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Grading Standards

Grading Standards

Below is one history professor’s explanation of grading standards. These standards will provide you with a good sense of an instructor's expectations when grading your papers.

Generally, your professors are grading on:

  • Presentation of a Central Idea (Thesis)
  • Coherence of Presentation
  • Integration of Concepts
  • Paper organization
  • Ability to use Resources

A to B: Above Average

To receive an A or a B, an essay must be focused around (or attentive to) a central argument that demonstrates logic, thought, and originality.

  • This argument should be based upon the writer’s own analysis of the primary historical sources found in the course reader.
  • The argument is developed in a clear and logical manner; it is supported with specific, relevant, and accurate historical evidence.
  • An A-B essay integrates information from the textbook, the video lectures, and the course reader.
  • The essay is clear and easy to read: it contains few (if any) grammatical or typographical errors.
  • In sum, the essay demonstrates excellent analytical skills and the writer’s ability to present and relate historical information in a meaningful manner.

C: (Average)

  • A “C” essay contains a thoughtful central argument, but this argument is inconsistently supported. For example, the argument is supported with insufficient or inaccurate historical evidence, or with unclear or illogical organization.
  • The essay overly relies on information from the textbook, rather than on the writer’s own analysis of the primary sources in the course reader.
  • The essay’s message is weakened by occasional lapses in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • In sum, the essay meets the basic requirements of the assignment, but the level of analysis and originality is not as high as in the A-B essay.

D - F: (Below Average)

  • A “D-F” essay lacks a focused argument, or the argument demonstrates little original thought and analysis.
  • Development and support of the argument is weak, lacking concrete or relevant historical evidence.
  • The essay does not critically engage the primary sources in the course reader. It ignores some or all of the assignment guidelines.
  • Its message is obscured by typographical and grammatical errors.
  • In sum, the essay does not meet college-level standards of historical analysis.