The English Department
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For the most part, the A paper

• is excellent in nearly all respects.
• shows originality of thought that goes well beyond material presented in class.
• addresses the assignment with a clear purpose and engages the audience effectively.
• exceeds all basic requirements of the assignment.
• has a clear, arguable, creative, and well located thesis
• is efficaciously organized and flows smoothly throughout.
• evidences very strong MLA style which contains only a few scattered errors.
• is fully developed with resoundingly authoritative support that is concrete, reliable, appropriate, sufficient, and convincing.
• is marked by stylistic finesse that has few, if any, mechanical, grammatical, spelling, or diction errors.
• employs logos, ethos, and pathos which work efficaciously towards achieving the purpose and for the audience of the paper.


For the most part, the B paper

bis excellent in several respects.
• goes significantly beyond material presented in class.
• addresses the assignment with a clear purpose and engages the audience effectively.
• meets all basic requirements of the assignment. 
• has an explicit, clear, arguable thesis.
• evidences only minor lapses in organization and development.
• evidences proper MLA style which nevertheless contains scattered errors.
• is developed with authoritative support that is for the greater part concrete, reliable, appropriate, sufficient, and convincing.
• is marked by stylistic competence that has minor mechanical, grammatical, spelling, or diction errors.
• employs logos, ethos, and pathos which for the most part work effectively towards achieving the purpose and for the audience of the paper.


For the most part, the C paper

may be excellent in one or two respects and overall is competent.
• may respond to the assignment by restating in class material in large part.
• shows lack of clarity in audience and/or purpose
• meets requirements of assignment. 
• has an identifiable and explicit thesis which may nevertheless be poorly located or unoriginal. 
• evidences some errors in unity.
• contains some lapses in organization.
• shows weakness in transitions and paragraph structure.
• makes a solid attempt to use MLA style which nevertheless contains errors.
• has some unreliable, irrelevant, and/or insufficient supporting evidence
• contains mechanical, grammatical, spelling, or diction errors that adversely affect meaning in spots.
• employs logos, ethos, and pathos which do not seriously impede the purpose nor alienate the audience of the paper.


For the most part, the D paper

is not competent in handling its topic.
• may not respond to assignment adequately or may be so derivative of in class material as to be entirely unoriginal.
• has an illogical or unmet purpose and/or an undefined or inappropriate audience.
• does not fulfill most of the stated requirements. 
• presents a dubious (and possibly implicit) thesis that is too vague, too factual, and/or too obvious to be developed effectively.
• evidences paragraph-level unity errors
• evidences large-scale coherence errors.
• evidences poor MLA style which contains numerous errors.
• has insufficient, biased, irrelevant, fallacious, or irrelevant supporting evidence
• demonstrates problems with spelling, punctuation, diction, or syntax which impede expression of content
• employs logos, ethos, and pathos which impede the purpose and alienate the audience of the paper.


For the most part, the F paper

• is plagiarized wholly or in large part.
• does not respond to the assignment or addresses the topic so briefly as not to respond to the assignment in any meaningful way.
• shows no attention to audience and purpose.
• is difficult to understand in content and form.
• does not fulfill the stated requirements.
• has no implicit or explicit thesis or contains multiple topics or theses.
• includes irrelevant details which shift the focus of the paper inappropriately.
• displays seriously flawed or no organization.
• shows little or no attention to MLA style.
• lacks support entirely or uses support which is illogical, unclear, unreliable, inaccurate, or irrelevant.
• contains major and repeated errors in diction, syntax, grammar, punctuation, or spelling which impede the expression of content.
• seems so unaware of logos, ethos, and pathos that the argument is a jumble of appeals.


Glossary:

audience:  the individual or group to which a paper is directed. 
coherence: the order of the content within a piece of writing.
ethos: argumentative appeals to values and credibility.
logos: argumentative appeals to logic and reason.
MLA style: the current Modern Language Association style.
organization:  see "coherence," above.
pathos: argumentative appeals to character and emotion.
purpose: the aim(s) or goal(s) of a piece of writing.
support: facts and expert opinions used as evidence to substantiate claims.
support, relevant: evidence which clearly relates to the claim.
support, reliable: evidence drawn from authoritative sources.
support, sufficient: evidence that is ample to establish the validity or reasonableness of a claim.
thesis: the controlling idea of an essay.  A thesis names the topic(s) of the essay, makes an arguable assertions about the topic(s), and predicts the structure and/or content of the essay.
unity: the content of a piece of writing.



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Last Update  April 10, 2005