Categories for grading papers


Category 1: Clarity and Strength of Thesis           0-5 points 

LOOK FOR:  thesis is interesting, takes a stand or proposes a solution, is underlined, shows up early in the intro

Lower the score if : thesis is not underlined, shows up late in the intro, barely sounds like an argument, is too rooted on opinion or personal choice or is not part of title or introduction



Category 2: Thesis breaks down into SUPPORTING AND RELEVANT Facts:   0-10 points

LOOK FOR: Topic sentences of each paragraph DIRECTLY support/argue the thesis; Each paragraph is arguing something related to thesis, doesn’t meander onto other subject matter, and is clear and true


Lower the score if: topic sentences of paragraphs (usually but not always the first sentence of a paragraph) are not arguing or making a point about the thesis, paper subtopics are straying from the approved topic, are poorly organized, meander in subject; HAVE NOTHING to do with the thesis (even if otherwise the examples are good)


Category 3: Paper is organized into paragraphs of reasonable size:          0-5 points

LOOK FOR: paper clearly divided into paragraphs that make sense, if paragraphs have just one main idea and then not more than 3 examples supporting it, if paragraphs flow into each other (occasional use of transition words)

Lower the score if: if there are huge paragraphs that could be broken down into smaller paragraphs, if there is more than one main idea to a paragraph;


Category 4: Spelling:         0-5 points 

LOOK FOR: signs of proofreading (few misspellings/less than 2 or 3)

Lower the score if: many words are misspelled (subtract 1 pt for every 2 spelling problems)



Category 5: Sentences:    0-5 points 

LOOK FOR: sentences are clear and of varied lengths and types; if sentences flow together into paragraphs; if punctuation (commas and periods) are used correctly

Lower the score if: sentences are run-ons or awkward; sentences use punctuations poorly or end in the wrong place; if there are sentence fragments; sentences make no sense; if you read sentence out loud and it sounds poorly


Category 6: Grammar &Words:  0-5 points        

LOOK FOR: verbs and noun agree; tense is consistent; words are used correctly in their meanings, etc

Lower the score if: poor/wrong words used/misused; word capitalization problems, grammar and syntax errors; signs of poor or no proofreading (subtract 1 point for every 2 incidents or so)


Category 7: Title Page & Paper format:  0-5 points    

LOOK FOR: title page format (centered: Title of paper, your name, class section, date); paragraphs indented, has thesis exactly as approved by teacher underlined (by hand is ok) within the intro, has a work cited page at the end in MLA format; is typed; is double spaced; is in TIMES ROMAN or ARIAL 12 font. NOTE: title does NOT have to be the thesis, but should give the reader an idea about what the paper will argue.


Lower the score if: is not double spaced (-2 pts); has stains on it (-2 pts); the text is too light to read easily(-2 pts); thesis not underlined in the introduction (-5 pts); has an incorrect formatted title page (-2 pts); has no Works Cited page ((-2 pts); is in a BIGGER font type (-5 pts)



Category 8: Examples/Evidence should support the major idea/major point of the particular paragraph          0-10 points

LOOK FOR: A fair amount of direct quotes as “evidence” in paragraphs (as “E” part of TPEO, TPEOEO, or TPEOEOEO); examples are relevant to the paragraph’s specific subtopic/idea


Lower the score if: irrelevant or poor examples are used; few or weak quotes/paraphrases; using the same example over and over again; paragraphs are summary or poorly supported by evidence



Category 9: Introduction   0-5 points

LOOK FOR: interesting, brief intro; if introduction states your thesis (underlined) exactly as approved


Lower the score if: there is no introductory paragraph (-5 pts); entire intro is longer than a page (-4 pts); the introduction is irrelevant, feels like padding ( -2 to -5 pts), intro is about a different topic than your approved thesis or introduction is poor or makes no sense ( -1 to -5 pts)



Category 10:   Conclusion          0-5 points

LOOK FOR: Conclusion using any of the techniques talked about in class, for example, restates thesis, restates your proof; offers a what if? etc; offers an interesting possibility; wraps up your paper; wraps up your argument


Lower the score if: there is no conclusion (-5 pt); the conclusion is irrelevant/about a different topic than thesis/ title/topic (-1 to -4 pts); conclusion is poor or doesn’t feel like an end(-1 to -4 pts); conclusion uses “I” a lot (-1 pts)




Category 11:  Quotes used/Citations format 0-5 points 

LOOK FOR: min. of 4 quotes/paraphrases with citations for 1st paper/ or min. of 7 quotes/paraphrases for 2nd paper; actual quotes used from sources; there are more direct quotes than paraphrases; proper citation format used; anything that is EXPERT KNOWLEDGE has a citation giving its sources


Lower the score if: not enough citations/attribution given even when the knowledge was obviously from an expert

source or paraphrased (-3 to -5 pts); if direct quotations are not in quotation marks ( -1 pt per occurrence); if citation format is incorrect or incomplete ( -1 pt per occurrence);


1) 1st paper and has just 3 quotes/citations (-1 point)                 1) 2nd paper and has just 6 quotes/citations (-1 point)

2) 1st paper and has just 2 quotes/citations (-10 points) 2) 2nd paper and has 4-5 quotes/citations (-10 points)

3) 1st paper and has 0-1 quotes/citations (-30 points)                3) 2nd paper and has 0-3 quotes/citations (-30 points




Category 12:  Meets Required Length        0-5 points

LOOK FOR: paper is 4-6 pages (1st paper) or 6-8 pages (2nd paper), NOT including title page and source page


Lower the score if: uses obvious padding techniques like larger fonts or 2.5 spacing or bulky irrelevant quotes or repetition; (for 1st paper), subtract 1 pt if  3rd page does not reach bottom , subtract 5 pts if less than 3 pages;
(for final paper), subtract 1 pt if  6th page does not reach bottom, subtract 5 pts if less than 6 pages;




Category 13: Cohesiveness of paper/the paper as a whole        0-10 points

LOOK FOR: Paper makes sense; sounds like a single paper, not scattered; flows from point to point;  uses transition words between para. but does not abuse them; argues the thesis rather than just strung together facts


Lower the score from 1-10pts if: paper seems to start and stop; radically changes style in the paper, is simply badly written; tries to make one point but doesn’t support it or meanders onto a differently related topic  paper;

is informative (too much background, history and definitions etc) rather than arguing the thesis (- 5 to -10 pts)



Category 14: Works Cited  (Works Cited in MLA format) 0-5 points

LOOK FOR: minimum 3 sources (1st paper) or 8 sources (2nd paper); minimum 1 book (1st paper) or 2 books (2nd paper); in MLA format; higher score if more than the minimum required number of sources; each source being used at least ONCE in the paper as a citation.


Lower the score if: if all sources beyond minimum books are websites (-5 pts); Works Cited page is not at all in MLA format (-5 pts); subtract 5 pts for each source missing/below the minimum required (for example, subtract 5 pts if 7 sources for final paper); subtract 10 pts for each missing minimum required book); subtract from 1-5 pts depending on how many MLA format problems or incomplete MLA entries on Works Cited page (eg doesn’t give website address or name of book author)



Category 15: Details appear in each paragraph/

                        "meaty paragraphs full of content": 0-10 points

LOOK FOR: most paragraphs have DETAILS and SPECIFIC EXAMPLES: statistics, quotes, testimonials, figures, numbers, dates, etc.  Higher scores if many quotes used throughout paper.


Lower the score if paragraphs are summaries, with few direct details and exact examples (-1 to -8 pts); shows no research or thinking/facts used could be written based only on opinion and belief (-5 pts to -10 pts)



Category 16:  Strength of Arguments  0-5 points

Look For: arguments are well phrased, logical, reasonable, well supported and defended in paper.

Lower the score if emotional language or non-argument based appeals are used outside the intro or conclusion, if arguments are fallacies, especially if not backed up by example and defense (-1 pt per weak/unsupported argument; -5 pts if all arguments are emotional/weak), “I” is used in body of paper, for example “I think” or “I feel” (-1 pt for 1 to 2 occurrences, -2 to -5 for medium to severe use of “I” in the body of the paper)



OTHER PENALTIES: In addition to any points lost in categories above, subtract points below:

1) No Works Cited Page at all (-20 pts)       3) Not at all in MLA format:  (-10 pts)

2) No Title page at all (-5 pts)                       4) source on Works Cited page NEVER USED in paper (-10 pts each)

5) PLAGIARISM or paper topic is changed without prior approval by instructor (F/Zero).


EXTRA CREDIT:  Instructor reserves the right to give up to 5 points of extra credit for: clever/difficult topics or arguments, great improvement, particularly challenging sources used.

A = 100 – 90 pts         B = 89-77 pts              C = 76-67 pts              D = 66-57 pts              F= less than 57 points



First Paper (4-6 pages)


LAST DAY TO CHANGE/LOCK TOPIC: ________        DUE DATE: _________

EARLY DATE (+5 pts) _________      1st Late date(-5pts): _____    LAST LATE DATE: (-10 pts)__________


0) 4-6 pages, not including title page or Works Cited and worth _______% of the grade.


1) Paper must be Argumentative


2) Paper topics can be from the list of 100 topics or of the student’s choosing, narrowed to 6th level and approved. 


4) 3 sources required: minimum 1 book, remaining two sources can be magazines or websites.   


5) Will be checked for plagiarism.  Plagiarism can lead to an instant F on the paper.



ENG102 FINAL PAPER (6-8 pgs) : requirements

LAST DAY TO CHANGE/LOCK TOPIC: ________        DUE DATE: _________

EARLY DATE (+5 pts) _________      LAST LATE DATE: (-10 pts)__________


* 6-8 pages (not including cover page, works cited page, and honor code) and worth _____% of the grade


* Paper must be Argumentative


* Paper topics can be from the list of 100 topics or of the student’s choosing, narrowed to 6th level and approved. 


* 8 sources minimum (including 2 books minimum)


* Honor Code must be signed and attached to paper. 


*Graded more strictly than 1st paper (see first paper’s score after the slash)


* Works Cited page must be in strict MLA format


Has at least ONE paragraph (right before the conclusion) defending against an OPPOSITE POINT OF VIEW: defend against counterarguments (counterarguments can be opposition point of view, different view-point, limits of budget and reality, difference between ideal & practice, etc). 


Will be checked for plagiarism.  Plagiarism can lead to an instant F on the course and a possible visit to the dean/potential expulsion.

NAME: _____________________________________   Sec # ______________ DATE____________




TO DO: Either by a friend, family member, or by yourself, go thru your final paper and give yourself a grade for each category and then total up to a final grade estimate.  This is not the teacher’s grade, but merely an assessment by someone to guide you and hopefully allow you to proof and fix your paper.


Give a point value for each Category.  Add up for estimated/guessed FINAL GRADE.

Category 1   (0-5):_______
Clarity & Strength of Thesis


Category 7   (0-5):_______
Paper Format


Category 13   (0-10):_______

Paper as a whole


Category 2   (0-10):_______

Thesis breaks down into supporting & relevant facts


Category 8   (0-10):_______

Examples/evidence support per paragraph

Category 14 (0-5):_______

Works Cited/MLA

Category 3   (0-5):_______

Paper is organized into paragraphs/size


Category 9   (0-5):_______


Category 15 (0-10):_______

Details/meaty paras full of contents

Category 4  (0-5):_______



Category 10   (0-5):_______


Category 16 (0-5): ___________

Strength of Arguments

Category 5   (0-5):_______



Category 11   (0-5):_______

Quotes used/enough attribution


Category 6  (0-5):_______

Grammar & Words

Category 12   (0-5):_______

Meets required length



FINAL GRADE ___________





One of the requirements of submitting your final paper, in light of what you should have learned from the first paper, is signing an HONOR CODE statement of understanding of Plagiarism. Basically this entails:
1)Reading the Honor code statement below;
2)Returning this Honor code statement with "YES" written next to each of the blanks by "I understand" sections AND signing your full name and date at the bottom of the document .

Honor Code
Phoenix College
and the English Dept, and specifically, the instructor of the ENG102 class you are currently taking, reserve the right/wish to make you, the student, aware of a plagiarism honor code.

For ENG102:
Plagiarism is defined as:
1)cut and pasting text from a webpage or other source without citation or doing so, even with citations, if done to an excessive extent (a few cut and pasted paragraphs to pages cut and pasted).

2)Taking ideas, sentences, details, case studies, facts, etc from a source without enough or with no attribution/citation.

3)Submitting a portion or total paper that was written by someone else, purchased, or downloaded from the internet.

NOTE: You may decline to sign off on this honor code, but as it is a requirement for the final paper, you must then immediately drop the course.
INSTRUCTIONS: After reading, please write "YES" next to each of the "I understand" statements below to indicate your understanding and acceptance of the terms as applicable to your ENG102 papers. Then Sign your full name and date below. Finally, send this entire statement with your "YES" agreements and name (as electronic signature) and date as email to the instructor.
1)___ I understand that I am responsible for knowing when to cite, citing enough content, reading/reviewing lessons on citations, asking questions (in class or via email) if unsure when/how to cite;
2)___ I understand the consequences of plagiarism. I understand that unintentional plagiarism is still considered plagiarism;
3)___ I understand that I authorize the instructor to apply techniques of detecting plagiarism, including but not limited to, programs such as EVE2, on my paper or any portion of it. I understand that my sources and citations may be checked for accuracy, validated, and otherwise verified;
4)____ I understand penalties for plagiarism can range from an F on the assignment, to an F for the entire course, to other penalties as described in the student handbook regarding plagiarism.


Print NAME:___________________________________________________
SIGN NAME: _________________________________ DATE: _________________________________