Grading Standards: What Is "Good" Writing?

by Tina Blue
May 27, 2002

          Those of us who teach writing are not always as clear as we should be, either when grading our students or when explaining things to them, about what "good" writing really is.

          That's why so many students end up puzzled and dismayed over the grades they get on their essays.  We have all heard from the student who laments that he doesn't understand how he could have gotten a C on a paper that had no grammatical errors, or the one who complains that the teacher graded him down on a perfectly good paper just because of a few mechanical errors or because she didn't like his "style" or "disagreed" with his ideas.

          But the quality of a student's written work, and the grade he might properly expect to receive on it, depends on a wide variety of factors, and depending on the circumstances (and the teacher), some factors might be more heavily emphasized than others.

          In this article, I will discuss some of the factors that determine whether a piece of writing is "good" and that might properly affect a student's grade.  Each factor is dealt with on a separate page.  They are, in order, as follows:

Adherence to Textual Conventions

(Each of these pages can be directly accessed by clicking on these links, or you can start at the beginning and read through the entire article at once.  No?  I didn't think so.)
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