OF ESSAYS AND OTHER WRITTEN WORK
and personal effort are stressed in all students written work. Plagiarism-the
unacknowledged use of research sources (books, articles, Internet*
etc.), commercial paper-writing services, other student papers,
etc.-may result in failing the assignment and, at the discretion
of the instructor, the entire course. All in-class essays, papers,
essay exams, and other student writing are evaluated taking into
account the following distinctions:
essays feature a well-defined and manageable thesis, highly specific
and relevant evidence, accurate, original, and insightful analysis.
Arguments and evidence are carefully arranged and organized around
central ideas lending support to the main thesis. All points are
clearly and sufficiently motivated, explained, supported, and developed.
The arguments and observations reveal not only close attention to
details but also awareness of and ability to exploit nuances of
form and signification. Whenever necessary, while probing the evidence
and assessing the implications of the analysis, the writer appropriately
qualifies the main and subsidiary theses. The "A" essay
is an example of thinking where analysis prevails over mere paraphrase.
This essay is very well written, elegant in style, and free of spelling,
grammatical, and syntactical errors.
"B" essay shows a very good understanding of the issues
raised and adequately relates them to the textual evidence. The
writer makes effective arguments and marshals appropriate and adequate
support in the form of properly discussed examples and illustrations.
The argument is of sufficient length, has a clear focus, and balances
the general with the specific, as well as analysis with paraphrase.
This type of essay shows a very good effort at organization, is
clearly written, and is free of major errors in spelling, grammar,
and syntax. The B essay differs from the A essay in its degree of
originality, specificity, engagement of evidence, quality of reasoning,
depth of vision, and overall balance in the handling of all aspects
of the arguments. The writer of the B essay may show a certain tendency
to ride on the strength of a particular point or observation at
the expense of a fuller, richer, and more in-depth development/support
of the ideas under consideration.
average essay shows an adequate awareness of the nature of the problem
or thesis under consideration. While showing some weakness in focusing
and controlling the argument, it makes no major errors in understanding
the texts involved and reveals a competent ability to relate general
issues to particular examples and illustrations. The writer may
overlook important aspects of the evidence, neglect to use pertinent
examples, or not go far enough in interpreting and analyzing the
text(s). The ideas chosen may exhibit a certain dependence on points
raised and developed in class or other outside sources. Overall,
this essay shows a need for development, clarification, and precision
in the handling of textual evidence; its structure and organization
may seem mechanical, loose, and somewhat random. This essay often
tends to privilege paraphrase over analysis and may contain a number
of errors in spelling, syntax, and grammar.
D or below-average essay does not clearly identify its thesis; relies
on unsubstantiated opinion; neglects to offer relevant evidence;
or is analytically superficial and poorly organized. In general,
such an essay often fails to meaningfully engage the text(s) in
its own thinking process; is too short; and may seriously misread/misinterpret
a text. The inadequacies of its language and reasoning substantially
compromise the integrity of its analysis and the expression of its
F grade is used in cases where an essay fails to address the substance
of the assignment and is illogical or incoherent; exhibits gross
incongruities between the thesis and the evidence used to support
it; seems incapable of distinguishing between the general and the
specific; shows no discernible pattern of organization; is very
poorly developed; or is marred by the frequent occurrence of major
errors in writing.