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Writing Assessment: Scoring Criteria

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Essay Scoring Rubric

Your Writing Assessment essay will be scored based on the rubric in your DRWA Doctoral Writing Assessment classroom focusing on:

To view the scoring criteria for each rubric category, visit the DRWA Doctoral Writing Assessment: Essay Score module in your DRWA classroom.

To test out of the required Graduate Writing I and Graduate Writing II courses, you must show mastery of the writing skills represented in the rubric in your DRWA Doctoral Writing Assessment classroom.

If you are required to take Graduate Writing I and/or Graduate Writing II based on your assessment score, you can learn more about the learning outcomes of these courses below.

Graduate Writing I Learning Outcomes

Graduate writing ii learning outcomes, top 3 scoring criteria faqs, who will review and score my essay, what does my score for my doctoral writing assessment essay mean, when will i learn my essay score for the doctoral writing assessment.

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English Composition 1

Evaluation and grading criteria for essays.

IVCC's online Style Book presents the Grading Criteria for Writing Assignments .

This page explains some of the major aspects of an essay that are given special attention when the essay is evaluated.

Thesis and Thesis Statement

Probably the most important sentence in an essay is the thesis statement, which is a sentence that conveys the thesis—the main point and purpose of the essay. The thesis is what gives an essay a purpose and a point, and, in a well-focused essay, every part of the essay helps the writer develop and support the thesis in some way.

The thesis should be stated in your introduction as one complete sentence that

In high school, students often are told to begin an introduction with a thesis statement and then to follow this statement with a series of sentences, each sentence presenting one of the main points or claims of the essay. While this approach probably helps students organize their essays, spreading a thesis statement over several sentences in the introduction usually is not effective. For one thing, it can lead to an essay that develops several points but does not make meaningful or clear connections among the different ideas.

If you can state all of your main points logically in just one sentence, then all of those points should come together logically in just one essay. When I evaluate an essay, I look specifically for a one-sentence statement of the thesis in the introduction that, again, identifies the topic of the essay, states all of the main points, clarifies how those points are logically related, and conveys the purpose of the essay.

If you are used to using the high school model to present the thesis of an essay, you might wonder what you should do with the rest of your introduction once you start presenting a one-sentence statement of your thesis. Well, an introduction should do two important things: (1) present the thesis statement, and (2) get readers interested in the subject of the essay.

Instead of outlining each stage of an essay with separate sentences in the introduction, you could draw readers into your essay by appealing to their interests at the very beginning of your essay. Why should what you discuss in your essay be important to readers? Why should they care? Answering these questions might help you discover a way to draw readers into your essay effectively. Once you appeal to the interests of your readers, you should then present a clear and focused thesis statement. (And thesis statements most often appear at the ends of introductions, not at the beginnings.)

Coming up with a thesis statement during the early stages of the writing process is difficult. You might instead begin by deciding on three or four related claims or ideas that you think you could prove in your essay. Think in terms of paragraphs: choose claims that you think could be supported and developed well in one body paragraph each. Once you have decided on the three or four main claims and how they are logically related, you can bring them together into a one-sentence thesis statement.

All of the topic sentences in a short paper, when "added" together, should give us the thesis statement for the entire paper. Do the addition for your own papers, and see if you come up with the following:

Topic Sentence 1 + Topic Sentence 2 + Topic Sentence 3 = Thesis Statement


Effective expository papers generally are well organized and unified, in part because of fairly rigid guidelines that writers follow and that you should try to follow in your papers.

Each body paragraph of your paper should begin with a topic sentence, a statement of the main point of the paragraph. Just as a thesis statement conveys the main point of an entire essay, a topic sentence conveys the main point of a single body paragraph. As illustrated above, a clear and logical relationship should exist between the topic sentences of a paper and the thesis statement.

If the purpose of a paragraph is to persuade readers, the topic sentence should present a claim, or something that you can prove with specific evidence. If you begin a body paragraph with a claim, a point to prove, then you know exactly what you will do in the rest of the paragraph: prove the claim. You also know when to end the paragraph: when you think you have convinced readers that your claim is valid and well supported.

If you begin a body paragraph with a fact, though, something that it true by definition, then you have nothing to prove from the beginning of the paragraph, possibly causing you to wander from point to point in the paragraph. The claim at the beginning of a body paragraph is very important: it gives you a point to prove, helping you unify the paragraph and helping you decide when to end one paragraph and begin another.

The length and number of body paragraphs in an essay is another thing to consider. In general, each body paragraph should be at least half of a page long (for a double-spaced essay), and most expository essays have at least three body paragraph each (for a total of at least five paragraphs, including the introduction and conclusion.)

Support and Development of Ideas

The main difference between a convincing, insightful interpretation or argument and a weak interpretation or argument often is the amount of evidence than the writer uses. "Evidence" refers to specific facts.

Remember this fact: your interpretation or argument will be weak unless it is well supported with specific evidence. This means that, for every claim you present, you need to support it with at least several different pieces of specific evidence. Often, students will present potentially insightful comments, but the comments are not supported or developed with specific evidence. When you come up with an insightful idea, you are most likely basing that idea on some specific facts. To present your interpretation or argument well, you need to state your interpretation and then explain the facts that have led you to this conclusion.

Effective organization is also important here. If you begin each body paragraph with a claim, and if you then stay focused on supporting that claim with several pieces of evidence, you should have a well-supported and well-developed interpretation.

As stated above, each body paragraph generally should be at least half of a page long, so, if you find that your body paragraphs are shorter than this, then you might not be developing your ideas in much depth. Often, when a student has trouble reaching the required minimum length for an essay, the problem is the lack of sufficient supporting evidence.

In an interpretation or argument, you are trying to explain and prove something about your subject, so you need to use plenty of specific evidence as support. A good approach to supporting an interpretation or argument is dividing your interpretation or argument into a few significant and related claims and then supporting each claim thoroughly in one body paragraph.

Insight into Subject

Sometimes a student will write a well-organized essay, but the essay does not shed much light on the subject. At the same time, I am often amazed at the insightful interpretations and arguments that students come up with. Every semester, students interpret aspects of texts or present arguments that I had never considered.

If you are writing an interpretation, you should reread the text or study your subject thoroughly, doing your best to notice something new each time you examine it. As you come up with a possible interpretation to develop in an essay, you should re-examine your subject with that interpretation in mind, marking passages (if your subject is a literary text) and taking plenty of notes on your subject. Studying your subject in this way will make it easier for you to find supporting evidence for your interpretation as you write your essay.

The insightfulness of an essay often is directly related to the organization and the support and development of the ideas in the essay. If you have well-developed body paragraphs focused on one specific point each, then it is likely that you are going into depth with the ideas you present and are offering an insightful interpretation.

If you organize your essay well, and if you use plenty of specific evidence to support your thesis and the individual claims that comprise that thesis, then there is a good possibility that your essay will be insightful.

Clarity is always important: if your writing is not clear, your meaning will not reach readers the way you would like it to. According to IVCC's Grading Criteria for Writing Assignments , "A," "B," and "C" essays are clear throughout, meaning that problems with clarity can have a substantial effect on the grade of an essay.

If any parts of your essay or any sentences seem just a little unclear to you, you can bet that they will be unclear to readers. Review your essay carefully and change any parts of the essay that could cause confusion for readers. Also, take special note of any passages that your peer critiquers feel are not very clear.

"Style" refers to the kinds of words and sentences that you use, but there are many aspects of style to consider. Aspects of style include conciseness, variety of sentence structure, consistent verb tense, avoidance of the passive voice, and attention to the connotative meanings of words.

Several of the course web pages provide information relevant to style, including the following pages:

William Strunk, Jr.'s, The Elements of Style is a classic text on style that is now available online.

Given the subject, purpose, and audience for each essay in this course, you should use a formal writing voice . This means that you should avoid use of the first person ("I," "me," "we," etc.), the use of contractions ("can't," "won't," etc.), and the use of slang or other informal language. A formal writing voice will make you sound more convincing and more authoritative.

If you use quotations in a paper, integrating those quotations smoothly, logically, and grammatically into your own sentences is important, so make sure that you are familiar with the information on the Integrating Quotations into Sentences page.

"Mechanics" refers to the correctness of a paper: complete sentences, correct punctuation, accurate word choice, etc. All of your papers for the course should be free or almost free from errors. Proofread carefully, and consider any constructive comments you receive during peer critiques that relate to the "mechanics" of your writing.

You might use the grammar checker if your word-processing program has one, but grammar checkers are correct only about half of the time. A grammar checker, though, could help you identify parts of the essay that might include errors. You will then need to decide for yourself if the grammar checker is right or wrong.

The elimination of errors from your writing is important. In fact, according to IVCC's Grading Criteria for Writing Assignments , "A," "B," and "C" essays contain almost no errors. Significant or numerous errors are a characteristic of a "D" or "F" essay.

Again, the specific errors listed in the second table above are explained on the Identifying and Eliminating Common Errors in Writing web page.

You should have a good understanding of what errors to look out for based on the feedback you receive on graded papers, and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about possible errors or about any other aspects of your essay. You just need to ask!

Copyright Randy Rambo , 2021.


== [1] ideas ==, == [2] organization ==, == [3] vocabulary ==, == [4] voice ==, == mechanics of the essay ==, == [5] grammar and usage ==, == [6] punctuation, capitialization, abbreviations, numbers ==, == spelling == excellent: essays worked on out of class are free of spelling errors while in-class essays may have two or three at the most. average: several spelling errors in difficult words and a few violations of basic spelling rules. poor: there are so many spelling errors or typos that comprehension is difficult. == typing, handwriting, neatness ==.

Criteria of a Perfect Essay

How to Write a Perfect Essay

Writing needs to have a goal and a purpose because, without one, an article may not appeal to the readers. Readers need to look forward to the next paragraph. From the criteria above, some simple and seemingly irrelevant factors like punctuation and the choice of voice must also be taken seriously. 

In conclusion, writing perfect essays takes time and you need to have a plan in place. The ideas to be included in an article should be well-researched and have enough substance to develop or build the thesis statement. The points provided above are not necessarily all you need to write a perfect essay, but they can help you comprehend what a perfect essay entails and warrants. Finally, it is important to note that being a good writer does not necessarily mean you can write your essay like an expert from WriteMyPaperHub paper writing service. Simply adhere to the above criteria and maintain a keen eye to details and you might surprise yourself.

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*Adapted from PASUC Guidelines and modified by the host university.

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Evaluation Criteria for Formal Essays

Katherine milligan.

Please note that these four categories are interdependent. For example, if your evidence is weak, this will almost certainly affect the quality of your argument and organization. Likewise, if you have difficulty with syntax, it is to be expected that your transitions will suffer. In revision, therefore, take a holistic approach to improving your essay, rather than focussing exclusively on one aspect.

An excellent paper:

Argument: The paper knows what it wants to say and why it wants to say it. It goes beyond pointing out comparisons to using them to change the reader?s vision. Organization: Every paragraph supports the main argument in a coherent way, and clear transitions point out why each new paragraph follows the previous one. Evidence: Concrete examples from texts support general points about how those texts work. The paper provides the source and significance of each piece of evidence. Mechanics: The paper uses correct spelling and punctuation. In short, it generally exhibits a good command of academic prose.

A mediocre paper:

Argument: The paper replaces an argument with a topic, giving a series of related observations without suggesting a logic for their presentation or a reason for presenting them. Organization: The observations of the paper are listed rather than organized. Often, this is a symptom of a problem in argument, as the framing of the paper has not provided a path for evidence to follow. Evidence: The paper offers very little concrete evidence, instead relying on plot summary or generalities to talk about a text. If concrete evidence is present, its origin or significance is not clear. Mechanics: The paper contains frequent errors in syntax, agreement, pronoun reference, and/or punctuation.

An appallingly bad paper:

Argument: The paper lacks even a consistent topic, providing a series of largely unrelated observations. Organization: The observations are listed rather than organized, and some of them do not appear to belong in the paper at all. Both paper and paragraphs lack coherence. Evidence: The paper offers no concrete evidence from the texts or misuses a little evidence. Mechanics: The paper contains constant and glaring errors in syntax, agreement, reference, spelling, and/or punctuation.


Descriptive essay.


E. GRAMMAR (Same as before except for the number of mistakes permitted)

1. 12+ errors. 2. 9-11 errors. 3. 4-7 errors. 4. 1-3 errors.


How to Write an Evaluation Essay

Evaluation essay writing guide.

The main purpose of writing an evaluation essay is to present an overall view of the quality of a particular item, service, or business. It is natural for this type of essay to feature some element of the writer’s opinion, but when done correctly an it should not come across as opinionated.

When learning how to write this type of paper one of the most important skills to master is producing an evaluation that is unbiased and reasoned. Let’s look at some of the steps to complete the task.

Steps for Writing an Evaluation Essay

We’ve put together a brief outline of some of the most important steps to help with producing a well-structured paper.

A Closer Look at Criteria, Judgements & Evidence

At the core of every evaluation essay there are three important elements – criteria, judgements and evidence. Let’s explore these elements in more detail.

Criteria The criteria that you choose should establish what the ideal is for the product, service or brand that you are evaluating. They will help to demonstrate what should be expected as an ideal example of what should be expected. Think about the best possible example of a product of service of the same type. What would be their best characteristics? For example, for a hotel you would expect great accomodations, cleanliness, value for money and excellent service. Once you have those benckmarks in place they can be used to evaluate any hotel.

Judgement The judgement aspect is where you establish whether or not the benchmarks have been met. Sticking with our hotel example, you might start with judging whether or not the hotel meets the benchmark of having great accomodations. Does it meet, or exceed the quality you expect? Or does it fall short? You can then proceed with the other criteria.

Evidence Remember that you must provide clues to advocate your judgements. In our hotel example, if you make the judgement that the quality of food does not meet expectations, then you should be prepared to provide evidence to support why this conclusion has been drawn.

When structuring your essay, it is usual for each paragraph to deal with a different criterion. In that paragraph you should fully explain the criterion, make the relevant judgements and offer supporting proofs.

Evaluation Essay VS Review

One of the most common mistakes that students make with the mentioned type of paper is that they assume an evaluation is the same as writing a review. Although the two types of paper do have some similarities, there are also a number of differences that set them apart. The table below highlights some of those differences.

Tips for Writing a Great Evaluation Essay

Here are a few additional tips that will help you to produce a great evaluation essay that people will enjoy reading:

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    Criteria of a Perfect Essay · Ensure you have a thesis and thesis statement. · Have a well-structured essay. · Provide evidence for your arguments.


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    Organization: Every paragraph supports the main argument in a coherent way, and clear transitions point out why each new paragraph follows the previous one.

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