Grade
1st 4w
2nd 4w
3rd 4w
4th 4w
Description
9
100
A+
100
A+
100
A+
100
A+
These essays are clearly outstanding. They offer creative and original ideas and insights that are extensively elaborated and refreshing. They go beyond general commentary, referring to the texts, explicitly or implicitly, offering specific details (blending quotes where appropriate) to support their analyses; they offer compelling connections between technique and effect. The introduction grabs the reader’s attention, and the writer makes use of transitional sentences and clauses to navigate ideas. The conclusion discusses the significance of the thesis. The writer makes use of sophisticated vocabulary, sentence variety, parallel structure, modification. The language is concise and lucid, verbs are active, and punctuation is effective.

Essays earning a score of 9 meet the criteria for 8 papers and are especially sophisticated in their argument or demonstrate particularly impressive control of language.
8
97
A+
96
A
95
A
95
A
7
95
A
92
A
88
B+
87
B+
These essays are proficient: they provide a clear thesis with organized paragraphs. The ideas are developed, but there may be problems with the textual examples. These essays refer to the texts, explicitly or implicitly, but offer less detailed and/or less convincing explanations. More often, the quotes are not blended into the analysis. The introduction attempts to entice the reader but needs additional work. The writer makes use of transitions, but the transitions may be rudimentary rather than subtle. The conclusion provides more summary rather than insight. Although the essay may be mechanically accurate, more attention should be given to sentence variety, precise vocabulary, active verbs, and focus.

Essays earning a score of 7 meet the criteria for 6 papers but are distinguished by a more complete or more purposeful argument.
6
89
B+
86
B
84
B-
83
B-
5
85
B
83
B
80
C
75
C-
These essays are acceptable but not impressive. They provide a thesis that contains minimal analysis with little insight (e.g., restating thesis with reasons – no claim). The analysis tends to border on summary, thus the writer offers quoted material in place of analysis. Generally speaking, these essays are superficial. The introduction needs attention – maybe a tighter connection between the strategy and the thesis. The writer has made some attempt at organization, but the organization does not link the ideas with the thesis. The conclusion only summarizes main points and/or the thesis. This writer should focus more on revision: topic sentences, sentence variety, redundancy, punctuation, weak verbs, wordiness, transition, vocabulary.
4
77
C
74
C-
69
D
68
D
These essays are unacceptable for a college-bound student. The thesis often restates the question without providing a claim, direction, or organizational pattern. The ideas are not developed and they offer little or no textual evidence (although there may be summary). The essay may be illogical or immature, marked by a less than adequate reading or analysis of the text or subject. This flaw in logic often leads to organizational problems. The introduction does not interest the reader in the topic, and the conclusion, if present, does not advance the idea any further. Although the writer’s ideas may be conveyed, the essay does not demonstrate control of sentence variety, punctuation, vocabulary, or verb choice.

Essays earning a score of 3 meet the criteria for 4 papers but demonstrate less success in support or less control of writing.
3
75
C-
69
D
59
F
55
F
2
69
D
50
F
40
F
40
F
These essays are unacceptable for high school students. These essays don’t attempt to establish a thesis; they may summarize or make the most general observations about the texts. There is little evidence or textual support, and, if offered, the support does not relate to a clear purpose. The essay may be one paragraph. There is not a clear introduction and/or conclusion. Often these essays are described as “vague” or “simple.” These problematic essays are compounded by serious errors in sentence structure, paragraphing, transition, punctuation, and vocabulary.
1
39
F
39
F
39
F
30
F
0
0
0
0
0
No attempt, or a completely off-topic response.