Reverse detail from Kakelbont MS 1, a fifteenth-century French Psalter. This image is in the public domain. Daniel Paul O'Donnell

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Grading Rubric for Essays

Posted: Nov 19, 2006 00:11;
Last Modified: Jan 03, 2015 17:01

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Note: This is an archived policy.

Expectations for University level work can vary from discipline to discipline and instructor to instructor. At the same time, however, there are some cross-discipline standards. You can take it as a given that poorly executed, sloppy, or careless work will get you a poor grade in both sculpture and computer science. Likewise, it is hard to think of a discipline where highly original, well-thought-out, and carefully executed work would not be rewarded with a high grade.

The following list explains the criteria I use in grading essays and presentations in my classes. Although its primary focus is the literary essay, I have seen similar criteria in other disciplines and at other Universities. With appropriate adaptation to reflect the nature of the discipline, you should find that it is applicable to your work in most courses1.

Few papers will match all or exclusively the criteria listed under each grade (a highly original, well argued, well written, well documented paper might have an unacceptable number of typos, for example). The weighting of the criteria is also not absolutely rigid: I tend to reward originality or mastery of subject more heavily than I penalise its absence. In one area, however, I am rigid: serious or frequent errors of fact, inadequate or non-existent documentation, and misrepresentations of your own or others research will result in a poor grade. In such cases, you can expect to be assigned specific penalties, starting at least 1/3 of a letter grade and ranging up to an F in course.


Rubric


Notes

1 Most of this material has been developed through personal observation. I also have benefited greatly from the work of Robert Runté of the Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge.

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