Children's Literature 414 (Fall 2016)
Grading Rubric

Deborah Kaplan
deborah.kaplan@simmons.edu
An Expert A Practitioner A Novice
Engaging with the critical texts
  • Reads the text closely.
  • Understands the piece's central argument and sub-arguments.
  • Uses those arguments effectively (challenges, agrees, explores, interrogates) to launch the writer's argument.
  • Generally reads the text closely.
  • Can lose focus on the text to other extra-textual concerns.
  • May summarize or make general observations about the critical text.
  • Discusses the text without analysis.
  • Discusses the work in general terms.
  • No analysis.
  • Not sure how to understand the critical text's argument.
  • Uses quotations from the critical text out of context to make an argument not supported by that quotation in the text.
Engaging with the literary works
  • Conducts close reading of the text
  • Conducts significant analysis of the text.
  • Uses quotations and examples from the text, discusses them, and ties them to an overall argument.
  • Generally reads the text closely.
  • Can lose focus on the text to other extra-textual concerns.
  • Uses few or no examples or quotations from the text.
  • May summarize or make observations about the critical text.
  • Discusses the text without analysis.
  • Discusses, but does not analyze, the work.
  • Not sure how to understand the themes of the text.
  • Uses generalities rather than detailed examples.
  • Uses quotations from the text out of context to make an argument not supported by that quotation in the text.
  • Cherry-picks quotations to make an argument not supported by analyzing the larger whole.
Crafting a critical argument
  • Paper offers a central critical argument.
  • The argument is grounded in clearly defined terms and is bolstered by material from the critical and literary texts used in the paper.
  • The paper is organized based on the argument.
  • Paper is focused on the close reading and the argument.
  • Paper has a theme that is tied to the literary or critical text rather than an argument that synthesizes the two in new ways.
  • The paper uses source material, but may not always make the best selection to serve the argument.
  • The paper is organized according to the chronology of the book (e.g, page numbers in citations often go from the beginning of book to the end of book) rather than according to argument.
  • After a solid argument, paper turns to sweeping generalizations or value statements (eg. "All children feel," "As readers we must") in order to present a meaty-looking conclusion.
  • Paper does not have an argument.
  • Paper is a book discussion that does not explore the critical or the literary text with a clear purpose.
  • The reasons for the paper's organization remain unclear to the reader or the paper lacks intentional organization.
  • Paper displays serious flaws of comprehension and/or presentation of the literary and/or critical texts.
  • Paper lacks analysis and stays with observation or reader response.
  • Paper makes claims, but they does not explore the claims.
  • Paper tries to justify why it matters (the so what of the argument) with sweeping generalizations about children, books, etc. which can't be supported by the evidence of the critical or literary texts.
The technical aspects of a high-quality paper
  • Precise use of language tied to key argument.
  • Clean papers without proofreading, grammatical, spelling, punctuation, or MLA style errors.
  • Consistent and professional writing style in formal written English.
  • The paper is formatted in MLA style.
  • A reader-friendly paper. The reader needs to do no unusual work to move through, understand, process, and engage with the paper's arguments.
  • Inconsistent in the presentation and stitching together of argument.
  • Paper didn't get a final proofreading and spelling check.
  • Has many reader-friendly qualities, but at times the reader has to guess what the paper means or why it matters.
  • There are no serious mechanical problems (eg. grammar, punctuation and/or spelling errors; vague, repetitious, or colloquial language; shifting tenses; unclear pronoun antecedents; comma splices or sentence fragments).
  • The paper doesn't cite all quoted works using MLA style.
  • Stylistic and grammatical errors interfere with the content of the essay.
  • The paper is colloquial English. Alternately, the paper uses tortured sentence structure to emulate formality or professionalism.
  • The paper does not follow MLA formatting and citation procedures, and may even lack citations.
  • The paper requires the reader to do the work of filling in gaps in knowledge of the literary text, critical text, and central argument.
  • May have evidence, but doesn't show the reader how/why that evidence is relevant.

If you make an appointment with the Simmons Writing Center, bring this rubric with you, in order to help them help you.

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Children's Literature 414: a Renaissance in the Fantastic by Deborah Kaplan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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