5 Has cogent analysis, shows command of interpretive and conceptual tasks required by assignment and course materials: ideas original, often insightful going beyond ideas discussed in lecture and class.
4 Shows a good understanding of the texts, ideas, and methods of the assignment beyond the obvious; may have one minor factual or conceptual inconsistency.
3 Shows an understanding of the basic ideas and information involved in the assignment; may have some factual, interpretive, or conceptual errors.
2 Shows inadequate command of course materials or has significant factual and conceptual errors; does not respond directly to the demands of the assignment; confuses some significant facts.
1 Writer has not understood lectures, readings, discussions, or assignment.
5 Essay controlled by clear, precise, well-defined thesis: is sophisticated in both statement and insight.
4 Clear specific argumentative thesis central to essay; may have minor terms undefined.
3 General central thesis or controlling idea; may not define several central terms.
2 Thesis vague or not central to argument, central terms not defined.
1 Essay has no discernible thesis.
Development and Support
5 Well-chosen examples, persuasive reasoning used consistently to develop and support thesis: uses quotations and citations effectively; causal connections between ideas are evident
4 Pursues thesis consistently: develops a main argument with clear major points and appropriate textual evidence and supporting detail; makes effort to organize paragraphs topically.
3 Only partially develops the argument; shallow analysis; some ideas and generalizations undeveloped or unsupported; makes limited use of textual evidence.
2 Frequently only narrates; digresses from one topic to another without developing ideas or terms; makes insufficient or awkward use of textual evidence.
1 Little or no development; may list facts or misinformation; uses no quotations or fails to cite sources or plagiarizes material.
5 Appropriate, clear and smooth transitions; arrangement of paragraphs seems particularly apt.
4 Distinct units of thought in paragraph units, clear transitions between developed, coherently arranged paragraphs.
3 Some awkward transitions; some brief, weakly unified or undeveloped paragraphs; arrangement may not appear entirely natural.
2 Simplistic, tends to narrate or merely summarize; wanders from one topic to another; illogical arrangement of ideas.
1 No transitions; incoherent paragraphing; suggests poor planning or no serious revision.
5 Uses sophisticated sentences effectively; usually chooses words aptly; observes conventions of written English and manuscript format; makes few minor or technical errors.
4 Some mechanical difficulties or stylistic problems; may make occasional problematic word choices or awkward syntax errors; a few spelling or punctuation errors or a cliché; usually presents quotations effectively.
3 More frequent wordiness; several unclear or awkward sentences; imprecise use of words or over-reliance on passive voice; one or two major grammatical errors (subject-verb agreement, comma splice, etc.); effort to present quotations accurately.
2 Some major grammatical or proofreading errors that interfere (subject-verb agreement, fragments); language marred by cliches, colloquialisms, repeated inexact word choices; inappropriate quotation or citations format; inattention to previous corrections.
1 Numerous grammatical errors and stylistic
problems seriously distract from argument.