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Summary and Resources

To determine points or a grade, you should focus on the main features of a student writing sample rather than solely on one aspect, such as the thesis statement or grammar. For example, you would evaluate its response to the prompt, analysis, evidence, and structure. Holistic assessments of student writing are useful because they value the effectiveness of the whole piece—its argument, evidence, logic, language, grammar, mechanics—more than its individual parts. You will also want to use a grading rubric of some sort to steer your grading.

Information for Grading Student Writing

Follow the UCLA General Catalog whole-grade descriptions for undergraduate work, which you can modify with a plus (+) or minus (-). You should flesh out what these general categories specifically mean for each assignment:


Here is a generic grading rubric, which you should tailor for your own class:

A (4.0) range

-strong, clear thesis

-effective and varied use of evidence that is analyzed not merely presented

-lucid development of ideas

-logical structure

-smooth, engaging prose

-few minor grammatical or technical errors

B (3.0) range

-clear but predictable thesis

-inclusion of evidence that may be under-analyzed

-brief development of ideas

-serviceable structure

-overall clear prose, with some minor or a few major errors

C (2.0) range

-unfocused thesis

-little inclusion of evidence to support claims

-underdevelopment and/or repetition of ideas

-disorganized structure

-frequent minor and/or major errors that hinder readability

D (1.0) range

-major misunderstanding of prompt and/or material

-major errors in written execution



As you’re grading your student’s work, you may come across a paper that’s good enough to be published. The quality may be a tribute to the student’s talents and your teaching. But it may indicate that the piece has been published. Glance at the next section for how to spot and deal with plagiarism.


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