How I Grade a Paper

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OK, I have an anonymous, sample paper from HIS 101 that can be viewed as a Word, WordPerfect (sometimes this link works; sometimes it doesn't) or an HTML file. This is a rather generalized example of my paper critique process.

  1. The first thing that I check is the general form of the paper. For example, I look for:
    • Clear paragraphs (introduction, conclusion and analytical)
      • Comment: This example paper does not have clear paragraphs, although an introduction and conclusion are evident.
    • Margins, font size and paper length correct?
      • Comment: If you view this paper in WordPerfect or Word, you will find that right and left margins are way too large.
  2. Next I read the introduction to see if the thesis directly answers the assigned question; and if the paper's points (paragraphs to follow in the paper) are indicated there.
    • Comment: There is no clear response to the assigned question in this introduction; I also have no idea what oints/paragraphs will follow in the paper.
  3. I check to make sure that the introduction meets the writing style rules for the course and that the author has used proper grammar; failure to use the required past tense for verbs is the most frequent problem that I encounter.
    • Comment: There are many writing problems in this paper (The Gilgamesh was; Civilizations; where). I also check for writing style and grammatical problems when I read the rest of the paper. Once I have found a growing number of mistakes, I make a note in my paper comments to the student , and I cease to look for further writing problems.
  4. I look for clear paragraph topic sentences.
    • Comment: Missing in this sample paper. I am not sure what the first sentence of the second paragraph is, but it is not a topic sentence. In addition, you should never include a quote or cited material in a topic sentence; save the quote for your analysis.
  5. I now move to examining the paragraphs for quoted supporting evidence and proper citation of those quotes.
    • Comment: This paper has a number of quotes, but they all seem to be from page 30. In addition, you should never quote from the textbook. I also check to make sure that the quotes used are relevant to the paper and the assignment.
  6. Conclusion present and relevant?
    • Comment: By the time that I read the conclusion in this paper, I am completely unsure as to what the paper's point is; this conclusion makes no sense to me. A conclusion should sum up the paper and agree with the introduction.