Essay grading standards and errors

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Essay Content Errors:

*Failure to address key essay question or major theme of text or essay topic (-10%)

*Failure to use adequate quotes/sources to support essay ideas (-10%)

*Failure to provide a clear thesis, introduction, or conclusion for essay (-10%)

*Mis-statement of element of article, story, novel, or poem (-10%)

Errors in Organization or Idea Development:

*Lacks clear paragraph topic sentences (-5% each paragraph)

*Failure to develop or provide support for an idea in a paragraph (-5%)

*Lack of clear and appropriate breaks between paragraphs (-5%)

*Lack of clear transitions between paragraphs (-2%) or sentences(-1%)

*Paragraph wanders off point (-5%); sentence wanders off point (-1%)

*Repetition of ideas (-2%)

Sentence Style Errors:

*Incomplete sentence (fragment) (-3%)

*Run-on/fused sentence (-3%)

*Comma-spliced sentence (-1%)

*Problems with sentence length variety (sentences either consistently

too short or too long) (up to -5% off per essay )

*Over-use of “to be” verb forms (is, are, etc.) (up to -5% off per essay)

*Sentence doesn’t make sense or uses mixed sentence construction (-2%)

*Need to edit unnecessary words (-1%) or sentences (-2%)

*Inconsistent tense, number (singular v. plural), case, etc. (-1%)

*Faulty parallel structure, vague pronoun reference, modifier error (-1%)

*Repetitive word choices (-1%)

*Incorrect use of idiom (-1%)

*Incorrect word choice or word ending (-1%)

*Missing words or word endings (-1%)

*Incorrect use of adjectives/adverbs (-1%)

*Missing or incorrect use of punctuation (-1/2%)

*Mis-spelling or typo (-1/2%)

*Incorrect use of capital letters (-1/2%)
Essay Format Errors:

*Plagiarism in any form (GRADE OF 0 for assignment/Repeat offense – failure in


*Incorrect documentation of source, article, website (-5%)

*Failure to provide a citation for quoted material, statistic, or fact (-5%)

*Incorrect form for citation or bibliographic listing (-1%)

*Improper use of quotation marks, italics, or underlining (-1%)

*Problems with margins, spacing, font size (-1%)

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