I assess grades as commensurate with my evaluation rubric and the performance of current and past students. The challenge is to then communicate clearly how students might improve their performance if they wish to do so. I do provide comments throughout the assignment, but the final assessment will be according to the following variables.
In assessing work I consider four variables from the writing rubric to be of greatest importance: engagement, understanding, writing, and scholarly support.
- Engagement with the assignment's scope and class material might be (a) impressive, (b) appropriate, (c) lacking, (d) inappropriate, (f) or nonexistent.
- Understanding "of readings, discussions, themes and ideas" might be (a) "impressive", (b) "thorough and solid," (c) "somewhat fragmented", (d) "unsatisfactory," or (f) nonexistent.
- Writing might be (a) "polished," (b) "clear and competent," (c) "choppy and difficult to follow," (d) "choppy, fractured and unclear", or (f) unacceptable.
- And scholarly support indicates that references and bibliography are appropriate to some standard guide (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago).
The final grade is holistic and is informed by but not formally computed from the variables above; rather they are provided so you might most easily identify and improve upon earlier performance.
To see an examples of a good v. better writing, you can also see Writing Responses .