Rhetorical Grading Standards for Essays

  • GRADING STANDARDS FOR ESSAYS

    Your papers will be assigned grades based on the following scoring guide:

    “A” Paper:  The essay presents a coherent and thoughtful written response to the topic/issue and demonstrates a high level of writing and thinking competence, with no more than a few minor problems.  An essay in this category…

    • is well organized (hierarchical structure and logical analysis)
    • includes well-developed explanations of major ideas and integrates relevant evidence in support of the writer’s analysis
    • demonstrates an understanding of audience with appropriate tone, word choice, level of contextual information included, etc.
    • uses appropriate academic discourse conventions (e.g., citations, references)
    • follows standard discourse conventions such as paragraphing, transitions, correct sentence structure, usage, punctuation, and spelling and is virtually free of language and or proofreading errors
    • demonstrates qualities of excellence such as originality, depth of thought, complexity, creativity, and/or critical analysis.

    “A-/B+” Paper:  The essay presents a coherent argument/analysis in response to the topic/issue, demonstrates a high level of writing and thinking competence, but may reveal some minor problems.  An essay in this category…

    • is well organized but may have some minor structural difficulties
    • includes developed explanations of major ideas and integrates relevant evidence in support of the analysis
    • uses appropriate academic discourse conventions (e.g., citations, references)
    • follows standard discourse conventions such as paragraphing, transitions, correct sentence structure, usage, punctuation, and spelling and is generally free of language and or proofreading errors.

    “B” Paper:  The essay presents a logical argument in response to a topic/issue and demonstrates some writing and thinking competence, but may reveal some minor problems.  An essay in this category…

    • is fairly well organized
    • includes somewhat developed explanations and examples of ideas and generally integrates some relevant evidence in support of the analysis.
    • uses appropriate academic discourse conventions (e.g., citations, references)
    • follows standard discourse conventions such as paragraphing, transitions, correct sentence structure, usage, punctuation, and spelling; may display some errors in  language and/or proofreading errors, but exhibits no consistent pattern of such errors.

    “B-/C+” Paper:  The essay presents an argument in response to the topic/issue, demonstrates occasional writing and thinking competence, and may reveal some problems, but reveals no consistent patterns of such problems.  An essay in this category…

    • is adequately organized
    • includes at least partially developed explanations and examples and occasionally relevant evidence in support of the analysis
    • uses academic discourse conventions (e.g., citations, references), but not always consistently or accurately
    • follows most standard discourse conventions such as paragraphing, transitions, correct sentence structure, usage, punctuation, and spelling; may display errors in  language and/or proofreading errors, but exhibits no consistent pattern of such errors

    “C” Paper:  The essay presents, or at least implies, an argument in response to the topic/issue, demonstrates some writing and thinking competence, but is clearly flawed.  An essay in this category reveals at least one of the following weaknesses:

    • inadequate and/or illogical organization, or
    • inadequate or undeveloped explanations of major ideas, or
    • partially developed examples in support of the major ideas and/or absence of relevant evidence, or
    • inappropriate or inadequate use of academic discourse conventions (e.g., citations, references)
    • a pattern of accumulation of errors in mechanics, usage, spelling, and/or proofreading, or
    • a plot summary predominates instead of argument.

    “C-“ Paper:  The essay proposes an inadequate argument, or no coherent argument, in response to the assigned topic and reveals serious flaws in writing or thinking.  An essay in this category displays more than one of the following weaknesses:

    • very little and/or illogical organization
    • an absence of examples and/or inadequate explanations of major ideas
    • inappropriate or inadequate use of academic discourse conventions (e.g., citations, references)
    • a pattern of significant errors in mechanics, usage, spelling, and/or proofreading
    • plot summary with little analysis.

     

    “D/F” Paper:  The essay proposes no relevant argument addressing the topic/issue and demonstrates fundamental deficiencies in writing and/or thinking skills.  An essay in this category displays several of the following weaknesses:

    • no discernible organization
    • incoherent, inaccurate, and/or undeveloped ideas and use of evidence
    • inappropriate or inadequate use of academic discourse conventions (e.g., citations, references)
    • persistent major errors in mechanics, spelling, and proofreading.

    An essay that offers nothing but plot summary or that does not respond to the topic/ issue assigned will receive a “D” or and “F” no matter how well written it may be.