Grading Criteria for Essays and Papers


Excellent. Thoughtful, direct answer to the question. Good introduction with clear, concise thesis statement. Carefully organized and developed, with all parts integrated into a coherent whole. Abundant supporting evidence and convincing argument.


More than competent. Substantial, well-developed information with a clear organizing principle or main thesis. Not as clear or polished as an A essay. Logical ordering of paragraphs.


Competent. Answers the question, but may have factual errors or omissions. Topic sentences of paragraphs may be weak. Introductory paragraph or thesis may be missing. Much information may be correct, but lacks integration into a clear argument; or an argument is supported by too little specific evidence.


Unsatisfactory. Does not answer question fully or directly. Lacks introduction and thesis. Supporting evidence may be too brief, irrelevant, or wrong. Argument may be unconvincing or wrong.


Does not answer question. No thesis. Evidence may be too brief or wrong.