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Simple Marking Criteria For Essay

In tonight's class, we will take a look at the teachers' marking rubric and discuss the meaning of CFSM. Each student essay handed in last week has an attached copy of the marking rubric to help students understand the strengths and weaknesses of their writing.
 

How Teachers Mark Your Essays

To mark your composition, teachers will look at four areas: Conventions, Form, Style, and Meaning. Each of these is worth 25% of your total score on any composition. 

The teachers assign a mark for each area in the same order as given above (C, F, S, M).

Briefly, the four areas are defined as follows:

Conventions: These are the basic parts of your writing: the spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure. Teachers look for the number of errors made and, more importantly, to see if these errors make it hard to understand your writing.

Form: This is the order of your writing and how easy it is to follow your ideas. In an essay, for example, teachers examine how well your introduction, body, and conclusion work together and how logical your order of ideas is inside each paragraph. (See class notes with tips for good essays)

Style: Here, your sentence variety and knowledge of idiom and vocabulary are very important. How fluent is your language? Are your sentences precise? To excel, a student needs a good repertoire of sentence types, along with a strong vocabulary. (View the Advanced Composition Worksheet Archive)

Meaning: Teachers look here for signs of your developing voice in writing. The more individual (meaning your ideas are specific to your own experience and you have conveyed them well) the better. Are your ideas convincing? Are they mature? Originality counts here. Remember the rule: Show, Don't Tell! (Worksheet on Show, Don't Tell)

Composition Marking Scale
NOTE: Off topic essays are awarded DNP (did not pass)

What should I include?

When students write essays, ESL teachers generally look for some common elements. The essay should have good grammar and show the right level of vocabulary. It should be organized, and the content should be appropriate and effective. Teachers also look at the overall effectiveness of the piece. When evaluating specific writing samples, you may also want to include other criteria for the essay based on material you have covered in class. You may choose to grade on the type of essay they have written and whether your students have followed the specific direction you gave. You may want to evaluate their use of information and whether they correctly presented the content material you taught. When you write your own rubric, you can evaluate anything you think is important when it comes to your students’ writing abilities. For our example, we will use grammar, organization and overall effect to create a rubric.

What is an A?

Using the criteria we selected (grammar, organization and overall effect) we will write a rubric to evaluate students’ essays. The most straightforward evaluation uses a four-point scale for each of the criteria. Taking the criteria one at a time, articulate what your expectations are for an A paper, a B paper and so on. Taking grammar as an example, an A paper would be free of most grammatical errors appropriate for the student’s language learning level. A B paper would have some mistakes but use generally good grammar. A C paper would show frequent grammatical errors. A D paper would show that the student did not have the grammatical knowledge appropriate for his language learning level. Taking these definitions, we now put them into the rubric.

GrammarFree of most grammatical errorsSome grammatical mistakes but generally shows successful grammar usageFrequent grammatical errorsAppropriate grammatical knowledge not displayed for current language level
Organization    
Overall Effect    

The next step is to take each of the other criteria and define success for each of those, assigning a value to A, B, C and D papers. Those definitions then go into the rubric in the appropriate locations to complete the chart.

GrammarFree of most grammatical errorsSome grammatical mistakes but generally shows successful grammar usageFrequent grammatical errorsAppropriate grammatical knowledge not displayed for current language level
OrganizationEssay shows clear organization with appropriate transitionsEssay shows good organization but may lack appropriate transitionsEssay lacks clear organization and appropriate transitionsEssay is disorganized and confusing
Overall EffectA strong overall effect with clear communication and supportA good overall effect with some support and adequate clarityEssay struggles overall and does not give a coherent messageEssay has a poor overall effect and does not fulfill assignment

Each of the criteria will score points for the essay. The descriptions in the first column are each worth 4 points, the second column 3 points, the third 2 points and the fourth 1 point.

What is the grading process?

Now that your criteria are defined, grading the essay is easy. When grading a student essay with a rubric, it is best to read through the essay once before evaluating for grades. Then reading through the piece a second time, determine where on the scale the writing sample falls for each of the criteria. If the student shows excellent grammar, good organization and a good overall effect, he would score a total of ten points. Divide that by the total criteria, three in this case, and he finishes with a 3.33. which on a four-point scale is a B+. If you use five criteria to evaluate your essays, divide the total points scored by five to determine the student’s grade.