Detailed Rubric/Checklist for History Essays

Criteria Excellent A Good B Needs Improvement C Unacceptable
1. Writing Mechanics No errors in grammar or punctuation Few errors Many errors Unacceptable level of errors
2. Writing Style Clear, varied expression; vigorous, active-voice prose Very readable for the most part Awkward or unclear sentencing and/or too many passive constructions Unreadable; poor writing obscures the work's meaning
3. Organization Logical sequence; high level of source integration Mostly logical sequencing; not all paragraphs well integrated Difficult to follow; little integration of different sources No overall logic; very poor synthesis of evidence
4. Insight Interpretation Insightful; makes a valid analysis Some insights but some simple description or narration Largely “telling a story” without explaining WHY things happened No insights; no meaningful attempt at explanation
5. Thesis Statement Clearly stated, well supported Stated and supported Unclear statement or poorly supported No identifiable thesis statement
6. Critical Thinking Discusses seriously alternative interpretations Discusses briefly at least one alternative interpretation Mentions the possibility of alternative interpretations Ignores alternative interpretations
7. Research Thorough and serious identification of key sources Serious, but partial array of sources Left out important resources or poor range of sources Inadequate or no substantial research
8. Use of Evidence Claims strongly supported by evidence Claims mostly supported by evidence Claims seldom supported by evidence Claims never supported by evidence
9. Quality of Evidence Good blend of quality primary and scholarly sources Mostly high-quality primary and scholarly sources Too many popular and/or unscholarly sources Poorly selected and low-level sources
10. Documentation Thorough and complete documentation of sources (Works Cited & notes ) Missing information (Works Cited and/or notes provided, but incomplete) A great deal missing (Works Cited and/or references missing) Poor or nonexistent (No Works Cited. or references)

Adapted from a rubric by Richard Weeks, Professor of History, West Virginia Wesleyan College