EEB2245W Grading Rubric
The table below describes in detail the grading criteria for W-papers. Use this as a checklist as you revise your paper. Revise your paper at least once by yourself before going to your instructor or the Writing Center for help.
|Criteria for grading||Strong papers (A’s and high B’s)||Satisfactory papers (low B’s and C’s)||Problematic papers (D’s and F’s)||
|Clarity of writing||The paper reads smoothly, so that the reader can readily follow the intent of the writer, and can readily extract information. The reader can easily understand the most important aspects of the source papers, including their intent, methods, and conclusions. The overall organization (number, order and content of paragraphs) is strong, as are paragraph and sentence structure. Within each paragraph, the individual sentences cohere around a unified theme, which is declared by a topic sentence, when appropriate. Sentence structures are direct and clear. There are few or no errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or word usage.||The paper is generally well written, presenting a good summary of the source papers and their conclusions. The flow may occasionally be interrupted by confusing statements or awkward sentences. The average paper has some problems in overall organization, paragraph structure, and/or sentence structure. For example, it may begin too abruptly, may not return to questions raised in the first paragraph, may lack strong topic sentences where they would be helpful, or may have individual sentences that are choppy, awkward, or hard to interpret. The reader can readily comprehend some, but perhaps not all, of the major aspects of the source study. Typically, a few spelling and grammatical errors are present, and word choice is not always optimal.||The organization of the paper is discernable, but has not been crafted to convey information effectively. This may be because sentences are rewritten in the order in which they appear in the source, without taking into account how well this works in a short summary. The reader cannot understand some key aspects of the source paper. Errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and word usage are too common.|
|Was the assignment followed?||All requirements of the assignment are met. The paper is of the required length. The source papers are from the primary literature. The goals, methods, and results of the study are summarized, and the paper comments on strengths and limitations of the source papers when appropriate.||Most or all aspects of the assignment are followed. The paper is of the required length. The source papers are acceptable, but one or more sections may be treated too briefly. Points may be lost due to missed deadlines.||Characterized by major deficiencies in following the assignment, such as writing a shorter paper than required, choosing inappropriate sources, or not including important aspects of the papers.|
|Lack of plagiarism||The paper does not contain plagiarism. Citations are included where appropriate. The summary and discussion of the source papers show that the sources were read and digested. The organization and wording of the term paper are original, rather than being taken from the sources.||The paper does not contain plagiarism. Citations are included where appropriate. The summary and discussion of the source papers show that the sources were read and digested. The organization and wording of the term paper are original, rather than being taken from the sources.||The paper is unacceptable if it was not written by the student, fails to cite sources properly, or takes much of its wording or organization from the original sources. Plagiarism will result in a grade of ‘F’ for the term paper and thus for the course.|
|Choice of source papers||The source papers are from the primary literature, and cohere around a common issue. General claims are supported by citations from multiple sources.||The source papers are clearly related, but discussion of these sources may not be well integrated, e.g. because they focus on substantially different issues. For example, the source papers may all be about the same animal species, but one may address habitat choice, while another addresses reproductive biology. When this is true, the term paper often tends to summarize the sources one after the other, without drawing them together.||The number of source papers from the primary literature does not meet the requirement; one or more may be treated too briefly; there is no source from the last year; or the paper relies on information obtained from web sites (such as Wikipedia), rather than papers from science journals.|
|Discussion of the underlying question, issue, or topic||The paper describes how the authors of the source papers reached their conclusions (what methods were used, and how the conclusions follow from the results). The paper evaluates the strengths and limitations of the approaches presented in the source papers when appropriate, informing the reader of the current status of investigation and of any controversy.||The methods of the sources are described, as well as the results. These descriptions may be have some problems, such as presenting too much detail on specifics, as opposed to a concise summary that informs the reader of the essence of the approach. The paper could go farther in evaluating what has been firmly established, and what is not yet known.||The paper presents statements about evolutionary phenomena, but does not focus on how these conclusions were reached, or the degree of support.|
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This grading rubric was developed by Eldridge Adams for use in EEB2244W and modified slightly for use in EEB2245W by Chris Simon and Elizabeth Jockusch.