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Rubrics Essay History

On this page you will find a variety of criteria and rubrics you can use to assess writing in history courses. It is suggested that, if any grading rubric is used in a course, that all TAs for that course use the same or a similar rubrics.

Grading tools such as spreadsheets and point conversion charts can be found on the Grading Tools page.

Paper grading criteria and rubrics

Writing Rubric
Source/Contributor: Jason Shattuck
Course: Unknown
Date: Winter 2008
Format: PDF

A one-page table correlating "Thesis/Argument," "Structure," "Evidence," "Analysis," "Sources," and "Style" with specific grade ranges.

Tips for Grading Essay and Short Problem Questions
Source/Contributor: Center for Instruction Development & Research
Course: None
Date: Unknown

One page of six grading tips for instructors. These are basic tips, but helpful, especially for those unsure of how to begin.

Criteria for Grading History Essays
Source/Contributor: Tim Wright
Course: Unknown
Date: Fall 2006
Format: Word document

A one-page adaptation and updating of an older rubric used by Professor Alexandra Harmon and apparently once standard in the history department.

Guidelines for Writing Assignments
Source/Contributor: Gigi Peterson
Course: Unknown
Date: Unknown
Format: PDF

This is a two-page handout that includes the guidelines on the first page and "Criteria for the Evaluation of Essays" on the second page. Covers the structure and format of essays (introduction, body, conclusion, and style), and refers to Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers and Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. Includes a cool Calvin and Hobbes cartoon.

Some Grading Criteria for Papers & Essays
Source/Contributor: Betsy Crouch & Mike Quinn
Course: Unknown
Date: Fall 2004
Format: PDF

Probably not for use with students, this two-page handout takes a light-hearted look at what makes a good paper and includes things such as describing a C-range paper as "the classic mediocrity" "written in passable, but ‘just barely goodly English.'"

Grading Forms

Grading form
Source/Contributor: Tim Wright
Course: Unknown
Date: Fall 2006
Format: Word document form

This is a Word document form that provides a checklist format of evaluating student papers while providing room for instructor's typed comments—all on a single page that can be stapled to the student's assignment. Retention of copies of the form allows an instructor to assess whether students' writing is improving or not. This is the companion form for Wright's Paper Checklist.


All ideas flow logically; the argument is identifiable, reasonable, and sound.Author anticipates and successfully defuses counter-arguments; makes novel connections which illuminate thesis

Argument is clear and usually flows logically and makes sense.Some evidence that counter-arguments acknowledged, though perhaps not addressed.Occasional insightful connections to evidence are made.

Logic may often fail, or the argument may often be unclear.May not address counter-arguments or make any connections with the thesis.May also contain logical contradictions.

Ideas do not flow at all, usually because there is no argument to support.Simplistic view of topic, and there is no effort to grasp possible alternative views.Very little or very weak attempt to relate evidence to argument.

Too incoherent to determine.


Language is clearly organized. Correct word usage, punctuation, sentence structure, and grammar; correct citation of sources; minimal to no spelling errors; absolutely no run-on sentences or comma splices.

Sentence structure and grammar strong despite occasional lapses; punctuation and citation style often used correctly.Some spelling errors and at least one run-on sentence, sentence fragment, or comma splice.

Minor problems in sentence structure and grammar.Multiple errors in punctuation, citation style, and spelling.May have several (two to five) run-on sentences, sentence fragments, and comma splices.

Huge problems in sentence structure and grammar.Frequent major errors in citation style, punctuation, and spelling.May have many (more than five) run-on sentences, sentence fragments, and comma splices.

Very difficult to understand owing to major problems in mechanics.

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