9-Point Rubric for Writing about Literature

Score 8-9
  • Responds to the prompt clearly, directly, and fully.
  • Approaches the text analytically.
  • Supports a coherent thesis with evidence from the text
  • Explains how the evidence illustrates and reinforces its thesis.
  • Employs subtlety in its use of the text.
  • Writer’s style is fluent and flexible.
  • Free of mechanical and grammatical errors.

Score 6-7
  • Responds to the assignment clearly and directly but with less development
  • Demonstrates a good understanding of the text.
  • Supports its thesis with appropriate textual evidence.
  • While its approach is analytical, the analysis is less precise
  • Use of the text is competent but not subtle.
  • Writing in this paper is forceful and clear
  • Few if any grammatical and mechanical errors.

Score 5
  • Addresses the assigned topic intelligently but does not answer it fully and specifically.
  • Characterized by a good but general grasp of the text using the text to frame an apt response to the prompt.
  • May employ textual evidence sparingly or offer evidence without attaching it to the thesis.
  • Essay is clear and organized but may be somewhat mechanical.
  • Paper may also be marred by grammatical and mechanical errors.

Score 3-4
  • Fails in some important way to fulfill the demands of the prompt.
  • May not address part of the assignment, fail to provide minimal textual support for its thesis, or
  • base its analysis on a misreading of some part of the text.
  • May present one or more incisive insights among others of less value.
  • Writing may be similarly uneven in development with lapses in organization, clarity, grammar, and mechanics.

Score 1-2
  • Commonly combines two or more serious failures.
  • May not address the actual assignment.
  • May indicate a serious misreading of the text.
  • May not offer textual evidence.
  • May use it in a way that suggests a failure to understand the text.
  • May be unclear, badly written, or unacceptably brief.
  • Style of this paper is usually marked by egregious errors.
  • Occasionally a paper in this range is smoothly written but devoid of content.

Grade Conversion
9 = A+ (96-100)
8 = A- (92-95)
7 = B+ (88-91)
6 = B- (83-87)
5 = C (74-82)
4 = D+ (70-73)
3 = D- (65-69)
2 = F (51-64)
1 = F (0-50)