How Is Writing Graded?

Students often want to know how their writing assignments are graded—that is, what is an A paper, a B paper, and so on. If you are in doubt, ask your teacher to explain his or her grading system. If your teacher gives you no feedback other than a grade, you should inquire about the strengths and weaknesses of your assignment. It's always helpful to know the patterns of your strengths and weaknesses when you are trying to improve your writing.

The following grading criteria are considered standard for writing assignments. You can apply these criteria to your writing and use them along with any specific requirements your teacher issues for each assignment, to help you determine your grade for any individual assignment. This scoring guide may help you on this aspect of getting feedback. Remember that your teacher may give you a separate list of criteria or an additional list of requirements.

Grade of A

An A paper is characterized by outstanding informative writing marked by superior readability and competent handling of content. These traits are demonstrated in the following ways:

Grade of B

A B paper is characterized by distinguished writing that successfully fulfills the requirements but contains one of the following weaknesses:

Grade of C

A C paper is characterized by satisfactory writing that is generally effective but contains any one of the following weaknesses:

Grade of D

A D paper struggles to communicate information and contains weak writing. In a professional working environment, such writing would be considered incompetent because it suffers from any one of the following problems:

Grade of F

A failing grade on a writing assignment usually means that your paper contains any two problems from the list for a D paper.