Rubric for Essay Exams:



A Grade

B Grade

C Grade

D Grade



Thesis Statement


Well-developed introduction that engages the reader and creates interest. Contains background and contextual information about topic. Thesis is clear and focused.

Introduction creates interest. Thesis clearly states the position.

Introduction adequately explains the background, but may lack detail.  Thesis states the topic, not an argumentative position about the topic.

Background details are a random collection of information, unclear, or not related to the topic. Thesis is vague or unclear.


Conclusion effectively wraps up and goes beyond restating the thesis, identifying the larger implications of the argument.

Conclusion effectively summarizes topics.

Conclusion is recognizable and ties up almost all loose ends.

Conclusion does not summarize main points.

Body Paragraphs

Well-developed main points explain the thesis. Supporting examples are concrete and detailed.  
The narrative is developed with a consistent and effective point-of-view.

Three or more main points are related to the thesis, but one may lack relevance or clarity.  Adequate supporting details.

Three or more main points are present. The narrative describes events, but lacks an argument and supporting details.

Less than three main points, and/or poor development of ideas.    The narrative is undeveloped, unfinished, or incoherent.


Logical progression of ideas with a clear structure that enhances the thesis.  Transitions are skillfully used to move from one idea to the next.

Logical progression of ideas.  Most transitions are specified throughout the essay.

Organization is relatively clear. Some transitions are lacking. Some tangential ideas.

No discernable organization.  Transitions are not present.  Many tangents.

Sentence flow, variety

Writing is smooth, skillful, coherent.  Sentences are strong and expressive with varied structure. Diction is consistent and words well chosen.

Writing is clear, sentences have some varied structure, and diction is consistent.

Writing is comprehensible, but sentences may lack clarity or variety.  Diction is slightly inappropriate.

Writing is confusing, hard to follow. Contains fragments and/or run-on sentences. Inappropriate diction.