How Are Essays Graded in College

How Are Essays Graded in College

Students often wonder how their essays are graded in college. Many feel as if they don’t know how their grades came about. The whole grading process appears shrouded in mystery as many professors seem to have their style of giving grades. What rubrics do the teachers use to determine every student’s marks? 

Although instructors have their ways of evaluating writing assignments, they still follow a general rule of thumb in judging their students’ writing. Teachers are expected to rely on a defined process and not just haphazardly give out assessments based on subjective feelings. Here’s how teachers review student writing assignments and grade essays in college. 

Assess If The Essay is at Par With Individual Skills

A teacher’s first step is scanning the material and determining if the submitted paper matches the student’s skills. It is common for college instructors to give diagnostic writing assessments at the beginning of the semester before handing out extensive research work or essay homework. On top of that, professors commonly assign classroom work, so they have a fairly good grasp of each student’s writing capabilities.

If the teacher feels that the student did not make an effort and submitted plagiarized work, the outcome would be dismal. Those who order custom essay writing services from professionals must be wary about this aspect. However, professional Studyfy writers write original content designed to help you succeed.

Evaluate the Structure of the Submitted Work

Professors then quickly skim the paper to check for the basic essay structure. Firstly, the work must have a clear introductory paragraph with a thesis statement. This sentence usually encapsulates the main point or argument. Thus, it is expected to be clear, concise, and coherent to answer the essay writing assignment’s goals. 

Secondly, the teacher checks if the next subheading and paragraphs support the thesis statement. Are there clear topic sentences to support any claims made? Students must meet expectations and offer supporting evidence in paragraph forms, not just bulleted lists. 

Finally, there must be a solid conclusion that summarizes the points of the thesis statement and provides a concise recap of the whole output. When the essay contains all of these elements, the student has given a good paper. As for the final grade, it will hinge on a more thorough second reading. 

Take a Closer Look at the Specifics of the Assignment

After scanning, the professor reads more in-depth, paying closer attention to specific details. Expect a double-check if the thesis statement answers the given assignment. The thesis serves as the entire paper’s roadmap, so students must carefully craft this part. 

The teacher then closely studies the paragraph’s body, making notes if necessary. The goal is to check if the main points in the body support every topic sentence in each new paragraph. More importantly, the professor checks for the following: 

  • Are there quotes with appropriate citations? 
  • What are the relevant examples given? 
  • Did the student paraphrase, and are there proper references for each? 
  • Are there endnotes, footnotes, or other evidence in parentheses form? 

Ascertain the Level of Analysis Involved

The goal of providing written assignments is to check if students can properly apply the main lessons learned and put them in a proper context. If students provide evidence in the paper, they are expected to explain why they chose that quote or example. How does this justify the main points presented in the essay? 

Writing a paper doesn’t merely involve combining random words to fill the word count requirement (if given). Critical thinking is also essential to prove the thesis statement. The paper will likely get a higher grade if a thorough analysis is involved. 

Take Note of Grammar and Proper Formatting

At the university level, students are held to a higher standard. Hence, they are expected to follow the basic grammar and style rules. Moreover, most professors provide formatting requirements at the beginning of every class. For example, they give guidelines on font style, size, spacing, and justification. 

Professors inspect the paper to see if the elements meet their standards. From there, corresponding deductions are given to those who fail to meet expectations. Professors have hundreds of students, and reading and marking different styles could be cumbersome. More importantly, the format helps facilitate clear communication for better reader understanding. It also exhibits professionalism on the part of the writer. 

Grammar is also a key consideration in grading compositions. Hence, students ought to expect the teachers to pay attention to the following: 

  • Does the submitted work follow proper punctuation with no misplaced commas, missing periods, or mismatched quotation marks? 
  • Is the final output full of misspelled words, or are the terms and jargon spelled correctly? 
  • Are there completed sentences, or are there run-on sentences and fragments? 
  • Is there consistency in the tenses of the verbs used and the voice (whether first-person, second-person, or third-person)?
  • Is there correct capitalization of sentences, proper nouns, and acronyms? 

A writing assignment containing many errors denotes that the paper has been carelessly written. A poorly crafted paper will also receive equally poor marks. In contrast, a paper that has undergone thorough editing and proofreading can expect a better result. 

Final Word on Marking Essays in College

Teachers always aim to give a fair grade based on the development of the essay writing assignment. If students provide them with a reason to believe that the paper was not researched well and rushed to beat the deadline, teachers will give corresponding demerits. An F grade will be given if the instructor sees the work’s argument is incorrect or the final output is riddled with errors. Heavily plagiarized assignments also receive a failing mark. 

In contrast, students who make good introductions, develop their points with proper supporting evidence, and organize their papers using correct formatting guidelines will be generously rewarded with high marks. An A grade shows that everything is outstanding and provides persuasive arguments with thorough analysis and synthesis of data gathered. There are also a few grammar or spelling corrections that show effort on the writer’s part. 


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