Paper (generic) Example Rubric

For a printable copy of this rubric, please click here.

Paper (generic) Example Rubric
Outcome: Students will construct well developed written arguments.
Work Product: Paper







Relevant and interesting ideas are used in response to prompt.

Excels in responding to assignment.

Interesting, demonstrates

sophistication of thought. Central

idea/thesis is clearly communicated,

worth developing; limited enough to

be manageable. Paper recognizes some complexity of its thesis: may acknowledge its contradictions,

qualifications, or limits and follow out their logical implications.

Understands and critically evaluates its sources, appropriately limits and defines terms.

A solid paper, responding

appropriately to assignment. Clearly states a thesis/central idea, but may have minor lapses in development. Begins to acknowledge the

complexity of central idea and the possibility of other points of view. Shows careful reading of sources, but may not evaluate them critically. Attempts to define terms, not always successfully.

Adequate but weaker and less effective, possibly responding less well to assignment. Presents central idea in general terms, often depending on platitudes or clichés. Usually does not acknowledge other

views. Shows basic comprehension of sources, perhaps with lapses in understanding. If it defines terms, often depends on dictionary


Does not have a clear central idea or does not respond appropriately to the

assignment. Thesis may be too vague

or obvious to be developed effectively. Paper may misunderstand sources.

Does not respond to the assignment, lacks a thesis or central idea, and may neglect to use sources where necessary.

Writing is organized and coherent.

Uses a logical structure appropriate to paper's subject, purpose, audience,

thesis, and disciplinary field. Sophisticated transitional sentences often develop one idea from the previous one or identify their logical relations. It guides the reader through the chain of reasoning or

progression of ideas.

Shows a logical progression of ideas and uses fairly sophisticated

transitional devices; e.g., may move from least to more important idea. Some logical links may be faulty, but each paragraph clearly relates to paper's central idea.

May list ideas or arrange them randomly rather than using any evident logical structure. May use transitions, but they are likely to be

sequential (first, second, third) rather than logic-based. While each paragraph may relate to central idea, logic is not always clear. Paragraphs have topic sentences but may be overly general, and arrangement of

sentences within paragraphs may lack coherence.

May have random organization, lacking internal paragraph coherence and using few or inappropriate

transitions. Paragraphs may lack topic sentences or main ideas, or may be too general or too specific to be effective. Paragraphs may not all relate to paper's thesis.

No appreciable organization; lacks transitions and coherence.

Appropriate and effective evidence is used in support of argument.

Uses evidence appropriately and

effectively, providing sufficient evidence and explanation to convince.

Begins to offer reasons to support its points, perhaps using varied kinds of evidence. Begins to interpret the

evidence and explain connections between evidence and main ideas. Its examples bear some relevance.

Often uses generalizations to support its points. May use examples, but they may be obvious or not relevant. Often depends on unsupported opinion or personal experience, or assumes that evidence speaks for itself and needs no application to thepoint being discussed. Often has lapses in logic.

Depends on cliches or overgeneralizations for support, or offers little evidence of any kind. May be personal narrative rather than essay, or summary rather than analysis.

Uses irrelevant details or lacks supporting evidence entirely. May be unduly brief.

Rubric is a modification of one presented by: Teaching Resource Center (n.d.). Example of a grading rubric for a term paper in any discipline. Retrieved October 22, 2008 from The Teaching Resourse Center at U.C., Davis.