Department of Writing

Grade Abstract

Grading Criteria for A, B, C, and D Portfolios

Characteristics of A Portfolios

Content and Research

  • The portfolio consistently engages the interest of intelligent and sophisticated college-level readers.
  • Papers effectively address and engage their likely and intended audiences.
  • Papers succeed at accomplishing challenging purposes.
  • Each paper maintains a consistent focus on the main claim or goal for the paper.
  • Each paper develops its focus with significant and interesting discussion, details, and examples, including graphics when useful.
  • The portfolio clearly demonstrates the writer's information literacy and ability to use college-level academic research as a significant means to develop the writer's ideas.
  • The portfolio clearly demonstrates the writer's ability to introduce and integrate material from relevant outside sources in ways that advance the purposes for the writing and meet the expectations of intelligent and sophisticated college-level readers.

Organization

  • Titles and opening sections of papers inform readers appropriately of the topic, purpose, and focus of the paper in ways that motivate readers to look forward to reading further.
  • Paragraphs are purposefully organized and substantially developed with supporting evidence, examples, and reasoning.
  • Paragraphs break information into parts that contribute to a greater understanding of the whole.
  • Readers can easily see how the order in which information appears supports the focus and purpose of the papers.
  • The papers lead readers through the order of the discussion in ways that are explicit, clear, and purposeful, including effective transition devices when needed.
  • Readers can see a meaningful pattern in the order of the information as a whole.
  • Closing sections give readers a satisfied sense that the purpose of the writing has been achieved.

Style

  • Word choice is precise, interesting, and appropriate to the writing task and audience.
  • Language is mature and purposefully controlled.
  • Sentences are clear, logical, enjoyable, and easily understood by college-level readers.
  • Sentences often make active statements and use efficient and effective modification.
  • Sentence structure varies according to the content, purpose, and audience.
  • A consistent voice complements the papers' purposes, fits their genres, and appeals to their likely and intended readers.
  • Information and quotations from sources are integrated skillfully into the writer's own sentences and paragraphs.

Mechanics

  • Format is consistent with the detailed requirements of an applicable style guide, such as the MLA or APA style guides.
  • References to outside sources are cited and documented according to the appropriate style guide carefully enough that readers can easily identify the sources that have been quoted or referenced.
  • Problems in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or usage do not interfere with communication.
  • Editing shows respectful and effective attention to the desire of readers to read without being interrupted by unexpected errors or problems with documentation and format. 

 

Characteristics of B Portfolios

Content and Research

  • The portfolio connects with the interest of intelligent and sophisticated college-level readers.
  • Papers clearly address the expectations of their likely and intended audiences.
  • Papers accomplish interesting purposes or make strong attempts to accomplish challenging purposes.
  • Each paper maintains a consistent, single focus.
  • Each paper develops a focus with fitting and relevant discussions, details, and examples, including graphics when useful.
  • The portfolio demonstrates the writer's ability to use college-level academic research clearly and purposefully to develop the writer's ideas and improve the papers in which research is used.
  • The portfolio demonstrates the writer's ability to introduce and integrate material from relevant outside sources in ways that enhance the accomplishment of goals and purposes.

Organization

  • Titles and opening sections of papers are well-chosen and appropriate to the topic and focus of the papers.
  • Paragraphs are clearly organized and adequately developed with supporting evidence, examples, and reasoning, though some paragraphs may lack richness of detail or evidence.
  • Paragraphs break information into parts that make sense and assist effective reading.
  • Readers can identify the focus of each paper and follow it through the entire discussion.
  • Readers can identify how the order in which information appears supports the focus and purpose of the papers.
  • Overall patterns in the order of presentation make sense.
  • Transitions between and within paragraphs advance the writer’s ideas.
  • Closing sections give readers a clear sense that the writer is ending the discussion at a good place.

Style

  • Word choice is generally appropriate to the writing task and audience.
  • Language is generally mature and purposefully controlled.
  • Sentences are generally clear, logical, and readable.
  • Sentences typically make active statements, extended by efficient and effective modification.
  • Sentences vary in structure and only occasionally are choppy, rambling, or repetitive.
  • The voice in each paper is consistent and appropriate for the writer’s purpose and the audience.
  • Information and quotations from sources make sense within the writer's own sentences and paragraphs.

Mechanics

  • Format is appropriate and generally follows the requirements of an assigned style guide, such as the MLA or APA style guides.
  • References to outside sources are cited and documented according to the appropriate style guide carefully enough that readers can determine when source material has been used and find the sources.
  • Problems in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or usage rarely interfere with communication.
  • Editing shows diligent and informed attention to the desire of readers to read without being interrupted by unexpected errors.

 

Characteristics of C Portfolios

Content and Research

  • The portfolio makes sense to intelligent and sophisticated college-level readers, though it may not consistently hold their interest.
  • The portfolio presents ideas and descriptions with readers in mind.
  • Papers appear to aim at accomplishing purposes.
  • Each paper generally maintains a single focus, though the focus may be on a topic or an event rather than an idea, claim or goal.
  • Each paper generally develops a focus with details, examples, and discussions, including graphics when useful.
  • The portfolio demonstrates the writer's ability to use relevant college-level academic research as a means to develop a topic.
  • The portfolio demonstrates the writer's ability to include material from outside sources within the general requirements of an applicable style guide.

Organization

  • Titles and openings generally match the topic and focus.
  • Paragraphs make sense and usually use some evidence or detailed examples to support points.
  • Papers generally establish an overall organizational pattern for readers to follow.
  • Each paper develops a basic focus, with few paragraphs appearing to be out of sequence or off-track.
  • Transitions from one section and idea to another are evident and make sense.

Style

  • Most words appear to be well chosen and fit the purpose and audience for the particular paper.
  • Most of the time sentences are not short and choppy, long and rambling, or vague and wordy.
  • Sentences are generally readable and make sense.
  • Sentences sometimes feature the efficient and effective uses of modifying clauses and phrases.
  • The writer's voice is consistent and appropriate, usually fitting the writer’s purpose, genre, and audience.
  • Information and quotations from sources is clearly presented as source material.

Mechanics

  • Format choices are generally appropriate for the purposes of the papers.
  • References to outside sources are generally cited and documented, if not always in the appropriate style; readers can determine when source material has been quoted or referenced, and instances of unreferenced source material are few, unimportant, and clearly not intentional.
  • Mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or usage do not generally interfere with either the writer’s credibility or the reader's ability to read the text easily.
  • Editing shows adequate attention to the desire of readers to read without being interrupted by unexpected errors.

 

D Portfolios

Regardless of writing ability, portfolios will receive the grade of D if, as a whole, the portfolio fails to demonstrate that the student understands how to conduct college-level research as well as how to integrate the results of such research into purposeful writing without committing plagiarism. Otherwise, D portfolios rarely have similar characteristics. The lists below present the danger signals that help predict when a portfolio does not demonstrate competence. The main key to avoiding a D is to meet the criteria for at least a C.

Content and Research

  • Topics, purposes, claims, or focuses are so simplistic and obvious that they do not engage the interest of college-educated readers.
  • Papers have no apparent and appropriate audiences.
  • Papers have no clear purposes.
  • At least one paper is clearly fictional.
  • Papers lack a single focus.
  • Ideas are stated, but they are not developed with details, examples, and discussions.
  • Language or material from sources are consistently presented in ways that are very hard to follow.
  • Unintentional, careless misuse of source material would amount to plagiarism had it been intentional.
  • The portfolio shows weak research and information literacy abilities, such as the use of very few sources, little variety of sources, or little obvious effort to conduct scholarly or professional research.
  • Sources do not support and may even contradict the views that the writer attributes to them.

Organization

  • Openings and endings are overly general, missing, or misleading.
  • Readers cannot readily see the focus of the papers.
  • Paragraphs frequently seem unrelated to each other or repetitive.
  • Paragraphs do not develop logically from start to finish, or they break in illogical places.
  • Paragraphs often end without developing broad, general statements with evidence and reasoning.
  • Transitions between and within paragraphs are weak, ineffective, or misleading.
  • The papers do not establish clear patterns for readers to follow.

Style

  • Sentences often are short and choppy, long and rambling, or vague and wordy.
  • Disordered sentence parts, poor phrasing, and poor word choices make reading difficult.
  • Sentences often disregard the normal rules of standard written English in ways that make ideas hard to understand.
  • The voice often appears inappropriate for the writer’s purpose, genre, and audience.

Mechanics

  • Format, including any use of graphics, is extremely careless or entirely disregards the basic requirements of applicable style guides.
  • Language or material from outside sources is not clearly cited.
  • Documentation style is generally wrong according to the assigned style guide, often in ways that interfere with readers' abilities to find the source material and locate the referenced portions of the sources.
  • Instances of misused source material show careless inattention to important requirements for quoting, paraphrasing, and citing, raising questions of possible plagiarism.
  • Many errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, word choice, and usage make reading difficult, or they strongly limit the writer’s credibility.

F Grades

The grade of F in WRT 150 is reserved for the following circumstances:

  • The student did not turn in a portfolio by the last day of class (or the due date set by the teacher's syllabus, if the teacher chooses another due date).
  • The portfolio did not have three papers in it that qualified for the portfolio under this Guide and the teacher's syllabus.
  • The student violated course polices set by this Guide or the teacher's syllabus (for example, an attendance policy), if the information made clear that the violation would result in a grade of F.
  • The student violated other policies of Grand Valley State University that clearly state that the violation could result in a grade of F.
  • The student clearly committed plagiarism, as described by Grand Valley's Student Code, this Guide, and the teacher's syllabus.
  • The portfolio clearly demonstrates a complete indifference to earning any higher grade.

 

Page last modified June 16, 2011