Grading Scheme


Evaluation of Short Papers

The purpose of the short assignments is (a) to encourage a close and careful reading of texts, (b) to develop analytic skills, and (c) to develop argumentative skills in presenting and defending a thesis or theses regarding the texts under consideration.

A well-written paper is a combination of an accurate and succinct account of the textual evidence, controlled application of the relevant methods, a clear exposition of the hypothesis formed on the basis of the data, and balanced and plausible arguments supporting the hypothesis.

Papers can, but certainly need not, appeal to extra secondary treatments in commentaries and articles, provided that these are chosen carefully. The paper, however, should not be encumbered with such references. The point of the short paper is not for you to rehearse others views of the text but for you to engage in careful analysis of the text. Nor should you allow the various interests of com­men­ta­tors deflect your attention from the issue at hand.

What is essential is evidence of (1) care in reading and analyzing the text, (2) a critical assessment of the textual data and any hypotheses that have been advanced on that data, and (3) a creative and thoughtful interaction between text and interpreter (i.e., you).


A/A+            Outstanding. Concise, thorough & ac­curate account of textual details; critical and careful analysis; hypotheses are plausibly and adequately pre­sented and defended; grasp of the his­torical and literary issues impinging on the text.

B+            Excellent. Accurate account of textual details; careful analysis; critical reason­ing in evidence. Improvements nor­mally consist in more precision in argu­menta­tion and more attention to fine detail and nuance.

B            Superior. Generally accurate account of textual details; good analysis; some critical reasoning in evidence. Improve­ments normally consist in a more concise or precise discussion of details; more at­tention to detail; better use of arguments.

B-        Good. Generally accurate account of tex­tual details; acceptable analysis with  some critical reasoning in evidence. Improvements would normally consist in a more concise or precise discussion of details; more attention to detail; better use of arguments.

C+            Satisfactory. Generally accurate descrip­tion of the data but lack of evidence of a grasp of the critical issues involved. Improve­ments: more at­ten­tion to detail, greater pre­cision in argu­menta­tion, better use of historical and/or literary data.

C/C-            Satisfactory. Satisfactory descrip­tion of the data, but little or no evidence of a grasp of the critical issues involved. Improve­ments: more at­ten­tion to detail, greater pre­cision in argu­men­ta­tion, better use of historical and/or literary data.








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