Grade Descriptions

The grade of A on paper means that it excels in most or all of the following ways:

  1. Treatment of subject shows good critical intelligence, careful workmanship, and originality.
  2. Organization is so clear that the readers know at all times what the purpose is and how the writer intends to accomplish it.
  3. Paragraphs are coherent (that is, they “hang together”) and are developed as fully as their function demands.
  4. Sentences are clear in meaning and so constructed as to contribute precisely and effectively to the writer’s purpose.
  5. Choice of words is exact, appropriate, and sensitive.
  6. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation conform to accepted usage.
  7. Secondary sources are consulted and cited using MLA citation style.

The grade of B means that a paper is good:

  1. Treatment of subject shows some originality and better than average ability to relate ideas.
  2. Organization is clear, though lacking the full clarity and tight coherence of A work. Subject and purpose are appropriate to organization.
  3. Paragraphs are reasonably unified, coherent, and well developed.
  4. Sentences are generally fluent and clear, and are sufficiently varied to make for an easy style.
  5. Words are used precisely and with some attention to stylistic appropriateness.
  6. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation conform to accepted usage.
  7. MLA citation style is used correctly if secondary sources are cited.

The grade of C means that a paper is competent, yet rather routine in its total effect:

  1. Treatment of subject is acceptable but lacks distinction.
  2. Organization is fairly clear; a central idea is systematically treated.
  3. Paragraph development shows little originality: paragraph structure shows some coherence but tends to be loose and uneconomical.
  4. Sentences are correct and are sufficiently linked to make for continuity. Generally, however, the style is flat, and the meaning is not always clear.
  5. Choice of words is generally appropriate but shows little attention to effect.
  6. There are few slips in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

The grade of D means that a paper has a number of the following weaknesses:

  1. Treatment of subject tends to be trite, thin, or vague.
  2. Organization is not dear or effective.
  3. Paragraphs tend to be incoherent and poorly developed.
  4. Sentences are generally awkward or overly simple and show little awareness of style. Their meaning is frequently not clear.
  5. Choice of words is often imprecise, inappropriate, or trite.
  6. There are a number of errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

The grade of F means that a paper falls below minimum requirements, and it has a number of the following weaknesses:

  1. Treatment of subject is thin, vague, or trite.
  2. The paper lacks a beginning, middle, and ending.
  3. Paragraphs obviously lack unity and are poorly developed.
  4. Sentences are awkward, or are constructed in primer style. Many are not clear.
  5. Choice of words is frequently inexact or inept.
  6. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are faulty.