Grading standards

“ The text [link] below defines the outlines of the standards for the grades of A, B, C, D, and F. These standards are suggestive of common denominator academic values and must be contextualized at two levels: at the department level (to capture domain-specific variations) and at the course level (to capture course-specific differences).

High Level Performance

High level performance implies excellence in thinking and performance within the domain of a subject and course, along with the development of a range of knowledge acquired through the exercise of thinking skills and abilities. A-level work is, on the whole, not only clear, precise, and well-reasoned, but insightful as well. Basic terms and distinctions are learned at a level that implies insight into basic concepts and principles. The A-level student has internalized the basic intellectual standards appropriate to the assessment of his/her own work in a subject and demonstrates insight into self-evaluation. The A-level student often raises important questions and issues, analyzes key questions and problems clearly and precisely, recognizes key questionable assumptions, clarifies key concepts effectively, uses language in keeping with educated usage, frequently identifies relevant competing points of view, and demonstrates a commitment to reason carefully from clearly stated premises in the subject, as well as marked sensitivity to important implications and consequences. A-level work displays excellent reasoning and problem-solving within a field and is consistently at a high level of intellectual excellence.

The Grade of B

The grade of B implies sound thinking and performance within the domain of a subject and course, along with the development of a range of knowledge acquired through the exercise of thinking skills and abilities. B-level work is, on the whole, clear, precise, and well-reasoned, but does not have depth of insight. Basic terms and distinctions are learned at a level that implies comprehension of basic concepts and principles. The B-level student has internalized some of the basic intellectual standards appropriate to the assessment of his/her own work in a subject and demonstrates competence in self-evaluation. The B-level student often raises questions and issues, analyzes questions and problems clearly and precisely, recognizes some questionable assumptions, clarifies key concepts competently, typically uses language in keeping with educated usage, sometimes identifies relevant competing points of view, and demonstrates the beginnings of a commitment to reason carefully from clearly stated premises in a subject, as well as some sensitivity to important implications and consequences. B-level work displays sound reasoning and problem-solving within a field and is consistently at a competent level of intellectual performance.

The Grade of C

The grade of C implies mixed thinking and performance within the domain of a subject and course, along with some development of a range of knowledge acquired through the exercise of thinking skills and abilities. C-level work is inconsistently clear, precise, and well-reasoned; moreover, it does not display depth of insight or even consistent competence. Basic terms and distinctions are learned at a level that implies the beginnings of, but inconsistent comprehension of, basic concepts and principles. The C-level student has internalized a few of the basic intellectual standards appropriate to the assessment of his/her own work in a subject, but demonstrates inconsistency in self-evaluation. The C-level student sometimes raises questions and issues, sometimes analyzes questions and problems clearly and precisely, recognizes some questionable assumptions, clarifies some concepts competently , inconsistently uses language in keeping with educated usage, sometimes identifies relevant competing points of view, but does not demonstrate a clear commitment to reason carefully from clearly stated premises in a subject, nor consistent sensitivity to important implications and consequences. C-level work displays inconsistent reasoning and problem-solving within a field and is, at best, at a competent level of intellectual performance.

The Grade of D

The grade of D implies poor thinking and performance within the domain of a subject and course. On the whole, the student tries to get through the course by means of rote recall, attempting to acquire knowledge by memorization rather than through comprehension and understanding. The student is not developing critical thinking skills and understandings as requisite to understanding course content. D-level work represents thinking that is typically unclear, imprecise, and poorly reasoned. The student is achieving competence only on the lowest order of performance. Basic terms and distinctions are often incorrectly used and reflect a superficial or mistaken comprehension of basic concepts and principles. The D-level student has not internalized the basic intellectual standards appropriate to the assessment of his/her own work in a subject and does poorly in self-evaluation. The D-level student rarely raises questions and issues, superficially analyzes questions and problems, does not recognize his/her assumptions, only partially clarifies concepts, rarely uses language in keeping with educated usage, rarely identifies relevant competing points of view, and shows no understanding of the importance of a commitment to reason carefully from clearly stated premises in a subject. The D-level student is insensitive to important implications and consequences. D-level work displays poor reasoning and problem-solving within a field and is, at best, at a low level of intellectual performance.

The Grade of F

The student tries to get through the course by means of rote recall, attempting to acquire knowledge by memorization rather than through comprehension and understanding. The student is not developing critical thinking skills and understandings as requisite to understanding course content. F-level work represents thinking that is regularly unclear, imprecise, and poorly reasoned. The student is not achieving competence in his/her academic work. Basic terms and distinctions are regularly incorrectly used and reflect a mistaken comprehension of basic concepts and principles. The F-level student has not internalized the basic intellectual standards appropriate to the assessment of his/her own work in a subject and regularly mis-evaluates his/her own work. The F-level student does not raise questions or issues, does not analyze questions and problems, does not recognize his/her assumptions, does not clarify concepts, does not use language in keeping with educated usage, confuses his/her point of view with the TRUTH, and shows no understanding of the importance of a commitment to reason carefully from clearly stated premises in a subject. The F-level student is oblivious to important implications and consequences. F-level work displays incompetent reasoning and problem-solving within a field and consistently poor intellectual performance.”

Source: http://www.criticalthinking.org/resources/college-wide-grading-standards.shtml

What Grades Mean

“ A” work is work that is exceptional. “A” work looks both at details and at the larger context, and it synthesizes material to come up with something that is new and original. “A” work has a goal, reaches it, and comes up with something new. “A” work is organized, accurate, and free of mechanical errors.

“B” work is work that is good. “B” work is on the right track to “A” work, but it isn’t as fully articulated and well thought out as “A” work. Too many signs of carelessness (i.e., mechanical errors, inaccurate citation, etc.) may turn an “A” paper into a “B” paper.

“C” work is average work. It communicates what has been said in class and makes correct points, but it doesn’t take things any farther. It uses standard structures to say unoriginal things. Or it may say original things, but in such a way to make the reader confused about how the point is being made, or what it is. (Excessive mechanical errors can make a “B” paper a “C” paper because the reader has to spend so much time figuring out what is being said.)

“D” work is substandard. It misses the point, uses inaccurate information and logic, and shows a lack of thorough thought. “D” work misspells and mis-attributes names and qualities, and shows little awareness of organization and logic.

“F” work is work that does not address the problems set forward, does not have a goal, is riddled with errors, and does not communicate anything. Or it is work that has been plagiarized.

One final comment about grading. I do not “give” grades – you earn them. Although I would love to give every one of you “A”s in everything, I cannot do so unless you do work that warrants an“A.” So it is up to you.

Submitted by Dr. Anne Philips, English Department, Kansas State University.