Grading criteria

The documents below (all from Northwestern) provide examples for instructors seeking methods to systematize their grading of papers and to explain their grading criteria to students. The documents illustrate three principles about grading criteria: (1) The criteria depend on the nature of the assignment (e.g., reflective essay, technical report).  (2) The criteria are grouped in categories (e.g., clear purpose, logical organization, grammar/style).  (3) The criteria can be presented to students in different forms (e.g., table, list, etc.). 

Analytical and research paper grading guide
Details the criteria--including compelling argument, logical organization, awareness of audience, sophisticated style, and evidence of revision--used to determine grades

Grading criteria for a reflective essay
A list of grading criteria distributed to students before they revise their first assignment, a reflective essay.  The handout is intended both to inform students of what I will be looking for in assessing their revisions and to reinforce the general suggestions I gave them in our conferences about their first drafts.

Grading criteria freshman engineering essays (doc)
A two-column chart, with evaluation criteria listed in one column and space for specific comments in the other.  Each student receives this chart back with his or her graded essay.

ESL grading symbols
What is most useful about this handout on symbols for ESL (English as a Second Language) writers is that it divides the errors into those that interfere with a reader comprehending the writer’s intended meaning and the more superficial errors.  

Criteria for letter grades
Grading standards that can be distributed to students and then referred to in giving  students feedback on working drafts so they can understand what they need to do to improve their writing.

Freshman seminar grading chart
A chart that explains the criteria (purpose, content, organization, mechanics, and style) used to determine grades.

Freshman seminar grading sheet final essay
A detailed checklist of strengths and areas for improvement returned to each student with his or her graded paper.

Freshman seminar assessment rubric
A rubric developed by Northwestern's WCAS freshman assessment group to assess how well the freshman seminar program meets its goal of improving student writing.  Instructors may find it a useful way to evaluate each student's writing on individual papers and throughout the course.