The following criteria will be used to evaluate your paper. The purpose here is to give students a guide regarding their evaluation. Students should not focus on one criteria to the exclusion of the others. Good papers will show satisfactory levels in all five areas of evaluation. Neglect none of them.
1. Clear statement of argument or hypothesis (25%): The foundation of any paper is its argument. This argument is expressed in a thesis statement. While this rubric considers the argument worth 25 percent of your grade, in reality, the entire paper depends on strong thesis statement—your scores in the other areas will suffer if you lack this basic component. The thesis statement in a shorter essay should almost never be more than one sentence. For our purposes, the statement should usually come in the introduction to your paper. The purpose of the introduction is to set up the argument, provide context for it. However, it is possible that you will only be able to articulate your argument after you have done a considerable amount of work on the rest of the paper.
2. Organization (25%): Use of paragraphs is critical to writing well. Each paragraph should express one idea. All the paragraphs of a paper should be arranged in a logical fashion. The relevance of the paragraph and every word it contains to the argument should be evident to any careful reader.
3. Content (25%): Your paper must reflect engagement with course material, including reading assignments and class discussion. The use of quotations, for instance, is required for many assignments. The ideas you express, thorough coverage of your topic, and knowledge of the subject are all important elements of content.
4. Mechanics (15%): While we cannot all write masterful prose, there is no excuse for sloppiness and poor editing. Readers are unlikely to take anything you say seriously if your paper contains spelling and grammatical errors. Use punctuation properly—the basic rules are simple and there is no reason for not knowing them.
5. Style (10%): Good papers are not always the most fun to read, but one should endeavor to write as well as possible. The main objective here should be clarity.