How to Grade Student Writing
by Karen Carlisi
There's no one
"right" way to grade student writing. The bottom
line, however, is to set the criteria and the process for
grading at the beginning of the course. An effective teaching
device can be to get students to think about grading criteria.
This can be done midway through the course. At this
point you can renegotiate criteria that you have already
set for yourself at the beginning. Be sure to use
appropriate grading as fits the activity or assignment.
See the section below on handling workload for more ideas
on this topic.
Rubrics For Grading Longer Papers
These are basic
guidelines for grading longer papers. Grading criteria
will vary based on the kind of assignment given and the
purpose of the assignment.
The writer demonstrates excellent thought, organization,
and style. In an A paper, the writer uses
a thoughtful organizational strategy, with clearly developed
paragraphs arising from a clear thesis. The ideas themselves
should be engaging and show illuminating insights into
the work being studied. The writer supports claims with
textual evidence (not necessarily quotations). The few
errors in style, diction, or mechanics do not distract
the reader or inhibit comprehensibility.
A B paper is still quite good, but it is
weaker than an A paper in some areas. The writer has good
ideas that are not quite as completely developed as those
of an A paper. Or the ideas may be somewhat limited
by some problems of organization and style. Or it may
be well-organized and well-written but the writer offers
fewer or less valuable insights than an A paper.
This is the grade you will generally give to a paper you
would call "clearly acceptable, but not exceptional."
In a C paper, the writer shows a competent
understanding of the assigned topic, but the insights
usually do not go beyond the obvious points that most
papers make. A C can also be assigned to an inconsistent
paper that shows some excellent insights but in which
the writer fails to develop ideas into a unified whole.
A D paper has some strengths which are outweighed
by the weaknesses. The writer has either occasionally
good ideas inhibited by unclear writing or clear writing
expressing undeveloped ideas that demonstrate a lack of
engagement with the work being studied.
An F paper is weak either because it is
poorly written throughout or because its ideas show no
insight into the work being studied, or because it is
a completely unacceptable paper obviously written in haste
without thought or effort.
for Feedback on Student Writing
There are a variety
of ways to give feedback on student writing aside from the
traditional grading of essays. Here are some methods
make written responses to student drafts.
schedule one-on-one conferences during class while students
are working on an assignment that involves writing.
work in “peer-groups” in which students give structured
feedback on each other’s drafts. Then, the instructor
reviews the drafts.
reads student journals during in-class paired or group
activity and addresses common issues during lecture and