The following standards are numbered in order of importance for grading.
1. Essay demonstrates an understanding of the material: The student has correctly grasped a philosophical problem or question, has explained it accurately, and on the basis of a substantially correct interpretation of any texts involved. Key terms are used correctly. The essay shows evidence of the student’s independent thought, and is written in his or her distinctive voice. Short (one sentence) quotations are used (comprising no more than 10% of the body of the paper), when appropriate, to support the writer’s analysis, and an explanation is offered for each quotation. The use of block quotations will result in a severe point deduction.
2. Essay has clear and coherent argument: There is a clearly stated thesis, and support for this thesis in the body of the paper. Each paragraph contributes to this argument, and follows logically from the paragraph before it. The argument presented is persuasive. The insights of two other philosophers are incorporated into the analysis.
3. Essay fulfills assigned task: The essay addresses the entire assigned question or topic, elaborating on important ideas in satisfactory depth, but without bringing in anything extraneous or irrelevant. The introduction of the essay focuses and provides clarity for the paper. Important terms are clearly and accurately defined. Each paragraph conveys a coherent, organized thought. Short (one sentence) quotations are occasionally used, when appropriate, to support the writer’s analysis, and an explanation is offered for each quotation. No more than 10% of paper is made up of direct quotes. No block quotations.
4. Essay obeys standards for good persuasive writing: the writer shows that he or she is comfortable using philosophical language, and the prose is clear, not awkward. The structure of the sentences reflects the relationships between/among the ideas discussed.
5. Essay is technically correct: The essay has been carefully and thoughtfully proofread. The argument is written in complete sentences, with punctuation that does not mislead the reader. There are no mistakes in spelling, grammar, word choice, and punctuation.