What Your Teachers are really looking for: A Grading Criteria for in-class essays

The following holistic grading criteria turned up in my faculty mailbox today and I thought readers of this blog, faculty and students alike, might get something out of it so I took the time to post it with a few minor adaptations. It’s a decent enough rubric full of reminders about “what teachers are really looking for,” especially in a community college setting, and particularly for students in a fundamentals of English (pre-transfer level) class.

An “A” paper will:
* respond completely and directly to the assignment
* include a clear thesis to which body paragraphs are clearly connected
* be well organized (intro, unified body paragraphs, conclusions)
* contain clear sentences with some varied syntax
* very few mechanical error which do not overly detract from essay

A “B” paper will:
* respond to the assignment
* have a thesis to which body paragraphs connect
* be organized
* contain clear sentences
* some mechanical errors that do not distract from content

A “C” paper will:
* generally respond to the assignment
* have a thesis somewhere to which body paragraphs may relate or digress
* be mostly organized, possibly short intro, short or missing conclusion
* examples and details may be poorly developed and executed
* sentences may be clear but overly simple or awkwardly constructed
* mechanical errors may slightly distract from meaning

A “D” paper will:
* miss or misinterpret part of the assignment
* have a weak thesis and mostly unrelated body paragraphs
* use few details and examples
* mechanical errors obscure meaning

An “F” paper will:
* not respond to the assignment
* have no thesis
* no detectable organization
* be undeveloped
* contain numerous and random errors which make the essay unreadable