Division Grading Standards for Papers and In-class Essays
Note: To receive a grade of A, B, or C, the paper must meet all requirements of the assignment. All research material of a paper must be correctly documented, and formatting must adhere to instructor requirements and current standards of the Modern Language Association or the style guide prescribed by instructor.
The A paper (90-100) represents original, outstanding work. It shows consistently careful thought, fresh insights, sophisticated analysis, and stylistic maturity.
- The reader moves through the A paper effortlessly because of its effective transitions, strong organization, and thorough, purposeful development.
- The thesis of an A paper is a complete, well-formulated sentence appearing early in the paper. It clearly states the controlling idea of the paper and projects the organization of supporting ideas to follow.
- An A paper is not marred by distracting mechanical errors such as sentence fragments, run-on sentences, subject-verb agreement problems, and incorrect or missing punctuation. It has been meticulously proofread.
- Directly quoted passages are gracefully integrated into the text with appropriate attribution.
- Word choice is marked by precision and a varied, advanced vocabulary. It is free of jargon, clichés, and other empty language.
The B paper (80-89) represents clearly good, above average college level work. It demonstrates insight, analysis, and a varied vocabulary.
- Its specific points are logically ordered, with appropriate transitions; ideas are well developed and supported with evidence.
- The thesis of a B paper is a complete sentence appearing early in the paper which states the essay’s controlling idea.
- It is mostly free of distracting mechanical errors such as subject-verb agreement problems, inadequate proofreading, or incorrect or missing punctuation. Serious syntactical errors, such as fragments and run-ons, do not appear in the B paper.
- Directly quoted passages are smoothly integrated into the text with appropriate attribution.
- In summary, the language of the B paper is clear, correct, and often thoughtful, but it lacks the candor and precision of the most memorable writing.
The C paper (70-79) represents average college-level work. It is a competent expression of ordinary thoughts in ordinary language and exhibits a writing style that is basically correct.
- A C paper has an organizational pattern with body paragraphs containing information that is relevant to the assignment. However, it often lacks varied transitions, clear topic sentences, and other information needed to guide the reader.
- Its thesis is present, but usually lacks specificity in language and focus. It may be insubstantial or vague, or simply too broad or general.
- Analysis is superficial or inconsistently provided.
- A paper earning a C has relatively few syntactic, usage, and mechanical errors such as fragments, run-on sentences, subject-verb agreement problems, and/or incorrect or missing punctuation, demonstrating inadequate proofreading;
- Directly quoted passages are integrated into the text with attribution.
- In summary, the language of the C paper is characterized by generalities rather than precise, illustrative details.
The D paper (60-69) represents below average college work. It often demonstrates one or more of the following characteristics:
- It has only skeletal development and organization;
- The thesis is often unclear and/or non-existent;
- It has frequent mechanical errors which are distracting and interfere with the readability of the document, including fragments, run-on sentences, subject-verb agreement problems, incorrect or missing punctuation, demonstrating a failure to proofread;
- Sentence structure is awkward, non-standard, and ambiguous.
Note: A paper exhibiting major weaknesses in any specific area—content, development, organization, grammar and mechanics, documentation conventions, writing style—or, indeed, a failure to address the assignment is usually considered, at best, a D paper.
The F paper (59 and below) is characterized by writing that falls below minimal standards for college-level literacy. It often demonstrates one or more of the following characteristics:
- little or no organization;
- an unclear or missing thesis;
- lack of thought and purpose;
- numerous and pervasive mechanical errors which are distracting and interfere with the readability of the document, including fragments, run-on sentences, subject-verb agreement, incorrect or missing punctuation, demonstrating a failure to proofread;
- a garbled or immature style.
Note: Sometimes inadequacy in one area is enough to fail a paper—the writer, for instance, may not have control of punctuation, producing fragments or comma splices in almost every paragraph. However, serious weaknesses usually occur in several areas of concern.
The No-Credit Paper (0) demonstrates one or more of the following serious errors:
- plagiarized content in any form, including the failure to acknowledge the source of any borrowed material (summarized, paraphrased, and directly quoted) and unmarked exact wording (directly quoted from either a primary or a secondary source), whether a specific well-chosen word, a phrase (two or more words), a clause, or full sentence(s);
- failure to address the assigned topic;
- failure to meet the requirements of the assignment;
- failure to follow directions.