ENG 434: English Writing for English Teachers

Kent Lee

Center for Teaching & Learning
Korea University



Grading criteria

General tips

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Grading rubrics for particular assignments & course components

I often use rubrics for grading assigments. The grading criteria for major assignments appear with the above, which form the basis of the grading rubrics. Some rubrics are shown here; otherwise, they are included in the emailed feedback. Please keep in mind that grades at or near 100 are rare, and are mainly reserved for superintelligent life forms.

Genre analysis essay: Official rubric

  1. Essay topic & introduction
    • Clear, specific introductory material, directly relevant to main thesis (not too general or vague)
    • Intro & thesis clearly indicate essay objectives and what will be discussed; clear, specific, appropriate thesis
    • Interesting, sufficient, & appropriate introduction; good segway to thesis
    • Paper topic and objective are specific and explicit; not too broad
    • Topic sentences / main arguments of body provide good support for thesis
    • Clear, interesting or effective summary / conclusion
  2. Organization and general focus
    • Overall structure and plan are clear
    • Good use of transitional words (conjunctions, etc.) and other cohesive devices for good flow of ideas
    • Clear, logical flow of ideas; all points are logically connected and coherent
    • Clear, specific main points (e.g., topic sentences); Topic sentences in ¶’s provide good support, information, and/or evidence for the topic sentences or main ideas
    • Body paragraph contents directly related to the thesis, main idea, or main objective of essay.
    • Appropriate, specific focus throughout the paper, without unnecessary or unrelated information
  3. Contents
    • Clear, specific information and supporting details; appropriate detail and coverage of contents
    • Effective analysis, discussion, and detail; informative for other students in the field
    • Good development of ideas
    • Well developed paragraphs (¶s); not too short and choppy, nor excessively long
    • The nature of the field and its expectations or academic culture are addressed (even if only in the intro), as well as major aspects of academic writing in the field.
    • Improvement and better development in your paper between the draft version and the final version (e.g., if the final version shows significant work, or looks just like the draft with little revision). Sufficient contents and length: At least 2 full pages for the draft, 4 pages for the final ve
    • rsion (not counting references page, or any optional tables or graphs)
  4. Style
    • Clarity: Clear, appropriate, and effective wording, word choice, word usage; coherent and precise expression
    • Appropriate tone & style: Appropriate academic writing style, tone and wording; no colloquial style or word choice
    • Good variety and use of sentence structure; appropriate sentence flow; not choppy, overly short or long
    • Well-formed sentences; no awkward sentences or expressions; no run-on sentences or fragments;
    • Paper format: proper line spacing (1.5-2X spacing), margins (2-2.5 cm), title page (final version), page numbers on each page (except the title page) No major mechanical, grammatical or style issues that affect clarity of expression
    • Papers should be read and revised carefully to eliminate any significant style problems or mechanical problems
  5. Source use
    • Appropriate use of information from sources to support main ideas
    • At least 3 academic sources cited and discussed effectively as examples (at least 2 for the draft)
    • Appropriate summarizing and paraphrasing of information
    • Proper source citation in the essay, e.g., in-text citations
    • Citations are used meaningfully as examples, as points of discussion, and in connection with the points or arguments discussed (i.e., not for padding or decoration)
    • References / works cited / bibliography at the end of the essay in proper format
    • All in-text references, and only references cited in the text, appear in the references section.
    • Proper referencing format (APA, MLA, or whatever format is used in your field)

Minor assignments

Short write-ups such as webform-based write-ups and end-of-class response papers will be graded along the following 10-piont scale. The grading is based mainly on effort, especially for open-ended questions. A full 10 points is awarded only for an entire assignment that shows very good effort.

points criteria criteria
2 Minimal effort The student does not try to answer, indicates that s/he does not know, or offers minimal or no response.

4 Low effort; and/or incorrect answer The student tries to answer but shows no evidence of making effort; may show serious misconceptions; does not use any information from readings or lectures (or from previous courses, knowledge, or experience) to formulate the response.

6 Low-medium effort; incomplete; partially correct or partially attempted answer, but still incomplete The student shows some effort or knowledge and uses some correct terminology, but does not provide a complete explanation. The student does not use appropriate information from the readings or lectures (or prior knowledge). Little evidence of original thought or analysis.

8 Moderate effort; nearly correct or convincing; The student answers the question with few errors and with some explanation. The student attempts to incorporate information from the lectures, readings, or background knowledge. The answers show some attempt at original thought or analysis.

9 Stronger effort; nearly correct or convincing; The student answers the question with few mistakes and with a complete explanation. The student incorporates information from the lectures and readings, and shows some original thought or analysis.

10 Very high effort; convincing, very informative, or correct responses; Student provides a very detailed explanation, with information from his/her background knowledge, other information, or other materials (e.g., information from outside sources), and/or shows great creativity, original thought, or critical thinking skills.

Final paper

In grading your final papers, I will look at the following kinds of criteria.

  1. Effective analysis, discussion, and/or argumentation; in-depth discussion with good, persuasive evidence or support for claims or arguments that you develop. Effective, informative, intellectually satisfying, and persuasive contents; in-depth, well-developed discussion of your ideas.
  2. Improvement and better development in your paper between the draft version and the final version (e.g., if the final looks just like the third essay with little or no improvement, that would hurt the final essay grade).
  3. Clear structure - specific intro, thesis, topic sentences, development of ideas, transitional expressions, and conclusion / summary. Appropriate paragraph style, transitions, etc.
  4. Appropriate uses of sources in your discussion and development of ideas, analysis, or argumentation; at least three scholarly / academic sources should be used. (Exception: If the professor in the class for whom you are writing wants no sources, e.g., no other sources other than a piece of literature that you are analyzing, then that is okay; just let me know when you email it to me.) Sources are properly cited in the body of the paper, and a final references or works cited section. All references cited in the body should be in the references / works cited section, and no sources should be listed in the final references / works cited section that are not cited and used in the body of the essay; also, use of proper citation style - proper APA, MLA, or whichever system you use in your field.
  5. Dealing well with potential counter-arguments (potential objections to your views), if applicable, for your topic.
  6. Proper format: title page (no headings except the title page; see the example under the Handouts page on the Wiki); proper line spacing (1.5-2X spacing), margins (2-2.5 cm), page numbers on each page (except the title page).
  7. Appropriate academic writing style, tone and wording. Papers should be proofread and revised carefully to eliminate any significant problems in word choice, clarity, flow, wordiness, overly informal or colloquial style, and grammar.
  8. Appropriate length. I won't necessarily insist on a word limit if papers in your courses are shorter than usual. But they should be long enough to sufficiently develop your ideas.


Class participation will be assessed as follows:
criterion poor (D or C grade) excellent (A+)
Attendance Skipping class; often late; lacking or not providing a valid reason for absence or lateness; seemingly contrived or artificial excuses for absences or tardiness; overburdens prof. with questions about missed work or contents; fails to make up work in time Always in class and on time; contacts prof. about legitimate reasons for repeated lateness or absence; finds out from fellow students about missed work and contents, contacting prof. when necessary; takes care of missed work responsibly

Attentiveness Does not seem to pay attention to lectures; seems to be using devices or materials for non-class-related purposes; falls asleep in class; ...

Usually focused on the lecture, discussion and class activities; well prepared
Active participation Not participating in group & class discussions or class activities; not answering questions or raising relevant questions in class; never talks to prof. after / outside of class about difficulties; or may try to dominate discussions unfairly, not allowing others a chance to participate

Regularly participates in class discussion and activities; asks and/or responds to questions in class; sees prof. about questions or difficulties after class; does not try to dominate discussions
Quality of contributions to class & group discussions Likes to say things that are not relevant, tangential, or self-focused; no intelligent or insightful contributions; says little beyond what is obvious; shows little sign of critical thinking Has intelligent, specific, insightful, focused comments or questions; comments or questions demonstrate critical thinking skills and creativity