read this handout carefully.
word or two about how I've graded your essays (and what you should do
with them now):
I grade by the standards I distributed earlier, not according to a curve.
(That means I will happily give out all A's to a class of exceptional
writers and thinkers. It has happened!) Please review that standards sheet.
Pay particular attention to the errors listed at the end of this sheet.
These are considered to be serious errors and lower your grade dramatically.
I read each essay twice at separate sittings in order to be accurate and
When you get your essay back, don't just look at the grade. Re-read your
essay (most of us can't remember exactly what we wrote a week earlier).
Think about how you'd revise the essay in light of my comments and your
peer editor's comments. Study your errors in your grammar/punctuation
handbook so you won't repeat them.
I use abbreviations and symbols in marking errors and commenting on the
essays. If you don't understand an abbreviation or can't read my handwriting,
ask me to explain. I hold you responsible for learning the material I
mark. Usually, when you make the same error over and over again in the
essay, I mark it only the first time. It is up to you to find and correct
the subsequent errors.
Don't take my queries, suggestions, or revisions personally. Often I play
devil's advocate in order to alert you to diverse readers' potential reactions.
This is my role as your professor; don't mistake my challenges or quibbling
as personal criticism. Remember that while I may occasionally be blunt,
I am wholly supportive of you. I want you to learn and to succeed. Let
me know if you have a problem with my comments.
are some guidelines that should help you make an informed decision.
In order to reward you for substantial revision, I grade the revised essay
and average that grade with the original grade. This new grade is the
score that counts in your final average for the course. In general, the
students who benefit most from revision are those who need to work on
writing problems. I have seen hard working students bring up their grade
by 10 points (a full letter grade) for a net gain of half a letter gain.
Both in terms of improving your writing and improving your grade, revising
Your grade on the revised essay is based on how well you address the problems
or issues raised in my comments on the original essay. If there are suggestions
I've made that you don't understand, make an appointment to see me before
you begin revising. You don't want to spend a lot of time revising only
to find out you misunderstood suggestions.
My advice to you about revising is that you should start with the "big
issues" first. If, for example, I've commented that your essay doesn't
have a clear purpose, begin revising by tackling that problem which will
affect the entire essay rather than by tinkering with your opening sentence.
Don't make changes for the sake of making changes. Know why you're making
a change and what effect you're trying to achieve. Then move on to eliminating
specific problems such as improving your introduction if I've suggested
that or creating a transition between two paragraphs, etc. Work on problems
in your style or on improving your prose style. Finally, correct all errors.
There is a difference between revising and correcting. You must correct
all errors of grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. from the original essay.
However, you will not receive any additional credit simply for correcting
errors. Those were errors that should not have appeared in the original,
so you receive no revising credit for correcting those mistakes. I will
tell you when the revised essay is due (usually a week after I have returned
the original graded essay). When you turn in the revised essay, attach
the graded original to the revision so that I can compare the two. I will
not grade any revision that is not accompanied by the graded original.
It is impossible for me to write comments on a revised essay. Be assured
that I read and evaluate the essay just as carefully as I do the marked
Please review the additional guidelines regarding late work, plagiarism,
etc. covered in the first-day syllabus.