The Evaluator's Checklist
1. While not necessary, you should consider reading the essay aloud to the student. If the reading reveals weaknesses in logic and grammar, have the student revise the paper before any further evaluation. As you read the paper, the student himself will discover his own errors or lack of logic.
2. The second reading is to find failure in communication.
Is there a weak thesis or, even worse, no thesis? Do the topic sentences fail to prove the thesis? Is the support just vague generalizations and not specific? Are pronouns used for subjects or objects? Are vague nouns used such as "person," "thing," "society," and "event"?
3. Use a check mark to indicate lines that have grammatical or spelling errors. The student is now required to discover his own errors without the educator's "correcting" them for him.
4. You should always create a short paragraph that will serve as the end note.
Explain what the student is doing right. Tell the student what you would liked to have known more about in his paper, but that he failed to say.Find one--two at the most--concepts that the student needs to do for the rewrite or next essay.End with an encouraging note. Tell the student how pleased you are that he has progressed, how you enjoyed reading this particular essay, or some other appropriate remark. The evaluation ends on a positive note.
5. Assign a letter grade. The following criteria are used by colleges when assigning a grade to the paper. Papers are evaluated for content and organization, as well as for grammar and mechanics. Most college professors assign a failure to any paper with three major errors in grammar. Some colleges are even stricter regarding grammar.
6. Miscellaneous considerations
Papers should be double-spaced, even when the student writes by hand. The space between the lines allows you to place your comments near the student's idea that needs attention.Always have the student rewrite the paper. Students need to learn that the first written product is always a rough draft.
The A essay:
has a strong central idea (thesis) that is related to the assignment;has a clear, logical organization with well developed major points that are supported with concrete and specific evidence;uses effective transitions between ideas;
uses appropriate words composing sophisticated sentences;
expresses ideas freshly and vividly;
and is free of mechanical, grammatical, and spelling errors.
The B essay:
has a strong central idea that is related to the assignment;
has a clear, logical organization with developed major points, but the supporting evidence may not be especially vivid or thoughtful;
uses appropriate words accurately, but seldom exhibits an admirable style while the sentences tend to be less sophisticated;
and has few mechanical, grammatical, and spelling errors that do not distract from the overall message.
The C essay:
has a central idea that is presented in such a way that the reader understands the writer's purpose;
has an organization that reveals a plan, but the evidence tends to be general rather than specific or concrete;
uses common words accurately, but sentences tend to be simplistic and unsophisticated;
and one or two severe mechanical or grammatical errors.
The F essay will exhibit one or more of the following problems:
lacks a central idea (no thesis);
lacks clear organization;
is not related to the assignment;
fails to develop main points, or develops them in a repetitious or illogical way;
fails to use common words accurately;
uses a limited vocabulary in that chosen words fail to serve the writer's purpose;
or has three or more mechanical or grammatical errors.
Major errors in grammar: The following are considered major errors in grammar.
Comma slice, or fused sentence
Pronoun-antecedent agreement or pronoun reference