The numeric grading scale for this course is the one you have known all your life. This scale applies to any written work being evaluated. I ask that you pay careful attention to the detailed criteria for what is an “A” paper and so on.


A (90-100) = SUPERIOR (correct, insightful, creative, coherent)


  1. Clearly and effectively states a significant and original thesis.
  2. Fully develops each component of the thesis with solid supporting evidence. Shows insightful interpretation of supporting data. Shows awareness of the stances of others. Includes exceptionally useful sources. Documents sources correctly.
  3. Follows an appropriate method of organization and progresses logically and purposefully.
  4. Displays unity and coherence.
  5. Is expressed clearly, precisely, and concisely.
  6. Employs a useful variety of sentence structures, matched to rhetorical strategies.
  7. Employs active verbs and active voice (generally), and disdains wordiness or verbal crutches.
  8. Reflects consistently correct grammar, punctuation, and mechanics, and proper style of documentation according to standard English usage.
  9. Shows superior originality of thought and perception. The paper says something new or interesting about its subject or finds an unusual way of examining old evidence. The writer seems to have understood things in the readings that his or her classmates may have missed.


B (80-89) = GOOD (correct and authoritative, but conventional or somewhat limited in originality of fresh perspective)


  1. Correctly states a thesis (not especially significant or insightful).
  2. Fully develops each component of the thesis with solid supporting evidence, and competently included appropriate sources, perhaps not exceptional ones. Documents sources correctly.
  3. Displays points #3-8 from the A work.
  4. Lacks complete originality of concept or superior depth of thought, but is nevertheless authoritative and thoughtful.


C (70-79) = AVERAGE (Adequate, but flawed by errors, irrelevance, or limited scope)


  1. States a central idea (but may not be structured effectively as a strong thesis statement).
  2. Shows some awareness of effective organization.
  3. Offers adequate supporting details for the central idea, but may fail to develop each component fully. Shows correct interpretation of supporting data. Documents sources carefully.
  4. May contain grammatical and mechanical errors, but is free of habitual deviations from standard English usage.
  5. Focuses upon a conspicuous or obvious—but CORRECT –central point.
  6. May lack mastery of sentence form and power, but will be free of virulent sentence structure errors.


D (60-69) = BELOW AVERAGE (Errors overshadow good qualities. Such overshadowing errors may include, but are not limited to the following:


  1. Fails to state or stick to the central idea.
  2. Drifts significantly from a logical pattern of organization.
  3. Neglects adequate development of two or more major points. Neglects the use of appropriate sources of support.
  4. Contains distracting grammatical, mechanical, or sentence structure errors.
  5. Contains numerous trite or wordy expressions.
  6. Focuses upon a flawed concept, showing serious error in the comprehension of the subject of the discussion or serious errors in the use or interpretation of supporting data.






  1. Serious errors in any area.
  2. Fails to follow instructions.
  3. Topic or contents are completely inadequate.
  4. Shows academic dishonesty (including plagiarism or failure to cite sources).