Below is the official grading scale used to evaluate your papers for this
course. Intermediate grades such as A- and B+ are awarded for papers with a
mixture of characteristics. Otherwise excellent papers that fail to answer the
assigned question may suffer considerably, as this is an important
characteristic for B papers, and even C papers must give at least a partial
- Everything required for a B paper, plus
- Thesis is original and interesting.
- Substantial engagement with key themes of the course as a whole.
- Use of assigned readings from many different sections of the course.
- Use of relevant additional sources, particularly from reliable printed
sources such as academic books, newspapers, and reviewed articles.
- Thesis is clearly stated, coherent, and well supported by evidence.
(It may lack originality)
- Writing is clear, effective and well organized. Good use of
paragraphs, and the argument flows smoothly though the paper.
- Intellectual engagement with at least four different readings from two
different weeks of class.
- The paper is more than just summary of the assigned readings, and
makes an intelligent presentation of the readings and ideas most suitable
to support its thesis.
- The paper fully answers the question posed, including all required
- There are no spelling or grammatical errors. The paper is carefully
proofed and meets all mechanics specified.
- Every source used is cited fully and correctly. Sources are
given for all facts not well known to the general reader.
- Few spelling or grammatical errors. Paper meets all or almost
all of the mechanical requirements.
- Some kind of thesis is presented, but only fitfully reflected in
the structure of the paper. Thesis may be unsupported by evidence, or
- Largely accurate reference to some readings, but not necessarily
to the most suitable ones or to the most relevant ideas within those
readings. Readings will usually reflect a narrower range of ideas than for
a B paper.
- Little or no substantial intellectual involvement with the
issues of the course.
- Paper provides at least a partial answer to the assigned
- Thesis is entirely lacking, incoherent or disconnected from
- At least some assigned readings are referenced, but narrowly or
- Writing may be unclear or badly organized. Often a significant
number of grammatical errors. However, it possible to figure out what most
sentences are supposed to mean.
- Paper has a passing connection to the assigned topic but does
not provide a satisfactory answer to the question posed.
- Paper fails to satisfy even the requirements for D above.
- Any paper more than 5 days late will be assigned an F regardless
- Any plagiarism will result in a grade of F for both the paper and
the course as a whole, and submission of a formal report to the appropriate