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Grading Standards for Student Essays

Following are the standards adopted by the Humanities and Fine Arts Division:

The A Theme: Superior

The A Paper exhibits these strengths:

1. Has a controlling sense of purpose (to persuade, to inform, or to express).

2. Exhibits a mature level of thought (that is, exhibits the ability to draw inferences and make analogies which show insight into the topic).

3. Is tailored for a given audience.

4. Achieves clarity throughout.

5. Has unified organization with an apt introduction, graceful transitions, and a vigorous conclusion.

6. Has a clear thesis developed thoroughly with abundant, fresh support (such as, concrete details, examples, and reasoning).

7. Uses variety of sentence structure, precise word choice, emphasis, figures of speech.

8. Is free from errors in logic or reasoning.

9. Is free from consistent errors in Standard English and from common weaknesses in writing (ineffective use of passive voice, inappropriate word choice, inappropriate shifts, wordiness).

NOTE: The A Paper is distinguished from the B paper by a more assured prose style, more creativity in form or content, more subtlety in rhetorical strategy.

 

The B theme: Good

The B paper exhibits most of these strengths:

1. Has a controlling sense of purpose (such as to persuade, to inform, or to express).

2. Exhibits a mature level of thought.

3. Is tailored for a given audience.

4. Achieves clarity throughout.

5. Has unified organization with an apt introduction, clear transitions, and a good conclusion.

6. Has a clear thesis, reasonably developed with effective support (concrete details and examples).

7. Uses variety of sentence structure and accurate word choice.

8. Has few, if any, errors in logic or reasoning.

9. Has few errors in Standard English and few stylistic weaknesses (ineffective use of passive voice, inappropriate word choice, inappropriate shifts, wordiness).

NOTE: Mere absence of errors will not be rewarded with a B.

 

The C theme: Satisfactory

The C paper exhibits these characteristics:

1. Displays a sense of purpose, which may not be consistently met.

2. Is logical, but rarely thought-provoking.

3. Displays a sense of audience and usually addresses that audience.

4. Is clear throughout.

5. Is organized well enough to be easily readable, with a beginning, middle, and end.

6. Has a clear thesis, reasonably developed with some concrete details and examples.

7. Has adequate but undistinguished word choice and sentence structure.

8. Has no serious lapses in logic or reasoning.

9. Contains almost no serious errors in sentence boundaries, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

 

The D theme: Deficient

The D paper exhibits some but not all of the following weaknesses:

1. Fails to rise above the obvious in content, substitutes repetition for development, or relies too heavily on a secondary source.

2. Lacks sense of appropriate audience.

3. Has lapses in clarity.

4. Has lapses in organization; shows weakness in introduction, transitions, and/or conclusion.

5. Has a single subject but no controlling idea.

6. Lacks variety in sentence structure and/or accuracy of word choice.

7. Has lapses in logic and resaoning.

8. Has some errors in Standard English:

--mixed constructions (confused sentences)

--sentence boundary errors:

run-on (or fused) sentences

unjustifiable sentence fragments

comma splices

--agreement errors (subject/verb; pronoun/antecedent)

--inappropriate shifts in tense, voice, mood, person

--confusion of its/it's, there/their, to/too/two, no/know,

your/you're and so forth

--punctuation errors

--excessive misspellings

NOTE: Originality of style or thought will not excuse the deficiencies listed for D or F papers.

 

The F theme: Failing

The F paper exhibits some of the following weaknesses:

1. Lacks content.

2. Lacks any sense of audience.

3. Consistently lacks clarity.

4. Lacks unified organization; shows absence of adequate introduction, transitions, and/or conclusion.

5. Lacks both a single subject and a controlling idea.

6. Has serious lapses in logic and reasoning.

7. Has frequent errors in Standard English (see list for D paper, item 8).

8. Does not meet the requirements of the assignment.

NOTE: Failure to fulfill the assignment's requirements will result in a grade of F.