Matters of Life and Death

Fall 2004

Analytical Essay Grading Rubric

The ideal analytical essay has a thesis that is clear and insightful (i.e., it is original, or it expands in a new way on ideas presented in the course).  It presents clear and carefully chosen evidence in support of the thesis.  The organization of the argument is unified and coherent, and it pushes to illuminate the deeper significance of the issues (the "so what?").

Each essay is graded on the basis of 20 points, broken into 4 categories:

Engagement with the ideas from the reading:

5 = fully engaged (discussing relevant points, presenting them accurately)

3 = pretty engaged (mentioning some relevant points, but leaving some out, or presenting them somewhat inaccurately)

1 = not so engaged (only superficial treatment of points from the reading)

"So what?"

5 = fully developed (finds the larger significance of the issue and presents it clearly)

3 = somewhat developed (brings out some ideas that point toward larger significance)

1 = not so developed (no real discussion of larger significance)


5 = clear and logical (thesis easy to identify, clear how other claims support thesis)

3 = somewhat clear (thesis less obvious, some points not clearly connected)

1 = not so clear (not clear what thesis is, no clear logic to the presentation, lots of unconnected or incoherent points)


5 = excellent (good spelling, grammar, punctuation; word choice is apt, and sentence structure leads to clear presentation of ideas)

3 = fair (some systematic problems with sentence structure, spelling, grammar, punctuation.)

1 = poor (enough problems with sentence structure, spelling, grammar, and/or punctuation that the reader can't follow the content).


*Use to identify areas that need work (1 or 2 in a category means you need to work harder on it; 3 means a bit more attention could make a big difference)

*A rough conversion to letter grades: A-range (18-20), B-range (15-17), C-range (12-14).  But, for the first analytic essay, I'm expecting lower marks and will scale the grades accordingly.

*You may rewrite one of your first two analytical essays to improve your mark (and the essay, of course).  However, you aren't required to do a rewrite.



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