Criteria for Sophomore Literature Essays
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English 206 and 207, like other sophomore
literature courses, support the following
Ferrum College learning outcomes for all students:
Communicate with unity of purpose, coherent
organization, and effective use of English consistent with standard rules
and recognized conventions
Demonstrate information literacy, using available technology when appropriate
- Demonstrate comptency in reading
- Think critically and solve problems through analysis, evaluation, inference, induction, and deduction.
keeping with the college's writing intensive program, students in sophomore literature write essays that are satisfactory in the following areas in order
to earn a grade of C or better in the course.
presentation of content
2. Evidence of
effective college-level writing skills, including
focus and organization
development of ideas and arguments
c. precise and
sentence structure and vocabulary
e. avoidance of
mechanical and grammatical errors,
f. complete and
accurate documentation of sources
3. Ability to
adapt writing style to needs of various audiences
Check the lists above
and the descriptions of literature papers below as you write your essays, and after an essay is
returned to you with one of the following grades. Remember that your main
purpose, and the professor's main purpose, is to improve your writing skills
as a means of communicating your ideas about literature in this course, and
as way of developing communication skills you will need throughout your
academic and professional life. Ferrum College provides a variety of
resources for helping you develop your writing skills.
An "A" essay offers an
insightful analysis which helps a college-educated reader better
understand the literary work. It has a clear thesis, focuses on that
thesis, and uses good details and interesting examples for support. The
essay is well organized, interesting, and free of all proofreading errors,
or it has only a few minor mechanical errors. Specific details are used
effectively to support the main ideas of the paper. Since the paper
expresses independent thought with grace, clarity, and force, anyone would
want to read more writing by the author of an "A" essay. Although an A paper is excellent or superior, it need not match the
writing quality or depth expected in professional writing or literature
papers in more advanced courses.
A "B" essay is above average in content and fluency.
Like an A paper, it has an analytical thesis and focuses on that thesis,
but it has shortcomings in one or more areas: organization, examples
(support), proofreading and editing, use of source material, formatting.
There may be several routine mechanical errors, occasional monotony or
awkwardness in expression, lack of originality, a less precise or forceful
thesis than in an A paper, or less convincing evidence for the paper's
general ideas. The author of a "B" essay would benefit from a trip to the
Writing Center but no doubt could improve on his or her own, with a
little extra effort.
A "C" essay fulfills the assignment in a satisfactory
or average way. It has a focus that falls within the requirements of the
assignment. Its ideas are supported with examples, explained in complete
sentences and standard English. But it has weaknesses in one or more
of the following areas: thesis, organization, examples (support),
proofreading and editing, use of source material, formatting. A "C"
paper may be satisfactory rather than excellent because of weak style,
trite expression, inadequate support of generalizations, relying on too
few or uninteresting details, inaccuracy in use of details or background
information, careless mechanical errors, or absence of an original,
significant purpose. A paper that summarizes the literature rather than
writing a well-focused analysis will likely receive a grade of "C" if the
essay is otherwise well written. The author of a "C" essay would benefit
by working with Writing Center and ARC tutors and could experience
surprising results if he or she works hard.
essay reflects unsatisfactory work, below college
standards. It may have redeeming features, such as a discoverable thesis
that is not always clearly presented, and a rational but shaky effort to deal with the topic.
Some "D" papers do not meet the assignment's requirement in length
(subtopics are not developed adequately) or subject (the topic was not
approved or the purpose is not fulfilled consistently throughout the
paper). A "D" paper may contain some perceptive or creative ideas,
but fail in its manner of shaping them into a satisfactory essay because
of major shortcomings in any of the following areas: thesis,
organization, examples (support), proofreading and editing, use of source
material, formatting. Faulty and illogical sentence structures,
immature style, imprecise use of words, rambling organization or
repetition of vague generalities, and frequent mechanical errors make "D"
papers hard to read. Too few supporting examples or inaccurate, illogical
use of details from the literature or source materials can put a paper
into the "D" category. A paper that summarizes rather than analyzes the
literature may receive a "D" if there are additional problems in the
paper. The author of a "D" essay needs to spend more time writing,
revising, and editing papers. He or she no doubt needs help outside
class if he or she is to pass English 207 with a "C" or better and,
without improvement in these basic writing skills, may not succeed in other courses which require a
significant amount of writing. (Remember that a grade of C or better is
required if you are taking the course for writing intensive credit.)
An "F" essay is unacceptable, below college standards.
It has multiple problems in the following areas: thesis, organization,
examples (support), proofreading and editing, use of source material,
formatting. Papers may receive "F" because they do not focus on an
approved topic or they fall far short in meeting the assignment's
requirements for length or subject. The author of an "F" essay will most
likely need regular help from tutors to improve or refresh his or her
basic writing skills. A student might also receive an "F" due to
plagiarism. I will not assign any grade to a paper with a potential
plagiarism problem until that problem is resolved.