Grading Criteria

General Grading Criteria for Level 3 Essays

        Note:  Keep in mind that an “A” paper at the freshman level will rarely be an “A” paper at the upper-division level; expectations rise as the years go on.

An “A” paper will:

  • demonstrate a strong sense of audience and context
  • develop the topic with relevant detail and support
  • clearly acknowledge sources
  • exhibit outstanding style, grammar, and attention to detail
  • proceed clearly from point to point
  • provide a clear purpose and thesis idea
  • [in general, an “A” paper presents its ideas with originality, flair, and competence]

A “B” paper will:

  • demonstrate a competent sense of audience and context
  • develop the topic with relevant detail and support
  • clearly acknowledge sources
  • exhibit competent style, grammar, and attention to detail
  • proceed clearly from point to point
  • provide a clear purpose and thesis idea
  • [a “B” paper may lack some originality, or be less developed than an “A” paper, but the strengths will still outnumber the weaknesses]

A “C” paper will:

  • demonstrate a sense of audience and context
  • develop the topic with relevant detail and support
  • acknowledge sources
  • exhibit a mastery of style and grammar such that the reader is not confused
  • proceed from point to point in a logical way
  • provide a clear purpose and thesis idea
  • [a “C” paper may have a balance of strengths and weaknesses, proceed in formulaic or clichéd ways, and probably have less competence in style and grammar]

A “D” paper will:

  • struggle with a sense of audience and context
  • under-develop the topic or fail to provide detailed support
  • acknowledge sources
  • confuse the reader with awkward or ungrammatical sentences
  • present the ideas in a haphazard order
  • provide a vague purpose and thesis
  • [a “D” paper may not exhibit all the listed problems, but the weaknesses will outnumber the strengths]

An “F” paper will:

  • demonstrate severe organizational, stylistic, and/or focus problems
  • fail to acknowledge sources
  • fail to develop the topic
  • fail to provide a clear purpose and thesis
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