Statement on Quality of Graded Papers (adapted from Pace University)
It is important for you to have an understanding of what constitutes an A, B, C, D, or F paper. Below are some common characteristics that may help you to understand the differences in grades.
A. Outstanding Work. An A paper presents interesting, insightful ideas. It exhibits a mature level of thought (that is, exhibits the ability to draw inferences and make analogies which show insight into the topic). There is a clear focus (thesis, controlling idea) which is developed in an organized, concise, logical manner. Unified and coherent paragraphs include specific, relevant supporting evidence and examples. Sentences are varied and well constructed. Word choices are precise, fresh, and vivid. There are virtually no errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage. Research, if used, is thorough, accurately documented, and effectively integrated.
NOTE: Often the A Paper is distinguished from the B paper by a more assured prose style, more creativity in form or content, more subtlety in rhetorical strategy.
B. Good Work. A B paper demonstrates a thoughtful, solid understanding of the subject. Although ideas are interesting, they tend to lack originality or insight. Focus is clear and content well organized, but paragraphs may be slightly underdeveloped or need more support. Most sentences are varied and well constructed. Word choice is generally appropriate. Although there may be some minor errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage, none of these problems is glaring or highly distracting. Research may not be as thorough, appropriately documented, or effectively integrated as an A paper.
C. Adequate Work. A C paper is an average paper, presenting ideas that may be obvious or unexceptional. It is generally clear throughout, but some information may be general or repetitious. It has a clear thesis with some concrete details and examples. The essay is somewhat developed and organized. Paragraph breaks may not always correspond to shifts in topic. Sentence structure is adequate but undistinguished and can be repetitive or awkward with imprecise or inappropriate word choices. Errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling or usage may distract the reader but do not prevent comprehension. Research may not be appropriately used or effectively integrated.
D. Poor Work. A D paper tends to lack insight and interesting ideas. Focus is often confusing or not easily identified. The essay is usually undeveloped and poorly organized. Paragraph breaks can be arbitrary. Statements are unsupported, repetitive, or irrelevant. Sentence structure and word choice may be inaccurate, confusing, or awkward. There are many grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage errors. Research is poorly documented and ineffectively used to develop the paper.
F. Unacceptable Work. An F paper presents simplistic, inappropriate, or incoherent ideas and lacks focus. It tends to be undeveloped and disorganized. Paragraphs are incoherent, and paragraph breaks often do not correspond to shifts in topic. Statements are unsupported, repetitive, or irrelevant. Sentence structure and word choice are inaccurate, confusing, or awkward. There are many grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage errors that often prevent comprehension. Research is not evident, or sources are undocumented, i.e., plagiarized. The paper does not meet the requirements of the assignment.
Dear Instructors of ENG 215: The Monster and the Monstrous in Literature:
When creating ENG 215, I did so from the perspective of someone who is a great believer in the canon and has taught World Literature I many years at Saint Leo. Many students not majoring in English struggle with the traditional canon and don’t recognize the utility of taking a literature course. My hope is that The Monster and the Monstrous in Literature combines the canonical and non-canonical in such a way as to hold student interest, engage students in literature in ways that foster critical thinking, and gets at the core of two of Saint Leo’s values: community and integrity.
I’ve organized the online version of the class chronologically and have tried briefly to situate each text within its historical context. When looking at our first text, Frankenstein, for example, we see Mary Shelley grappling with new ideas about education and science that require us to think about community and integrity. If Victor had educated the creature--that is taken responsibility for his creation in a way that demonstrated integrity--then the creature might never have become a murderous monster. If the greater community around the creature had not repeatedly rejected him, the creature also may have been peaceful and potentially a good citizen. This is why the class is called the monster and the monstrous, for even as Shelley does eventually label her creature monster, we readers may believe Victor to be monstrous in his abdication of responsibility.
For the QEP assignment, I have chosen Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” because of the centrality of choice. Our QEP centers on how critical thinking and values inform decision making. In Kafka’s story, the author implies that Gregor’s choices to live such a small, one-dimensional life have literally transformed him into a dung beetle. He has rejected a life of integrity. His family--the central community upon whom he depends after his transformation--keeps his existence a secret and neglects him, leading to his eventual death. The QEP should come to life for the students through exploring these issues.
As the course closes, students will read a contemporary novel, Handling the Undead, where none of what they think they know about zombies is confirmed. My hope is that, by challenging assumptions, the book will push critical thinking, and, through showing students that best-selling contemporary authors can write thrilling as well as thoughtful works, perhaps we will create readers who enjoy books for fun outside our classrooms.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or to share your own ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you will enjoy teaching the class and will put your own expertise into making it even better than I can imagine.
Kathryn Duncan, Ph.D.
Professor of English