Writing Criteria

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 not intended as a rubric to ensure good grades, but they can help guide you as you write academic papers at Williams.

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.