All essays must be typed, double-spaced, with standard margins, on 8 ½” x 11” white paper. All citations must follow the format recommended by Kate Turabian or The Chicago Manual of Style.


Superior (Grade: A)
  • Addresses a well-defined, significant, thoughtfully selected topic or question.
  • Addresses the question fully and explores the issues thoughtfully.
  • Shows substantial depth, fullness, and complexity of thought. Goes beyond the obvious. Offers illuminating insights.
  • Demonstrates clear, focused, unified, and coherent organization.
  • Is fully developed and detailed.
  • Evidences superior control of diction, syntactic variety, and transition. May have a few minor flaws.
  • Flawless footnotes.

Strong (Grade: B)
  • Addresses a well-defined, significant topic or question.
  • Clearly addresses the question and explores the issues.
  • Shows some depth and complexity of thought. Demonstrates recognition of important ideas.
  • Is effectively organized.
  • Is well-developed, with supporting detail and good citation technique.
  • Demonstrates control of diction, syntactic variety, and transition. May have a few flaws.

Competent (Grade: C)
  • Addresses a clearly defined topic or question.
  • Adequately addresses the question and explores the issues.
  • Shows clarity of thought but may lack complexity. May tend to rely on the obvious and the cliché.
  • Is organized.
  • Is adequately developed, with some detail.
  • Demonstrates competent writing. May have some flaws.
  • Minor flaws in footnotes.

Weak (Grade: D)
  • Addresses an ill-defined or ill chosen topic or question.
  • May distort or neglect parts of the question.
  • May be simplistic or stereotyped in thought. May be essentially uninformative.
  • May demonstrate problems in organization. May be aimless.
  • May have generalizations without supporting detail or detail without generalizations. May be undeveloped.
  • May show patterns of flaws in language, syntax, mechanics, and citation.

Incompetent (Grade: F)
  • Failed attempts to begin discussing the topic.
  • Deliberately off-topic papers. Failure to understand the topic.
  • Papers so incompletely developed as to suggest or demonstrate incompetence.
  • Papers wholly incompetent mechanically.
  • Seriously flawed or absent footnotes.