Your papers will be graded on content (including the strength of your thesis, the persuasiveness of your argumentation, the insightfulness of your close readings, and your familiarity with and knowledge of the text[s] in question), organization (logical progression, topic sentences, transitions, etc.), and style (smooth and energetic writing, effective integration of quotations, grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.).

When you receive your graded paper back, please read it over carefully!

Take time to review all of my comments and corrections in the text itself, which primarily focus on technical aspects of your writing. Do you understand why I’ve crossed out a particular word or cluster of words, replaced one word with another, or corrected your grammar or punctuation? Is it clear why I’ve written "vague," "wordy," or "AWK" ("awkward") in the margins? Do you have a sense of how to fix these problems? If you don’t understand any of my corrections or marginal comments, please email me!

In addition to these suggestions in the body of the paper, you will receive a longer comment at the end. This comment will point out the strengths and weaknesses of your current paper and offer advice for your future writing.

As you work on any subsequent assignments for our course or your other English courses, you should always refer to the feedback you received on previous papers In order to improve as a writer!

Grading, as we are all aware, is an inexact science. If you feel you have been assigned a grade that doesn't correspond to the quality of your work, I will be happy to reread your paper and reconsider your grade. Be aware, however, that the second grade will be final. Please review your paper and my comments carefully before requesting a reassessment.

In an effort to demystify the grading process, I have listed below the characteristics associated with each paper grade.

If you fail to proofread, I will return your paper to you and ask you to resubmit. Your paper will be considered late and will be marked down by 3% for each day until you resubmit.

[Please note: The numerical ranges corresponding to the letter grades below are in keeping with the standard Ontario marking scheme.]

A (80-100)

  • insightful thesis that demonstrates thorough understanding of text(s)
  • persuasive and graceful argumentation: strong topic sentences and effective transitions
  • careful, detailed close reading of key textual passages to support argument
  • concise, even elegant writing unmarred by proofreading errors, grammatical problems, spelling mistakes, or typos

B (70-79)

  • convincing thesis that demonstrates basic understanding of text(s)
  • coherent presentation of argument
  • citation and discussion of relevant textual passages to support argument
  • some difficulties with technical aspects of writing, but readable nevertheless

C (60-69)

  • absence of clear argument and/or lack of comprehension
  • difficulty in developing, supporting, or illustrating stated thesis in body of paper; topic sentences that are statements of facts; absence of transitions
  • summary rather than interpretation of text
  • insufficient quotation of text(s) and/or failure to perform close readings of quoted passages
  • difficulties with fundamentals of writing: basic punctuation, spelling, sentence structure

D (50-59)

  • usually applies to egregious examples of the grade just described
  • failure to complete assignment fully (i.e., inadequate paper length, failure to address assigned topic, etc.)

F (0-49)

  • usually reserved for uncompleted assignments
  • may also apply to particularly egregious examples of the last two grades described above