Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January, 2010

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to more clearly communicate to students your expectations for their writing, here’s a sample scoring guide that might help you get started.

The example below represents something close to a holistic scoring guide. It describes in broad, general terms the qualities that are expected to be present in a paper at each grade level, and assumes that a paper’s grade will be based on its overall merits, taking everything into consideration.

As you decide what to include in your own personal scoring guide, you might want to begin by making the distinction between a passing paper and a failing paper. What does a paper have to do/be/contain to earn the bare minimum passing grade? What qualities would cause a paper to earn a failing grade? Then decide what qualities you want students to strive for in doing the assignment, and make those the defining characteristics of the higher rankings in your scoring system.

As you decide what to include, remember that students will see your grading criteria as a direct reflection of your values for writing. In other words, if it’s in your scoring guide, students will assume it’s important. If it’s not, students will assume it doesn’t matter.

100-90 A
The A paper fulfills the assignment in a way that shows proficient understanding of both the content and the writing task. Development is appropriate in both breadth and depth. The main point is clearly articulated and is more than adequately supported by relevant, clearly-explained reasons and evidence. Outside sources, if any, are used effectively and with appropriate documentation. Sentences and paragraphs are well-developed and show the writer’s control of ideas, structure, and focus. The paper is stylistically and mechanically appropriate for most professional and academic contexts and contains few or no sentence-level flaws.

89-80 B
The B paper fulfills the assignment in a way that shows a competent understanding of both the content and the writing task. It is generally well developed. The main point is clear, and it is adequately supported by logically relevant, clearly explained reasons and evidence. Outside sources, if any, are used appropriately and documentation is correctly formatted. Sentences and paragraphs are well-developed and show the writer’s control of ideas, structure, and focus. The paper is stylistically and mechanically adequate for most professional and academic contexts. Sentence-level flaws, if present, are occasional rather than pervasive and are not noticeable enough to detract from the overall quality of the writer’s presentation

79-70 C
The C paper fulfills the requirements of the assignment in most ways, and shows an adequate understanding of the relevant content and the writing task. Development is sufficient to merit a passing grade, although it may not always reflect the depth or breadth the assignment seeks. The main point is evident, and it is adequately supported by appropriate reasons and evidence. Outside sources, if any, are used in an acceptable way and documented accurately. Sentences and paragraphs generally show the writer’s ability to control ideas, structure, and focus, although that control may sometimes slip. The paper is stylistically and mechanically acceptable for submission in a college-level course. Sentence-level flaws, if present, never interfere with the writer’s ability to communicate and are not significant or distracting enough to prevent the document from accomplishing its intended purpose in an acceptable way.

69-60 D
The D paper attempts the assignment but fails to meet its objectives in one or more of the following ways. It may show inadequate understanding of the content or the writing task, and/or it may show insufficient development. The main point may be unclear, confusing, or self-contradictory. Reasons and evidence may not adequately support the main point, or they may be logically flawed or inadequately explained. Outside sources may be ineffectively or documented in an unacceptable way. Sentences and paragraphs may be inadequately developed and/or may frequently fail to control ideas, structure, or focus. Sentence-level flaws may be pervasive and may sometimes interfere with the writer’s ability to communicate.

59 and below F
The F paper does something other than the assigned task or shows insufficient understanding of the material and/or the writing task. The main point may be missing or outside the parameters of the assignment. Reasons and evidence may be exceptionally weak, irrelevant, or incoherent. Material from outside sources may be used inappropriately or without documentation. Sentences and paragraphs may be undeveloped and/or may show little effort to control ideas, structure, or focus. The presence of many, pervasive errors or egregious stylistic improprieties may make the document unacceptable for submission in a college-level course.

Read Full Post »