English 101 Essay Grading Rubric

1. Focus & Ideas The essay has a clear thesis which controls the entire paper. The ideas are significant and insightful. The essay is not completely controlled by one central point. The ideas may lack insight or significance. The essay is not clearly controlled by one central point. There is little attempt to express critical (collegiate-level) ideas.
2. Development & Support The essay’s ideas are clearly and logically developed. Major ideas are explained through concrete, specific details, or examples.

Major ideas are well developed as a whole, but with occasional problems in support, explanation, or accuracy. Use of examples is present, but minimal explanation is offered to interpret their significance.

The development of major ideas is lacking or confusing. Major ideas are barely supported or merely repeated.  Flaws in logic.
3. Organization

Organization is clear and logical.  Transitions effectively signal relationships among the essay’s parts. Introduction is gripping.  Conclusion provides for new insight. Overall structure feels deliberately crafted.

The organizational structure is strong enough to move the reader through the text without too much confusion. Some transitions are present, but awkward at times.  Intro/conclusion may be overly simplistic. The writing lacks a clear sense of direction. Ideas, details, or events seem strung together in a loose or random fashion. There is no identifiable internal structure.  Intro/conclusion doesn’t draw reader in or provide insight.
4. Style, Voice, & Risk Taking Writer crafts the writing with an awareness and respect for audience and writing purpose. Voice is a strategic asset. Writer takes risks with language, phrases, ideas, and strategies. Effect of writing style strongly supports the purpose of the piece. Writing seems sincere and aware of audience and purpose. The language is functional, but may lack energy. It is easy to figure out the writer’s meaning on a general level. Sentence variety adds interest. Word choice is mostly ordinary and mechanical.

Writer seems indifferent to or uninvolved with audience. Few, if any sensory details. Essay either takes no risks, or mistakes risk-taking as a way to hide a lack of content. Complexity is denied or avoided. Sentences are choppy, incomplete, rambling, or awkward. Writer seems not to have searched for words to convey specific meaning.

5. Reading and Textual Analysis The writer demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the text, carefully attributing ideas, paying close attention to context and rhetorical situation. The writer demonstrates a familiarity with the main idea of the text, but may overlook, or slightly misrepresent some of the finer details. Writer is inconsistent with attributions and rarely pays attention to context or rhetorical purpose. The writer commits a severe misreading of the text, either by imposing his/her own ideas upon it, or simply by not paying close attention to the context or rhetorical purpose. Writer takes no pains to clearly attribute referenced passages.
6. Conventions & Presentation

The writer demonstrates a good grasp of standard writing conventions. Errors tend to be so few that just minor touch-ups would get this piece ready to publish. The essay is attentive to the complete assignment directions, including paper format.

The writer shows reasonable control over a limited range of standard writing conventions. Errors in conventions sometimes are distracting and impair readability. The essay mostly follows all the assignment directions, including paper format. Errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, usage, and grammar distract the reader and make the text difficult to read. The writer appears to be unfamiliar with complete assignment guidelines, or has disregarded paper format instructions.