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MARBL Project Grading

Page history last edited by Brian Croxall 12 years, 3 months ago

MARBL Project Grading

The MARBL Project is worth 30% of your grade for the semester. The class presentation will be worth 10% and the research paper will be worth 20%.


As you prepare for the class presentation, you and your group members should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I adequately prepared to play an active role in the presentation? Can I speak easily and without too much of a script about our materials?
  2. Have we chosen the most interesting portion of the collection to present to the class? Do we discuss materials/facts that are more than simply common knowledge about the poet(s) and their poems? What, in other words, have we gained by having explored their materials deeply in MARBL?
  3. What method(s) of presentation will we use? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method?
  4. Are we adequately prepared to discuss the poem(s) that we have assigned the class? Have we read the classes’ annotations on the wiki? How can we draw on our peers’ insights into the poems? Are we prepared with questions to spur class discussion of the poem(s)? What strategies can we use to get the class involved in discussion?
  5. Have we met all of the requirements of the assignment?


As you prepare your research paper, you should ask yourself the same set of questions that guided you for the first paper:

  1. Thesis: Is it an argument? Is it supported throughout? Is it too broad or too narrow? Is it more than just a rephrasing of the writing prompt? Is it successfully demonstrated?
  2. Paragraphs: Does each paragraph have a topic sentence somewhere? Does the evidence within the paragraph relate to this topic sentence? Do you effectively demonstrate what you are asserting within the paragraph? Is the order of the paragraphs (i.e., the paper’s organization) logical?
  3. Evidence: Do you support your claims with the text? Do you analyze the specific language of the poem in a clear manner for the reader (A → B → C → D) without skipping steps? Do you pay attention to more than just the plot details of the poem(s)? Are your quotations effectively integrated in your text or do they just float?
  4. Prose: Do you use varied sentence structure throughout your paper? Do you vary your use of nouns and verbs, even when talking about the same thing? (Avoid Shift-F7ing though.) Do you write in active (i.e., not passive) voice? Are there mechanical errors? Does your prose contribute to your rhetorical argument by its effectiveness?
  5. Introduction: Do you avoid beginning with an all-encompassing statement or generality? Do you work logically toward your thesis statement? Is it engaging and makes the reader want to read more? Does your introduction give the reader a sense of the topics that will be covered in the paper?
  6. Conclusion: Do you briefly summarize your argument and the evidence you present? Do you help the reader make a connection between the paper and the world? Do you avoid straying too far into generalities?
  7. Formatting: Do you observe the nitpickery below?
  • Your paper must be in 12-point Times New Roman font.
  • It must be double-spaced except for where you type your name and the date on the first page.
  • It must have a title.
  • The pages must be numbered and stapled.
  • Finally, the margins must be 1” on all sides.


On this assignment, instead of using these questions as a rubric, I use the following scale to assign letter grades:


A    The “A” paper makes an original argument and does so persuasively.  It is the product of work of consistently high quality and occasional brilliance.  It uses this argument to open up new avenues of interpretation, including some avenues that it does not have time to explore.  It cites evidence, but does not rely too heavily upon quotation.  It anticipates the criticisms and questions that a skeptical reader might have, and it uses those criticisms and questions to make its argument even more complex.  The paper does not merely prove an argument; it develops an argument in a provocative and logical manner.  Of course, an “A” paper is free of grammatical errors.  In addition, it meets the criteria described directly below.


A-, B+    These grades are awarded to careful and engaged work combining concise and accurate interpretation with analysis.  The paper explains its insights carefully and addresses the implications of those insights.  The essay states a clear thesis, but does not repeat its own conclusions unnecessarily.  The central argument is narrow and well-defined, and the writer has begun to consider the new questions that this argument raises.  The essay is written with clarity, style, and grace.


B    The “B” paper puts forward a persuasive argument and successfully marshals evidence to support it.  The paper is largely cohesive and coherent.  Each paragraph develops a single point, and the transition from one paragraph to the next makes logical sense.  The “B” paper often fails to question its own reasoning in a consistently rigorous manner and sometimes lacks a provocative conclusion.  It may also linger too long over points that could be made more concisely — or may move too quickly past points that require further explanation.


B-, C+    These are the highest grades that a paper relying extensively on summarization or quotation will receive; these are also the highest grades that I will award any paper with serious grammatical errors, such as run-on sentences or sentence fragments.  This grade is often awarded to papers that address too broad a topic and/or that contain a major organizational flaw.  These papers often look at problems too superficially and try to solve them too simplistically; a paper in this range usually fails to engage questions that naturally follow from its own argument.


C    The “C” paper puts forward a cogent thesis but usually fails to argue its merits in a persuasive manner.  It too heavily relies on quotation and summarization, and it stretches out points that do not require so much attention.  It often fails to notice important objections to its argument and/or the important implications of its argument.  Its logic is not as coherent as it could be, and the writer often fails to make his or her argument as clear as it needs to be.  Its structure is generally clear, though perhaps rigidly mechanical: there is an introduction, body, and conclusion (the dreaded “five-paragraph theme”); points are arranged in a perceptible way; and paragraphs are adequately structured, though there may be irrelevant points or nonfunctional digressions, an unsteady sense of “movement,” or lapses in the writer/reader contract.  Improvement is desirable, but you should remember that a “C” grade does indicate average college work.


D    The “D” paper rarely articulates a clear and defensible thesis and usually suffers from either a lack of supporting evidence and/or serious organizational problems.  It may also be an argument whose intelligibility is seriously flawed—it may read as a mere “collection of thoughts” or as a rant.  The writer has not been able to make his or her ideas accessible to the reader, and the paper does not adequately support its argument.  The paper does not engage the issues that are most important to its focus.  The paper may also suffer from important grammatical and syntactical problems.


F    The “F” paper does not meet the requirements of the assignment: the paper is not completed or not handed in; or it falls significantly short of the minimum length requirement; or it addresses no topic under discussion; or it seriously violates common standards of civility and argumentation; or it is plagiarized or involves self-plagiarism (modification of a paper used for a different class).


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