I assess and give feedback on writing via the following four dimensions.
- Engagement with the assignment's scope and class material might be (a) impressive, (b) appropriate, (c) lacking, (d) inappropriate, (f) or nonexistent.
- Did you make a checklist and follow directions?
- Did you make use of course material, rather than spending too much time describing the topic?
- Did you write down all the possible course concepts and *then* engage your topic, as I recommend in Choosing a Topic?
- To avoid complaints of "too abstract," did you paraphrase or excerpt the definition of a concept, even if you don't use it in the final prose, so it is clear in your mind?
- Understanding of readings, discussions, themes and ideas might be (a) impressive, (b) thorough and solid, (c) somewhat fragmented, (d) unsatisfactory, or (f) nonexistent.
- Did you show close readings of class discussions and texts (e.g., quotations and paraphrases)? (see Writing Responses.)
- Did you explain what course concepts mean, as I recommend in Writing Class Essays, rather than using them in passing?
- Did you ask questions or make arguments at a high level: did you apply, analyze, or synthesize existing concepts—or even generate new ones (e.g., frameworks, taxonomies, theories)?
- Writing might be (a) polished, (b) clear and competent, (c) choppy and difficult to follow, (d) fractured and unclear, or (f) unacceptable.
- Did you make sure you have a strong introduction/framing and conclusion paragraph?
- Did you follow and check spelling, grammar, and compositional rules? (Consult your writing and style manual and my writing feedback handout.)
- And scholarly support indicates that references and bibliography are appropriate to some standard guide (e.g., APA, APA, Chicago).
- Do your citations and bibliography conform to the style? (See Bibliography)
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.
A = Excellent