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Criteria for Grading Essays


by Stephen Orvis, Govt. 218
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Argument and Evidence

Research and History

Prose

A
Theoretical thesis is clearly presented; obvious alternative theses raised and argued against; modifications to original theory, if any, clear and logically coherent; detailed evidence tied clearly and explicitly to thesis
Reader gains clear overview of history of the era; all significant historical events taken into account; minor ones may be present as well, but recognized as of lesser importance; research based on critical examination of numerous academic (and perhaps other) sources; full, accurate and consistent citation of sources
In the best essays, a clear and intelligent voice peaks the reader's interest in the subject and the essay is a pleasure to read; grammatically error-free; elegant prose, clearly organized paragraph to paragraph
B
Theoretical thesis is clearly presented; evidence tied to thesis; clear evidence, if not extremely detailed
Reader gains basic overview of history of the era; most significant historical events taken into account; research based on several academic (and perhaps other) sources; full, accurate and consistent citation of sources
The essay has few grammatical errors; it is clear, well organized and understandable, if not particularly interesting or exciting; some sentences may be poorly constructed or unclear
C
Theoretical thesis vague at best; evidence only partially tied to thesis; evidence is at very broad and general level
Reader gains general understanding of history of the era; some significant historical events missing or minor ones given greater importance than they merit; research based on a handful of sources, disproportionately non- academic; partial and not fully consistent citation
The essay has numerous grammatical errors; much of the prose is vague or unclear; many sentences are poorly constructed; paragraphs are poorly organized, as is the logical flow from one paragraph to the next
D
No thesis; purely descriptive, based on very general and vague evidence
Reader cannot fully understand history of the era; many significant historical events missing; one or two, perhaps inappropriate, sources; little citation of sources
The essay has many grammatical errors; it is difficult to understand; organization is extremely unclear
F
No thesis and incoherent presentation of relatively little evidence
Reader gains little understanding of history of the era; based almost exclusively on single source; little or no citation
The essay has many grammatical errors; it is nearly impossible to understand; organization doesn't seem to exist

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