A - Attributes
- Explores and illuminates the assignment as thoroughly as possible.
- Razor-sharp, incisive thesis piques the reader’s interest.
- Writer shows clear command of the assignment, thesis, texts, and arguments.
- Writer engages the thesis throughout the essay and provides more than adequate support for the argument at hand.
- Writer engages thoughtfully and sophisticatedly with secondary material used.
- Introduction comes quickly and elegantly to the point, establishing the necessary context for the thesis.
- Conclusion adds further significance and relevance to the thesis and the essay’s major points.
- Writer assumes that the reader understands the material well, and treats the reader with the utmost respect.
- Writer illuminates both the reader and the readings, making the reading both enjoyable and revelatory.
- The essay is written in comfortable, clear, and precise diction.
- Minor stylistic revision, at most, necessary.
B - Attributes
- Writer has managed the assignment well with a narrow, argumentative thesis that considered the assignment’s length and limitations.
- Writer has chosen interesting and appropriate passages or ideas to support the thesis.
- The thesis is referred to occasionally in the body of the essay.
- Introduction does not wander, and the conclusion does more than restate the thesis and main arguments.
- The writer handles most of the material well, but may misstep occasionally with the argument’s development or understanding of the texts.
- The writer engages with secondary material at a basic level.
- The writer is engaged with the assignment and the material.
- The writer assumes the reader knows the material.
- The writer has edited the essay well.
- Essay requires moderate global revision, often a more specific thesis and arguments.
- Revise to connect the arguments with better insights, more thoughtful analysis, and meaningful transitions.
- Revise the introduction and/or conclusion to highlight the essay’s relevance.
- Revise the essay for your own and your readers’ enjoyment.
C - Attributes
- Broad thesis barely manages to corral an assignment of this length.
- Support sometimes escapes the boundaries created by the thesis.
- Writer sometimes mistakes summary or paraphrasing of the material for analysis or insight.
- Writer summarizes secondary material and/or leans upon secondary material as incontrovertible authority without integrating it into his/her argument.
- Writer’s own ideas and insights are not easily apparent in the essay.
- The introduction does not provide full support for the thesis.
- The conclusion merely summarizes the essay’s main arguments.
- Inadequate preparation, mechanics, and style sometimes force the reader to review portions of the essay.
- Writer has treated the essay as just another deadline.
- The writer -- relying on summary, paraphrasing, and other less engaging forms of argumentative support -- has treated the reader with fairly low regard.
- The writer may have edited the paper, but has overlooked problems.
- Essay requires substantial global revision.
- Revise for a more specific and argumentative thesis.
- Revise for a clearer argumentative outline.
- Choose material (support, texts, ideas) appropriate to the new thesis and arguments: use texts to substantiate your own ideas and insights, rather than bowing to the obvious arguments.
- Revise to connect the essay’s whole argument with unusual insights, thoughtful analysis, and meaningful transitions between ideas and paragraphs.
- Revise introduction to lead naturally into the thesis.
- Revise conclusion to provide a new idea or piece of evidence.
D - Attributes
- Essay minimally addresses the assignment.
- Body of essay and thesis do not align.
- The writer has largely substituted quotations, paraphrasing, summary, and obvious factual statements for argumentation, analysis, and insight.
- The writer has lost control of the essay.
- Inadequate preparation, style, and/or mechanics force the reader to re-read many portions of the essay.
- The writer may have edited, but has overlooked basic problems.
- Conference recommended with the instructor.
- Global revision, perhaps an entirely new start, is required.
- Begin with a different idea, thesis, and plan.
- Choose material (quotations, research, ideas) for your specific argument, for a narrower scope.
- Revise to better integrate the material with the argument.
- Revise to integrate the thesis, its arguments, the supporting material, and the conclusion.
- Revise to show respect for the reader, moving the essay along and pursuing more analysis and insights.
- Integrate a new idea or evidence into the conclusion.
- Revise and edit toward a well-read, intelligent, and demanding reader.
F - Attributes
- Essay evades the assignment entirely or attempts the assignment dishonestly.
- Inadequate preparation, style, or faulty mechanics prevent the reader from following the essay’s argument, if any argument exists.
- A conference is required with the instructor.
With thanks to Dr. Douglas Sugano, Whitworth University