How I grade Essays and Papers

I read the whole paper and assign a letter grade (A,B,C,D,E,F) to each paragraph based on both its style and its content. This grade is allocated holistically. It depends on how well written and thought out it is. Roughly like this:

          A. Easy to read, structured, no gross speeling mistooks or grammatical goofs. Content is accurate when factual, well reasoned when debatable, or well expressed when personal and subjective. Sources are given for all non-original work. The original work seems to be something special that you want to say. Good use of mathematical ideas and formula. Any humor is an intelligent and polite way to make relevant points

          B. Better than a C but not perfect. Not so easy to read as an A, and perhaps has one or two technical mistakes. Similarly the structure may not be as good as an A but better than a C. Its harder to tell what is factual, debatable, or original. It doesn't make completely clear what you wanted to say... May wander off topic a little. Any mathematics or humor is either weak or inappropriate.

          C. A good enough piece of work. There are some errors that could have been corrected. Perhaps it suggests that you don't know what you want to say. Probably there are a few errors of fact or some fallacious reasoning. Perhaps some padding. Probably there is little structure or a muddle of run-on ideas. Mathematics is misused a bit.

          D. Work that makes your boss wonder about your next pay rise. Many errors of structure, spelling, grammar, fact and logic. No references. Many ambiguities. Hard to figure out. Content that is inappropriate. It suggests that you don't know what you want. Mathematics is badly wrong or isn't fitted to the situation.

          E. Erroneous work. Bad grammar and spelling. I can't understand what you are getting at or why you even wrote it. It is confused, unclear, pointless or off the topic. Inappropriate humor. Errors in arithmetic.

          F. This is identical to something else and you didn't say so. Also used when you omit a required section or topic. Padding, Plagiarism, or missing material.

I then convert the letters into numbers and work out an average, scaled to the maximum points for the piece of work as a whole. I round up if the result is not a whole number. The numbers for the grades are: A=10, B=9, C=8, D=7, E=6, F=0.