Compsci 182s, Paper Criteria
paper will be an argumentative essay that is 4-6 pages long. A page
longer is fine, 10 pages is not fine, three pages is not fine. You
should create a thesis topic and support the topic with class readings
and your own readings/research.
Grading on the 1-4 Scale
There are three categories each with a scale of 1-4
points (it's difficult to impossible to get a zero unless there's really
no effort in the category.)
In each category, the grade of 1-4 are assigned as follows:
- 4 means excellent. The category is mastered
or covered at a high level (this corresponds to a grade of A).
- 3 means good. The category is covered well, but
there is real room for improvement and something that would make the
coverage an A is missing (this corresponds to a B).
- 2 means fair. There is effort, but it's adequate
and not yet attaining good (this corresponds to a grade of C).
- 1 means poor. There are very serious flaws in
mastery or coverage (this is a D).
The first reading
After one reading the author's message and purpose for writing are
clear. Relevant readings and literature are cited and the author
understands the issues and has conveyed this understanding. The reader
is convinced that the author has surveyed some relevant areas and has
tried to use the knowledge gained from the survey in writing the
paper. There are no serious flaws in facts or understanding.
The content and thesis
A careful (or second) reading helps in providing grades for this area.
The thesis of the paper is clear and well-developed. Arguments relevant
to the thesis and contributing to the paper form the foundation on which
the work stands. Non-relevant or uninsightful examples are few (ideally
are missing completely). The author has provided useful references that
distinguish the work from the ordinary, and used these references to
cover areas relevant to the paper. The author considers alternatives to
the thesis and argues against them in the paper.
The organization and mechanics
The writing in the paper is powerful and good. Paragraphs are
well-structured and the paper flows well. Transitions between sections
and/or paragraphs are thoughtful, clear, and contribute to the paper.
Spelling, grammar, and writing are done according to the style of the
subject. If there are tense problems, comma issues, run-on sentences,
poor grammar, then it will be difficult to earn a three in this
Grades will be based on an average of the three criteria above, yielding
a grade in the 1-4 range. Here's another way of looking at the numbers.
Outline of Scoring
- 3.5-4: Excellent paper (some kind of A)
The paper is well-written, goes beyond the superficial
in analysis and understanding, shows evidence of
reading and understanding beyond what has been discussed
in class, addresses the topic incisively.
- 3-3.5: Good paper (some kind of B)
Reasonable thesis statement and solid supporting arguments,
but there's a lack of incisiveness, or the paper
is formulaic. The arguments may be superficial, or some
relevant and important point
may be overlooked.
- below 3: Poor paper (some kind of C)
Thesis is not well-defined, paper is hard to read, references
- 0 Not done or equivalent, F
How we Evaluate Papers
As an example of good and not-so-good papers, consider the paper topic
from Spring 2009:
To write the first paper you'll use one of two articles that originally
appeared in the Wall Street Journal as a starting point
You should likely search for commentary on these articles since it's not
clear that the reporters really got the technical side of things
right. You'll have to judge and figure that out.
You must create a thesis topic, you're writing an argumentative essay.
Support your argument using class readings and your own research.
a not-so-good paper
a good paper