What Are The Essay Requirements?

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Focus
• Subject or position is directly stated
• Writing stays on topic throughout paper
• Opening captures the reader’s attention
• Body of the paper develops the subject
• Conclusion effectively ends paper and ties it together

Support
• Major points are developed in detail
• Details and support are developed
• Appropriate vocabulary is used throughout
• Paragraphs have approximately the same number of details

Organization
• Each paragraph contains only one main idea
• Each paragraph has a topic sentence
• Writing flows easily from one idea to the next
• Sentence structure and word choice is varied
• Sentences and paragraphs are coherent (make sense)
• Sentences and paragraphs are cohesive (fit together)
• Each paragraph has a concluding sentence

Integration
• Paper is fully developed, appropriate to grade level
• Focus is clear and developed
• Paper is balanced, with paragraphs approximately the same length
• Sentences and paragraphs fit together smoothly

Conventions
• All rules and conventions of standard English are followed
(paragraph structure, sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, capitalization)
• Errors do not interfere with the reader’s understanding of the writing

Writing Rubric

Northeastern Illinois University

Quality Criteria No/Limited Proficiency Some Proficiency Proficiency High Proficiency (Rating)
1. Thesis/Focus:

(a) Originality

Thesis is missing Thesis may be obvious or unimaginative Thesis is somewhat original Develops fresh insight that challenges the reader’s

thinking;

 
2. Thesis/Focus:

(b) Clarity

Reader cannot determine thesis & purpose OR

thesis has no relation to the writing task

Thesis and purpose are somewhat vague OR only

loosely related to the writing task

Thesis and purpose are fairly clear and match the writing task Thesis and purpose are clear to the reader; closely match the writing task  
3. Organization Unclear organization OR organizational plan is inappropriate to thesis.

No transitions

Some signs of logical organization. May have abrupt or illogical shifts & ineffective flow of ideas Organization supports thesis and purpose.

Transitions are mostly appropriate. Sequence of ideas could be improved

Fully & imaginatively supports thesis & purpose. Sequence of ideas is effective. Transitions are

effective

 
4. Support/ Reasoning

(a)  Ideas

(b)  Details

Offers simplistic, undeveloped, or cryptic support for the ideas.

Inappropriate or off-topic generalizations, faulty assumptions, errors of fact

Offers somewhat obvious support that may be too broad. Details are too general, not interpreted, irrelevant to thesis, or inappropriately repetitive Offers solid but less original reasoning. Assumptions are not always recognized or made explicit. Contains some appropriate details

or examples

Substantial, logical, & concrete development of ideas. Assumptions are made explicit. Details are germane, original, and convincingly interpreted  
5. Use of sources/ Documentation Neglects important sources. Overuse of quotations or paraphrase to substitute writer’s own ideas. (Possibly uses source material without acknowledgement.) Uses relevant sources but lacks in variety of sources and/or the skillful combination of sources. Quotations & paraphrases may be too long and/or inconsistently referenced Uses sources to support, extend, and inform, but not substitute writer’s own development of idea. Doesn’t overuse quotes, but may not always conform to required style manual Uses sources to support, extend, and inform, but not substitute writer’s own development of idea.

Combines material from a variety of sources, incl. pers. observation, scientific data, authoritative

testimony. Doesn’t overuse quotes.