Through a series of workshops and assessments of student writing starting in the summer of 2021, the Writing Center partnered with faculty to build a set of criteria to clarify the language set forth in the catalog about the goals of Writing Skills courses. These criteria are the final result of an iterative process, and while they are not intended as a rubric to determine the grades of written assignments, they can help guide faculty on topics, issues, and themes to consider as you plan and deliver content in Writing Skills courses across the curriculum.
Is the thesis clearly written?Is the thesis complex and illuminating?
Does the essay contain strong evidence?
If you take the argument at face value, is it coherent?
Is the conclusion justified by the evidence and argumentation that preceded it?
Are the paragraphs effectively built, with a logical flow of sentences within each?
Are there effective transitions between paragraphs?
Do the paragraphs build in both logic and momentum, so that the argument is convincing and compelling?
Is the language precise?
Has the writer avoided unnecessary repetition?
Has the writer successfully deployed language without the obvious use of a thesaurus or the abundant misuse of words?
Is the essay largely clean of errors in mechanics (spelling, grammar, punctuation)?
Are sources properly cited?
Click Writing Criteria (2023) to download a PDF.