Loading...

Introduction to the Grading Standards

All English courses at IVCC are taught from a course outline that lists the learning outcomes, specific competencies, and expectations for the course. The outlines for the composition courses can be found below.

 

Links to Course Outlines
ENG 0900-- Basic Composition II Course Outline
ENG 1001-- English Composition 1 Course Outline
ENG 1002-- English Composition 2 Course Outline

To evaluate written work in these courses, the English department has adopted a set of uniform grading standards. These standards designate that essays in composition classes should demonstrate at least a basic level of competence in college-level writing and be an appropriate foundation for writing in academic and professional environments.

 

Grading Criteria for Writing Assignments (link to pdf)

These criteria define the categories essential to the success of an essay. Essays are evaluated based on these elements, each of which must fulfill a specific function to support the overall effectiveness of the essay.  Depending on the assignment, certain criteria may be weighted more than others, and the instructor's assignment may establish additional, more specific criteria.

Thesis. The thesis is the central idea of the essay that is appropriate for the assignment, gives the essay a controlling sense of purpose, and establishes a sustained and consistent focus. The thesis statement concisely expresses the main idea and previews the supporting ideas.

Audience. The content and style are tailored for the intended audience.

Organization.

Essay. An essay demonstrates a logical progression of ideas, provides clear and smooth transitions among ideas, and uses structure appropriate to an academic essay.

Body Paragraph Structure. A body paragraph includes a main idea expressed in a topic sentence strongly tied to the stated thesis, unified supporting details, and clear connections among ideas.

Introduction and Conclusion. An introduction captures the reader’s attention, transitions to the topic by giving context or background information, and presents the thesis statement. A conclusion reemphasizes the essay’s thesis and main ideas and provides a sense of closure.

Support.

Development of Ideas. A well-developed essay supports the thesis with ample evidence; uses a variety of specific examples, quotations, or other details; and explains the evidence to show its connections to the thesis.

Level of Thought. The essay presents clear, sophisticated, insightful ideas that recognize the complexity of the topic without inaccuracies or errors in reasoning.

Expression.

Use of Standard Written English. The essay is written in Standard English without errors in sentence boundaries, spelling, punctuation, mechanics, and grammar.

Style. The student writes in a consistent, academic tone, using varied sentence structure and accurate and precise word choice.

Use and Documentation of Sources. The essay accurately quotes and paraphrases credible sources, effectively balances source material with the writer’s own ideas, and cites and documents correctly according to the standards of the discipline.

Format. The essay is formatted according to the standards of the discipline.

The essay meets assignment requirements.

 

Assessment of the Grading Criteria (link to pdf)

Essays may earn grades ranging from A to F based on the instructor's grading scale. The quality of each of the twelve elements above determines the letter grade, as described below. Not every essay will fit a single grade's description completely. Instructors may also include process assignments and drafts in their assessment of the final grade.

A Paper (Excellent)
To earn an A, a paper must meet all of the criteria below:

  1. The paper fulfills all the basic requirements of the assignment (for example, topic, purpose, length).
  2. The paper supports its thesis with a thorough development of ideas entirely tailored to the intended audience.
  3. The thesis and ideas in the paper are consistently original and insightful and demonstrate a sophistication and complexity of thought.
  4. The organization of the paper is consistently logical and coherent, and the paper exhibits a mastery of basic paper components (introduction, conclusion, and body paragraph structure).
  5. If sources are required, the paper accurately uses and correctly documents credible source material to add insight, sophistication, and complexity to the paper’s ideas.
  6. The paper demonstrates a high level of understanding and skill in the use of Standard English, style, and format.

B Paper (Good)
To earn a B, a paper must meet all of the criteria below:

  1. The paper fulfills all the basic requirements of the assignment (for example, topic, purpose, length).
  2. The paper supports its thesis with a substantial development of ideas consistently tailored to the intended audience.
  3. The thesis and ideas in the paper effectively combine original and insightful observations with commonly accepted ideas (generated by class discussion, for example).
  4. The organization of the paper is mostly logical and coherent, and the paper exhibits a strong ability to incorporate basic paper components (introduction, conclusion, and body paragraph structure).
  5. If sources are required, the paper accurately uses and correctly documents credible source material to supplement its ideas.
  6. The paper demonstrates understanding and skill in the use of Standard English, style, and format, with, at most, only a few errors, rather than any pattern of consistent error.

C Paper (Satisfactory)
To earn a C, a paper must meet all of the criteria below:

  1. The paper fulfills all the basic requirements of the assignment (for example, topic, purpose, length).
  2. The paper supports its thesis with an adequate development of ideas that are consistently appropriate for the intended audience.
  3. The thesis and ideas in the paper are generally clear and logical, perhaps relying primarily on commonly accepted ideas (generated by class discussion, for example).
  4. The organization of the paper is generally logical and coherent, and the paper indicates competence in basic paper components (introduction, conclusion, and body paragraph structure).
  5. If sources are required, the paper uses the minimum required amount of credible source material and documents it, with only occasional errors.
  6. The paper demonstrates competence in the use of Standard English, style, and format, with occasional errors.

D Paper (Deficient)
To earn a D, a paper will exhibit one or more of the weaknesses below:

  1. The paper only partially fulfills one or more of the basic requirements of the assignment (for example, topic, purpose, length).
  2. The paper’s development of ideas is insufficient to support its thesis adequately, or the ideas are not consistently appropriate for the intended audience.
  3. The thesis and ideas in the paper are not consistently clear or logical, or they may rely entirely on commonly accepted ideas (generated by class discussion, for instance).
  4. The organization of the paper is not consistently logical and coherent, or the paper indicates awareness of but not competence in basic paper components (introduction, conclusion, and body paragraph structure).
  5. If sources are required, the paper uses sources but does not meet the minimum source requirements, uses source material inaccurately, or uses sources that are not credible; though documentation may be in place, the paper contains frequent documentation errors.
  6. The paper contains consistent errors in use of Standard English, style, or format.

F Paper (Failing)
To earn an F, a paper will exhibit one or more of the weaknesses below:

  1. The paper fails to fulfill one or more of the basic requirements of the assignment (for example, topic, purpose, length).
  2. The paper largely fails to develop ideas to support its thesis, or the ideas are consistently inappropriate for the intended audience.
  3. The thesis and ideas in the paper are consistently unclear, illogical, or incomplete.
  4. The organization of the paper is consistently illogical or incoherent, or the paper indicates lack of awareness and lack of competence in basic paper components (introduction, conclusion, and body paragraph structure).
  5. If sources are required, the paper fails to use sources, does not meet the minimum source requirements, uses source material inaccurately, uses sources that are not credible, consistently fails to document source material fully or correctly, or includes plagiarized source material.
  6. The paper contains pervasive errors in use of Standard English, style, or format.

 

Sample Rubric (link to pdf)

Instructors may choose to use a rubric to assess how well an essay meets the requirements described above. The rubric posted here is a sample, as instructors may modify it to reflect specific assignments.