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points (to be completed by grader)excellent (10)good (9)needs improvement (8, 7, 6, 5)unacceptable (4)
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organization (20%)
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introduction
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thesis statement9There is a clear statement of the thesis (i.e., the main conclusion of the paper).Thesis is obvious, but no explicit statement.There is a thesis, but it needs to be reconstructed from the contextThere is no thesis.
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indication of a justification for the thesis
8Brief, concise, gives the reader an idea of the gist of the argument.Gives the reader an idea of the gist of the argument, but less concise or somewhat vague, or not explicit but obvious.There is some indication of how the thesis will be justified, but it's not explicit and needs to be reconstructe, or is very vague.No indication of a justification.
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summary of steps in the argument10Brief, concise, makes clear how the paper will get to the conclusion, but not a detailed outline of the paper.Makes generally clear how the paper will get to the conclusion, more of a description than a concise summary. There is some indication of how the paper will proceed, but it is somewhat vague and/or incomplete.No indication of how the paper will proceed or inaccurate description of the steps.
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body
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general structure9It is very easy to follow the overall line of argument. All arguments are arranged to best support the thesis, and it is clear how they relate to each other. It is made explicit which claims are used as premises and how they support the main thesis. New premises are introduced in new paragraphs/sections. If there are sub-arguments, it is made explicit how they relate to the main argument.It is generally easy to follow the argument. The arrangement of the arguments helps support the thesis and it is generally clear how they relate to each other. It is clear which claims are used as premises and how they support the main thesis. New premises are usually introduced in new paragraphs/sections. If there are sub-arguments, it is clear how they relate to the main argument. It is somewhat difficult to follow the argument. The arrangement of the arguments mostly does not help support the thesis and it is somewhat unclear how they relate to each other. It is somewhat unclear which claims are used as premises and how they support the main thesis. Separate premises are lumped together in the same paragraphs or sections. IF there are sub-arguments, it is not clear how they relate to the main argument.It is impossible to follow the argument. The arrangement of the arguments is confusing and does not help support the thesis at all, and their relationship with each other is entirely opaque. Premises are discussed randomly or not at all and it is entirely unclear how they support the main thesis, or they clearly do not support it at all. There are many arguments and it is entirely unclear which is the main argument and which arguments are secondary sub-arguments.
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reference to question/thesis9Each argument explicitly refers back to the main thesis of the paper/the question the paper answers or the reference is obvious. Explains significance of this part of the argument/its conclusion for main thesis/question concisely and to the point. Author fully understands the implications of the argument and explains them well.Each argument includes a reference to the main thesis of the paper/the main question. Indicates significance of the argument but does not capture its full force/minor imprecisions in pointing out the implications. Author demonstrates understanding of the implications of the argument.Only some arguments refer back to the main thesis/question and/or, the references are inaccurate, vague, need to be constructed from the text. There is some implicit indication of the significance of the argument and/or the explanation lacks clarity and is imprecise. Author demonstrates some awareness of the implications, but their understanding of the consequences is incomplete or inaccurate.No reference to the main question/thesis or those references are cleary wrong. No indication of the significance of the argument or those indications are clearly wrong. Author demonstrates no awareness or a clear lack of understanding of the consequences of the argument.
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digressions9No digressions. All content supports the argument or explicitly makes a related point/provides some insight which is clearly relevant.No clear digressions. Some content which does not clearly support the argument, but is still somewhat relevant. Does not distract from the main point or affect flow of the argument.No major digressions. Some content which neither supports the argument nor offers a relevant related insight, but rather distracts from the main point or affects the flow of argument to some extent.Major digressions. Paper frequently introduces content which neither supports the argument nor offers a relevant related insight and clearly distracts from the main point or affects the flow of the argument.
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internal contradictions8No internal contradictions. All arguments are consistent with each other. If applicable, author explicitly anticipates potential for misunderstanding or interpretations which might give rise to internal contradictions and defuses those.No clear internal contradictions. All arguments are consistent with each other, barring some major misunderstanding or uncharitable interpretations. Some minor internal contradictions. No blatant inconsistencies among the arguments, and most arguments are consistent with each if interpreted charitably.Major internal contradictions. Obvious and/or frequent inconsistencies among the arguments.
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conclusion
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reference to question & thesis7Answers the question the paper means to address by restatating the thesis and offering a very concise but precise summary of its justification. Answers the question by restating the thesis and offering a fairly precise but somewhat less concise summary of its justification.Answers the question but the summary of the justification for the thesis lacks precision. Or only partially answers the question.Does not answer the question, or answer to the question does not at all match the arguments put forward in the main body of the paper.
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qualification and broader context9The conclusion competently qualifies the thesis or puts it in a broader context. For example, it considers objections to the argument to which it is acknowledged there is no space or expertise to respond. Or it qualifies the applicability of it by pointing out circumstances which might materially change the relevant premises. Or it briefly considers the implications of the acceptance of the conclusion for a larger argument or for a larger issue or problem. Or it highlights what further work may need to be done in that area.The conclusion makes a good attempt at qualifying the thesis or putting it in a larger context. There is some indication that the author is aware of some qualifying considerations or of the broader context to which the thesis relates.There is no reference to qualifying considerations or any broader context.
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argument (main argument and sub-arguments) (40%)
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structure
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thesis10The thesis is stated explicitly. The thesis is obvious, but is not stated explicitly.There is a thesis, but it needs to be reconstructed from the text.There is no thesis.
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premises9Each reason for believing the thesis is made clear and explained in depth. It is also clear which premises are to be taken as given and which wil be supported by sub-arguments. The paper provides sub-arguments for controversial premises. The premises which are taken as given are at least plausibly true.The premises are all clear. It is also pretty clear which premises are to be taken as given and which will be supported by sub-arguments. The paper provides sub-arguments for controversial premises. The premises which are taken as given are at least plausibly true. The premises must be reconstructed from the text of the paper. It is not clear which premises are to be taken as given and which will be supported by sub-arguments. There are no sub-arguments or the premises for these are not made clear. The paper does not provide sub-arguments for controversial premises. The plausibility of the premises which are taken as given is questionable.There is no thesis.
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do premises support thesis?9The premises clearly support the thesis and the author is aware of exactly the kind of support they provide. The argument is either valid as it stands, or if invalid, the thesis, based on the premises, is likely to be or plausibly true.The premises support the thesis, and the author is aware of the general kind of support they provide. The argument is either valid as it stands, or if invalid, the thesis, based on the premises, is likely to be or plausibly true.The premises somewhat support the thesis, but the author is not aware of the kind of support they provide. The argument is invalid, and the thesis, based on the premises, is not likely to be or plausibly true.The premises do not support the thesis.
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considered counter-arguments?9The paper considers both obvious and unobvious counter-examples, counter-arguments, and/or opposing positions, and provides original and/or thoughtful responses.The paper considers both obvious counter-examples, counter-arguments, and/or opposing positions, and provides responses.The paper may consider some obvious counter-examples, counter-arguments, and/or opposing positions, but some obvious ones are missed. Responses are non-existent or mere claims of refutation.No counter-examples, counter-arguments, and/or opposing positions are considered.
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creation
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thesis9The thesis is original, interesting, relevant and answers the question.The thesis is interesting and relevant and answers the question.The thesis is slightly off-topic, obviously true or false and not at all interesting.The thesis is totally irrelevant.
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examples 9Examples are original, relevant, insightful, and well-used.Examples are original, relevant, and well-used.The examples are unoriginal, only somewhat relevant, and/or not well-used.Examples are missing, irrelevant, and/or misused.
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alternative positions explored?8Previously unmentioned alternative positions are explored.Alternative positions are explored.Alternative positions are mentioned but not explored.Alternative positions are ignored.
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engagement with literature and ideas (30%)
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understanding
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text10The paper contains highly accurate and precise summarization, description and/or paraphrasing of text. The paper uses appropriate textual support for these.The summarization, description and/or paraphrasing of text is fairly accurate and precise, and has textual support, but other passages may have been better choices.The summarization, description and/or paraphrasing of text is fairly accurate, but not precise, and the textual support is inappropriate.The summarization, description and/or paraphrasing of text is inaccurate and/or has no textual support.
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ideas9The paper contains a highly accurate and precise description of the issue or problem. The paper contains relevant examples, and indicates the salient issues the examples highlight.The description of the problem or issue is fairly accurate and precise. Examples are given, but similar examples may have been better.The description of the problem or issue is fairly accurate but not precise. Examples are given, but it is not made clear how they are relevant.The description of the problem or issue is inaccurate, and examples are not provided.
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analysis10The paper successfully breaks the argument, issue, or problem into relevant parts. The connections between the parts are clear and highly accurate.The paper successfully breaks the argument, issue, or problem into relevant parts. The connections between the parts are fairly accurate.The paper breaks the argument, issue, or problem into parts, but some parts may be missing or unclear. The connections between the parts are somewhat accurate. The parts identified are not the correct and/or relevant ones. The connections between the parts are completely inaccurate.
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synthesis9The paper successfully integrates all relevant parts from various places into a coherent whole. The connections between the parts are clear and insightful.The paper integrates most relevant parts from various places into a mostly coherent whole. The connections between the parts are generally clear.The paper integrates some parts from various places into a somewhat coherent whole. The connections between the parts are somewhat unclear.The parts to be integrated are not clear and/or relevant. The connections between the parts are unclear.
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evaluation
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argument10The paper evaluates the argument in question by checking for adherence to various standards (validity, soundness, etc.), and checking for informal fallacies. The paper suggests how the argument could be made better according to the appropriate standard.The paper evaluates the argument in question by checking for adherence to various standards (validity, soundness, etc.), and checking for informal fallacies.The paper evaluates the argument in question by checking only the truth of the premises and/or the conclusion, and does not check for informal fallacies.The paper evaluates the argument in question by whether the author agrees or disagrees with the conclusion or a premise.
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position9The paper evaluates the position in question by checking for support in an argument and internal consistency, and by exploring unmentioned plausible alternatives.The paper evaluates the position in question by checking for support in an argument and internal consistency.The paper evaluates the position in question by considering its plausibility.The paper evaluates the position in question by whether the author agrees or disagrees with it.
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Style (10%)
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conceptual clarity10All words are chosen for their precise meanings. All new or unusual terms are well-defined. Key concepts and theories are accurately and completely explained. Information (names, facts, etc.) is accurate. Most words are chosen for their precise meanings. Most new or unusual terms are well-defined. Key concepts and theories are explained. Information (names, facts, etc.) is accurate. Words are not chosen for their precise meanings. New or unusual terms are not well-defined. Key concepts and theories are not explained. Information (names, facts, etc.) is mostly accurate. The author does not acknowledge that key words have precise meanings. Information (names, facts, etc.) is inaccurate.
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use of citations10Citations are used correctly and consistent in style to attribute ideas, arguments, quotations, etc.Citations are used correctly and consistent in style to attribute ideas, arguments, quotations, etc.Not all ideas, arguments, or quotations which are not the work of the author are cited correctly throughout the paper. Inconsistencies in citation style.No citations used.
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language9All sentences are complete and grammatical, no rhetorical questions or slang. Paper has been spell-checked and proofread, and has no errors, and no rhetorical questions or slang.All sentences are complete and grammatical. Paper has been spell-checked and proofread, and has very few errors, and no rhetorical questions or slang.A few sentences are incomplete and/or ungrammatical. Paper has several spelling errors, rhetorical questions and/or uses of slang.Many sentences are incomplete and/or ungrammatical. Paper has many spelling errors, rhetorical questions and/or uses of slang.
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weighted sum of points
60.8
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max. points
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percent0.9074626866
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letter grade
A
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Adapted from Mara Harrell's and Martina Osterrieders's philosophy paper grading rubrics.
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