How Teachers Grade Essays

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How Teachers Grade Essays

  • (© DBU University Writing Center)

Major Areas of Interest

Originality of Thought

  • Are you simply repeating someone else’s opinions without useful commentary of your own on their opinions? (If your paper is supposed to analyze information instead of merely reporting facts.)
  • Have you thought analytically about your topic and attempted to communicate your own formulated ideas in your paper?


  • Can the average reader easily understand what you are saying?
  • Does your introduction catch your readers’ attention?
  • Are your thoughts clear and concise?
  • Does your paper “flow”?
  • Can your paper hold the interest of your audience?

Thesis Statement and Development

  • Have you introduced your topic in an opening paragraph?
  • Does your paper include a thesis statement?
  • Have you expanded and supported your thesis statement in the body of the paper?
  • Have you tied up the loose ends in your conclusion?


  • Is each paragraph internally organized; do the sentences flow logically?
  • Does your paper include smooth transitions into each paragraph?
  • Have you grouped like information together in the same paragraph or section?
  • Can you sum up each paragraph in one sentence?


Common Errors

  • Have you carefully read through your paper checking for correct capitalization, punctuation, and sentence structure?
  • Have you followed the guidelines of the format your professor has specified?

Errors—some tips for avoiding them

  • Do not turn in a first draft; proofread your own work! (Reading aloud will make errors even more obvious.)
  • Have a friend look your paper over.
  • Be familiar with the format you are using. (For example, MLA, APA, or Turabian.)
  • Come to the Writing Center for more information and assistance with grammar, formatting, and much more!

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