The 'A' paper: A+ 93-100 A 86-92 A- 80-85
Rare. The 'A' paper has a perceptive and
incisive thesis, richly developed, and an organization to match. Many
sources are employed in developing the key argument and the views of major
authors are compared and contrasted. 'A' papers usually reflect an original
synthesis of the best literature on the subject and often reflect the
writer's ability to think critically beyond the existing categories of
debate. A much deeper, more nuanced understanding of the subject matter
is in evidence throughout the paper. Stylistically there are few, if any,
errors in grammar or punctuation. The writing style is interesting but
not intrusive. Writing is characterized by skillful transitions between
paragraphs and arguments, and by well-chosen vocabulary and variety in
sentence structure. Technical terminology is used appropriately, not ostentatiously.
In format (citations, bibliography and title page) the paper is virtually
The 'B' paper: B+ 77-79 B 74-76 B- 70-73
Above average. The 'B' paper has a clearly
presented and conceptually defensible argument. In comparison with 'A'
papers, the writing does not reflect as well-developed an ability to compare
and contrast intellectual approaches in the relevant academic literature.
'B' papers reflect a generally accurate understanding of most of the relevant
points in a given academic debate and include a well-developed bibliography,
but do not go beyond depiction of the debate under study towards new,
critical insights. The body of the essay is well-organized and provides
adequate support for the elaboration of the argument. There may be problems
with minor elements of grammar, punctuation and composition. The style
is somewhat individualized. The paper is coherent, with appropriate diction
and exhibits some variety in sentence construction. The format, although
not flawless, is superior.
The 'C' paper: C+ 67-69 C 64-66
Standard. In the 'C' paper, the thesis is valid and
defensible and logically expressed, while the development of the argument
and presentation of evidence is sufficient to support the claims being
made. The paper reflects a clear effort at having read much of the relevant
academic literature on a given topic or problem, but may suffer from notable
gaps in research or comprehension of issues. 'C' papers often reflect
only a single intellectual approach or perspective that is being applied
to the issue under review. .Some logical contradictions or evidential
problems may exist in the paper. Problems with grammar, mechanics, and
composition are apparent but do not interfere with the logic of the argument
unduly. The style is not individualized, yet the diction is generally
suitable. Sentence patterns are usually correct. Citation style and bibliographic
format are reasonably accurate.
The 'D' range: 0 50-59
A bare pass. Usually reflects an inadequate level
of research, weak comprehension of issues and inadequate intellectual
effort. The paper may have a fairly well-developed bibliography but clearly
the author has not had enough time to assimilate all the ideas and concepts
in the works listed. The paper is replete with problems and errors in
grammar, spelling, punctuation and format, but either (a) the ideas and
concepts presented and analyzed are strong enough to salvage the paper
from the 'F category, and/ or (b) the paper represents a major improvement
over earlier failing work, which the instructor wishes to recognize.
Written work that is failed.
F less than 50
The 'F' paper either has no thesis or a thesis which
is insupportably vague, broad or inaccurate. The topic chosen by the writer
is often (a) superficial and analytically inconsequential, and/or (b)
far too broad and ambitious to be handled in a term research paper, and/or
(c) highly derivative in content. The material discussed is drawn from
very few sources. Bibliographic research is woefully inadequate. Understanding
of key issues is poor to non-existent. Development of the argument is
poor. The evidence in support of the major theme is unreliable, unconvincing
or inaccurate. In grammar mechanics and composition errors abound. Essay
organization is confused or illogical. Inappropriate diction and frequent
sentence errors characterize the writing style. Technical terminology
and concepts are not used helpfully-or not used at all.
* This description of grading criteria
is an amended and expanded version of guidelines used by Prof. Cynthia
Flood. Department of English, Langara College.