In this post, I want to present a rubric I’m drafting for a future Literary Analysis Research Project I want my students to complete. I do this mostly with the hope of getting feedback from my fellow students/scholars of pedagogy.

The general format of the rubric follows Lang’s on page 139. My goal is familiarize students with the rubric as early as possible so that they are aware of the grading expectations. I’m going to be reviewing the rubric with them before the project is due, and I will have them use the rubric to evaluate each other during peer reviews as well.

I have not allocated points to each category. Feedback on this aspect of the rubric is also welcome.

I. Thesis: Your thesis will be graded on the following criteria,

A. Clear/Concise:

1. Is your thesis written in clear and concise language that communicates your purpose to your audience?

2. Can your readers absorb your thesis without difficulty or confusion?

B. Constructive/Arguable:

1. Is your thesis based on a well-informed, researched opinion rather than in historical facts, narrative details, or common knowledge?

2. Does your thesis highlight something original and new in the text that is developed by you and not others?  (note: you needn’t make a revolutionary contribution to literary scholarship but the goal is to construct your own argument rather than repeat others)

C. Direct/Identifiable:

1. Can your reader gain a sense of what your goal and purpose is after reading your thesis?

2. Can your reader identify and paraphrase your thesis after reading the first few paragraphs of your paper?

II. Use of Evidence: After you have presented your argument, the rest of your paper will be evidence. The support/evidence for your argument will be based on the following criteria:

A. Quotations from Literary Sources:

1. Do you use direct quotations from the primary text when making a claim in support of the narrative (s)?

2. Are your direct quotations embedded in a coherent and organized manner; are they “sandwiched” between the claim you have made and the explication you provide to show how the quotation supports the claim?

B. Quotations/Paraphrases from Secondary Sources

1. Can the reader distinguish your argument and claims from the argument and claims of other scholars?

2. Have you accurately reviewed these arguments and effectively situated your argument amongst other scholars’?

III. Organization/Coherence:

A. Paragraphs

1. Are your paragraphs coherent; do you use effective transitions between paragraphs to connect the entire body of your paper?

2. Are you paragraphs coherent at the sentence-level; do you use effective transitions between sentences?

B. Introduction/Conclusion

1. Does your introduction effectively introduce your main purpose and argument?

2. Does your conclusion reemphasize your argument and bring together the essential claims made in your argument?

IV. Style/Grammar/Polish:

A. Word choice/precision

1. Do you use precise words and language to convey your ideas?

2. Does your diction (word choice) effectively portray your thoughts and claims?

B. Sentence Structure:

1. Do you use passive and active voice appropriately?

2. Have your punctuation and spelling errors been eliminated to show that you have presented the most polished draft of your paper?