haphazardly presents the rare idea.

  • may not adhere to the assignment, or it may be plagiarized.

The ‘D’ Paper

  • attempts to fulfill the terms of the assignment, but has many weaknesses. Such a paper is generally comprehensible.

  • exhibits some effort at argument but shows no evidence of real engagement.

  • may posit a thesis that is unclear, illogical given the evidence, or commonplace.

  • contains numerous mechanical, syntactical, expressive, and organizational problems, which mar the development of effective argument or analysis.

  • makes use of ill-chosen, contradictory pieces of evidence.

  • relies somewhat on clichés, unexamined assumptions, and unsupported assertions.


The ‘C’ Paper

  • takes many shapes. Generally, it fulfills the assignment in a routine way and makes only a meager attempt at argument, criticism, or analysis.

  • avoids effective analysis by remaining stuck in a black/white, yes/no, either/or framework. 

  • does not clarify the relevance of its argument.

  • asserts a weak thesis, a thesis contradicted by the evidence examined, or a thesis that mutates throughout the essay.

  • is usually stylistically adequate and generally (but not completely) avoids glaring platitudes and distracting word choice.

  • might also describe essays that either have many fresh, complex ideas that are unfortunately buried beneath the mechanical and stylistic problems or essays that express common and relatively uninspired ideas with perfect diction and style.


The ‘B’ Paper

  • is strong. It does more than merely fulfill the assignment.

  • shows evidence of thought and planning. The “B” essay is generally well-organized.

  • thoroughly develops its analysis into a clear, interesting point.

  • incorporates a variety of specific supporting evidence and fluid transitions between ideas.

  • may exhibit logical flaws or faulty, obscure analysis.

  • displays the author’s awareness of his/her audience.

  • appears stylistically adept, without too many—or too serious—mechanical errors.

  • needs to push its thought and analysis further, beyond common knowledge or well-worn definitions.


The ‘A’ Paper

  • is outstanding. It goes beyond adequacy and addresses the topic perceptively and thoughtfully.

  • reflects original thought that surpasses ideas developed in class discussion.

  • has a clearly visible, strong, and debatable thesis statement that supports the entire essay.

  • exhibits a finely-tuned and well-organized argument.

  • provides its readers with provocative examinations of specific, highly relevant evidence.

  • possesses few—if any—mechanical or grammatical errors, and it makes use of the most appropriate and effective language.

  • displays a compelling, vigorous authorial voice that considers its audience thoroughly. 


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