Grading Criteria

The History Department supports that faculty members create different types of assignments, written and/or oral, depending on the goals of the class, differing methodologies, and differing styles of teaching. Within this variety, we agree on the following criteria.

A = Overall: Superior performance; consistent excellence in both written assignments and class participation. Essays (exams, papers, reviews): Answers the question directly or states and explains a thesis. The argument is clear, coherent and complete, with a structured analysis and clear explanations of analytic points along the way. Presents a synthesis of the ideas and the details. The evidence used to support the analysis is accurate and appropriate to the point it is illustrating. The best essays demonstrate mastery of class themes and materials but go beyond them to readings and knowledge gained elsewhere. Few or only minor errors.

B = Overall: Good performance in both written and oral work. All assigned work is completed accurately and well; both written and oral work demonstrate knowledge and understanding of principles in spite of occasional errors. Essays (exams, papers, reviews): Answers the question directly but lacks depth of analysis of some aspect of the theme or clear support. Writing is clear and generally shows logical organization, but may not answer the question entirely or integrate the material as well as an A essay. Evidence is used to support the analysis but not as effectively or directly as in an A essay. May be strong on analysis with factual inaccuracies or contain weaker arguments with only minor inaccuracies.

C = Overall: Adequate performance in both written and oral work. Shows understanding of many of the basic concepts of the course but there is frequent inaccuracy or error. Essays (exams, papers, reviews): Doesn't answer the question, has a weak thesis, contains many errors or simply presents undigested facts -- student has demonstrated that he/she has learned from the class but not understood the historical context of that knowledge. Could also be written work which is generally good, well-argued but containing crucial factual errors, or lacking supporting details.

D = Overall: Poor performance in both written and oral work. Work demonstrates some familiarity with basic concepts but is only barely acceptable. Essays (exams, papers, reviews): Barely shows new knowledge or understanding of that knowledge. Few facts, little evidence, little coherence or many mistakes. Doesn't answer the question or address the theme. Writing skills prevent understanding of the argument.

F = Overall: Unacceptable performance in written and oral work. Work is missing or fundamentally deficient. Essays: No effort shown, totally inaccurate or showing minimal relation to class goals. Plagiarized work.

Written work is graded on the level of the:
1. analytical thinking -- is the argument well-developed?
2. organization and style -- is the language clear and correct, are the sequence of points in the argument clear and logical?
3. understanding materials -- is the information used, the historical chronology and the details of events accurate and accurately applied?
4. context -- are the connections shown between the information and the arguments?
5. attribution -- are the sources accurately attributed?