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Essay Evaluation Rubric

In the multiple sections of ENG 200, the instructors try to use the same rubric (evaluation guidelines) for student writing. We have agreed that the best papers exhibit the following characteristics:

  • They follow the directions provided (including page length guidelines) as well as the guidelines for appropriate manuscript format.
  • They are insightful and original, providing a distinct purpose and thesis addressing the issue at hand—critical thinking is displayed through claims supported with reference to logical reasoning and specific evidence (i.e., properly cited details from the course materials, course  projects, or outside sources).
  • They are organized, thesis driven essays—demonstrating clear coherence and smooth progression of ideas through the effective use of topic sentences that highlight paragraph functions.
  • Whenever possible, they apply concepts studied in this class through discussions and readings.
  • They are free from multiple, careless spelling and grammar errors. Instead, they demonstrate  varied and effective sentence structure and the skillful use of language.
  • They are not plagiarized—instead, they use proper MLA or APA format at all times.

The Humanities Department recommends that essays be graded according to the following:

A: Outstanding

An outstanding essay is an original, thought-provoking response to the issue(s) raised in the assignment prompt. It presents a clear and appropriate purpose and thesis, and contains specific
examples from the course materials or projects whenever possible. It is also virtually free of grammatical and citation errors.

B: Above average

An above-average essay thoroughly addresses the issue(s) raised in the assignment prompt. It presents a clear and appropriate purpose and thesis, and contains specific examples from the course materials or projects whenever possible. It may contain some minor grammatical and citation errors.

C: Average

An average essay competently addresses the issue(s) raised in the assignment prompt.  It presents some identifiable purpose and thesis, and contains some examples from the course materials or projects whenever possible. Grammatical errors may be present, but they will not impede the reader from understanding the context of the sentences. Citation errors do not result in plagiarizing the work of others.

D: Below average

A below-average essay does not competently address the issue(s) raised in the prompt. It does not present a clear and appropriate purpose or thesis, and/or it contains few examples from the course materials or projects. Grammatical errors may be so rampant that they impede the reader from understanding the context of the sentences. Citation errors do not result in plagiarizing the work of others.

F:  Failure

A failing essay does not address the issue(s) raised in the prompt at the level expected for a college-level English course. It may be difficult (or impossible) to identify a clear and appropriate purpose or thesis. It may contain very few examples from the course materials or projects. Grammatical errors may be so rampant that they impede the reader from understanding the context of the sentences. Work may not be properly cited according to MLA/APA guidelines, possibly resulting in plagiarism.