Basic Essay Rubric - Cary Academy

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Basic Essay Rubric - Cary Academy

Basic Essay Grading Rubric:Thesis: thesis stated early in first paragraph? ____Name:16-20 clear, well-developed, explicitly stated thesis; understands and addresses full complexity/all aspects of question11-15 partially developed thesis; not explicitly stated early in 1 st paragraph; somewhat clear; does not address all aspects of the question6-10 superficial, unclear, or unfocused thesis; simple restatement of question / lacks modification, evaluation, evaluative content0-5 lacks thesis or merely paraphrases questionAnalysis: thesis/argument weaved in throughout body of essay? ____ acknowledges/refutes possible counter-arguments? ____16-20 effective, substantial analysis of ALL aspects of question; treatment of aspects may be somewhat uneven11-15 limited analysis or analysis that is substantially uneven or incomplete; needs more development; does not answer whole question6-10 incomplete analysis; too descriptive / narrative - describes facts without enough application to thesis, w/o forwarding argument0-5 no analysis, almost entirely descriptive, no argument madeSupport of thesis: uses abundant, specific historical examples as evidence to support general arguments? ____16-20 develops thesis with substantial relevant information/evidence, specific historical examples11-15 some relevant information /evidence, but could use more; may be presented but not used effectively enough to forward argument6-10 limited relevant evidence; relies too heavily generalizations; need to cite more specific examples / evidence0-5 little or no relevant information or specific examplesErrors:16-20 may contain minor errors that do not detract from overall quality11-15 may contain errors that do not seriously detract from overall quality6-10 may contain major errors0-5 substantial factual errors or little of no factual informationOrganization of essay/clarity of writing: good paragraph unity? ____ -need to use more, smaller, better focused paragraphs?16-20 well-organized, clearly written - are topic sentences/paragraphs tied to thesis? ____11-15 acceptable organization and clarity of writing6-10 poorly organized; writing is choppy, rambling, or unclear; paragraphs lack focus/unity - jump from topic to topic; unclr transitions0-5 lacks any coherent organization; turgid prose is unreadable Total: _____/100Basic DBQ Grading Rubric:Thesis: thesis stated early in first paragraph? ____Name:16-20 clear, well-developed, explicitly stated thesis; understands and addresses full complexity/all aspects of question11-15 partially developed thesis; not explicitly stated early in 1 st paragraph; somewhat clear; does not address all aspects of the question6-10 superficial, unclear, or unfocused thesis; simple restatement of question / lacks modification, evaluation, evaluative content0-5 lacks thesis or merely paraphrases questionAnalysis: thesis/argument weaved in throughout body of essay? ____ acknowledges/refutes possible counter-arguments? ____16-20 effective, substantial analysis of ALL aspects of question; treatment of aspects may be somewhat uneven11-15 limited analysis or analysis that is substantially uneven or incomplete; needs more development; does not answer whole question6-10 incomplete analysis; too descriptive / narrative - describes facts without enough application to thesis, w/o forwarding argument0-5 no analysis, almost entirely descriptive, no argument madeOutside Information: uses abundant, specific historical examples as evidence to support general arguments? ____16-20 develops thesis with substantial relevant outside information/evidence, specific historical examples11-15 some relevant outside information/evidence, but could use more; presented, but not used effectively enough to forward argument6-10 limited relevant outside information; relies too heavily generalizations; need to cite more specific examples / evidence0-5 little or no relevant outside information or specific examplesEffective use of Documents: -need to quote less and explain meaning in own words? -documents are referred to and cited correctly ____16-20 effectively uses a substantial number of the documents; accounts for document source, context, possible bias of source11-15 uses some documents effectively; may not account for doc. source, context, or possible bias of source effectively enough6-10 quotes or briefly cites docs w/o incorporating them effectively in argument, or sufficiently addressing content and context0-5 shows little understanding of the documents or ignores them completely; documents are misinterpretedOrganization of essay/Clarity of writing/Errors: good paragr. unity? ___ -need to use more, smaller, better focused paragraphs?16-20 well-organized, clearly written; may have minor errors -are topic sentences/paragraphs tied to thesis? ____11-15 acceptable organization and clarity of writing; may have errors that do not seriously detract6-10 poorly organized; writing is choppy, rambling, or unclear; paragraphs lack focus/unity - jump from topic to topic; major errors0-5 lacks any coherent organization; turgid prose is unreadable; substantial factual errors Total: _____/100


Thesis TipsQuestion: (a typical and very common “assess the validity” question)“The Ford Fiesta is clearly the best car to buy!”Assess the validity of this statement. In your response, consider the following issues.- safety rating - passenger room- acceleration - styling- engine size - priceNo thesis:Many people buy Ford Fiestas because of safety ratings, acceleration, engine size, passenger room, styling,and price.(purely descriptive – no argument being made)Weak thesis:Ford Fiestas are clearly the best cars to buy, because of safety ratings, acceleration, engine size, passengerroom, styling, and price.(Partially developed; there is an argument, but is weak and lacks substance. You shouldmodify the question components rather than simply re-listing them rote.)Strong thesis:Ford Fiestas are clearly the best cars to buy. Due to superior safety ratings, blazing acceleration, prodigiousengine size, cavernous passenger room, highly refined styling, and competitive price, no other car can evencompare with this fine automobile.(Clear argument made; substance is added to modify the elements of comparison. Readerhas more of a feel for your argument, and you add force and momentum to it.)Strong thesis, which also acknowledges and refutes possible counter-argument:Although traditional wisdom posits that BMW’s are the best automobiles, they are in fact woefullyinadequate in comparison with the Ford Fiesta. Due to superior safety ratings, blazing acceleration,prodigious engine size, cavernous passenger room, highly refined styling, and competitive price, no other carcan even compare with these fine automobiles. Ford Fiestas are without question the best cars to buy.


Essay Editing GuideThe following is a key to the editing abbreviations I use in grading your essays:AE or AEC – add evaluation or add evaluative content; you have listed the bare bones of a topic with out much evaluation; youneed to add your own evaluation or evaluative content to give substance and direction to what you are saying; evaluative contentmight be adjectives or examples that modify the thing you are talking about.AG – agreement; grammatical error in which your noun and verb are not in agreement in terms of singular-plural.AWK – awkward; your wording is awkwardly phrased; you need to be more clear.CS – cite specifics; you need to cite specific evidence and examples to prove your point; you are talking in too general terms andgeneralizing too much without enough specific evidence.DNF – does not follow; an assertion or assumption that you have made does not follow logically and is not necessarily correct asyou seem to assert; your argument is not logically valid.DS – source? – you are analyzing a document without addressing the source of the document; good analysis includes addressingthe document’s source: who is speaking?, what is the context?, do they have any potential biases or a personal agenda to forward?,is the source a reliable source?, etc.DSL – don’t skip lines when writing your essay; also, write on both the front and back sides of your paper.EX – example; you are making general assertions that are begging for a specific example to back them up; give a specific example;do you have any specific examples to back up what you have just said? Generally speaking, here shouldn’t be “dry spells” in youressay where specific evidence is not cited – you should be bringing in specifics throughout your analysis / throughout the body ofyour essay. Your essay should be “chock full” of specific, named examples.EXP – expand; you need to expand on this point and explain it more; your idea might be good and on-target, but you haven’t givenenough explanation and it deserves fuller consideration.I or INC – incomplete; you have written an incomplete sentence; this is a grammatical error.NA – not accurate; while perhaps not a major factual error, you have just made an assertion that is not completely accurate, andmay be partially incorrect.NFP – no first person; do not use first person (“I think…”) in your essays.P – paragraph; you should start a new paragraph here; it is likely that your current paragraph is too long and taking on too manythemes/topics, either with or without smooth transitions between them; there is a natural break point here where you are movingfrom one topic/theme to another, and it would be advisable at this point to break this larger paragraph into a couple of smallerones.PU – paragraph unity; your paragraph is too long and rambles through too many topics and themes; you need to break it down intomultiple, smaller paragraphs that have a more defined focus; make sure your paragraphs are unified and focused on a particular,well-defined goal or topic in your argument.R or RA – relevance to argument; whatever you are saying might well be historically accurate, but is it relevant to your argument?,is it relevant to your thesis?, is it relevant to the question that was asked?S – source? – you are analyzing a document without addressing the source of the document; good analysis includes addressing thedocument’s source: who is speaking?, what is the context?, do they have any potential biases or a personal agenda to forward?, isthe source a reliable source?, etc.SP – spelling; you are misspelling words that you should know how to spell, possibly even words that are key concepts pertainingto the essay question.


T or TTT – thesis or tie to thesis; you need to tie the topic sentences of your paragraphs (and your paragraphs themselves) to yourthesis/argument; you are being too purely descriptive and your thesis and argument are not evident; make sure you are tying yourtopic sentences and paragraphs into your thesis and that you are forwarding your argument instead of just narrating in a purelydescriptive fashion.TC – too colloquial or too conversational; your diction is too casual – use more formal and appropriate wording; academic essaysare more formal than casual speech, so make sure your word choices are appropriate to a serious academic tone.TN or TD – too narrative or too descriptive; you are being too purely descriptive and your thesis and argument are not evident;make sure you are tying your paragraphs into your thesis and that you are forwarding your argument instead of just narrating in apurely descriptive fashion. Don’t just give a run-down of the opinions presented in the documents or a run-down of the points ofview of others, instead present the opinions and points of view of others or of the documents within the context of proving yourargument and forwarding your thesis.TR – transition; you have just jumped from one topic to another without a smooth transition; you need to have better transitionsbetween different themes or topics.U or UNC – unclear; your argument is unclear or the wording in your sentence is unclear.V – vague; your argument is too vague and too general, and does not contain enough specific evidence to back it up.VT – verb tense; all historical essays should be written in past tense; make sure your verbs are in past tense throughout your essay.WC – word choice; you should use another word or different wording; your diction is awkward, not quite accurate, too colloquial,too casual, or otherwise wrong in content or tone; choose another word instead of the one you used.X – error; whatever you wrote is not correct; it is wrong; you are in error./ or v/ (check mark), which for me sometimes just looks like a line – good point; good piece of evidence used; you are correct.Other tips:- use only college ruled, lined paper.- use only black pen; ballpoint is preferred.- don’t skip lines when writing your essays; some people have a habit of writing every-other line – don’t.- write on both the front and back of your paper.- don’t use white-out (waste of time) – just cross out your words by drawing a single straight line through them.- don’t refer to “the quote” as if it’s an entity unto itself; make your argument and assess the quote’s arguments and validitywithout referring to it (“the quote”) in the 3 rd person.- know the difference between an “underlying” cause and a “direct” or “precipitating” cause.- the Declaration of Independence is not the same thing as the Constitution; they were written over 10 years apart and,while both important, they have different roles in shaping the United States.- when enumerating your arguments, use “first,” not “firstly.”- know the difference between “who” and “whom.”- know the difference between “economic” and “economical.”- know the difference between “colonist” (singular) and “colonists” (plural).- know what the following terms (or similar variations) mean in context: agenda, as in legislative agenda; record, as in theRepublican record or Democratic record or legislative record; conservative; liberal; republican v. Republican; democratic v.Democratic; progressive v. Progressive; domestic program / agenda v. international program / agenda

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