A Comprehensive Guide on How to Grade Papers

No matter whether you’re a teacher or student, or even a homeschooling parent, you’ll surely deal with the paper grading process. Nevertheless, when it might seem pretty easy for educators, measuring the quality of a white paper can be really challenging for others. You might be uncertain about the best way to figure percentage grades, letter grades, and grade point average. Or else, you might be unsure that assigning grades is necessary, preferring instead to work on the assignment quality instead.

In fact, even the approximate estimation of a grade can be a great way to define the weak points of your work, no matter whether it’s a college paper, research paper, or any other type of academic writing. Additionally, you can learn the overall scopes that require more practice, like grammar, spelling, paper structure, and others.

In this article, we’ll share the common approaches for grading papers used by students and teachers, so you can easily define which of those will be more convenient to use and can better fit your needs.


How Do You Grade Papers as a Student

First of all, let’s review how you can grade papers as a student. While it might seem useless at first, getting your assignment graded can significantly help in the process of self-analysis. This means you’ll be able to better understand your level of proficiency, define the strong and weak points of your paper and prioritize the aspects that should be improved further.

What is more, understanding the basic principles of grading can help you not only to get the projections on your assessment. It can help you underline the basic writing problems and challenges that should be improved, as well as implement the best practices in academic writing to enhance the quality of your white papers.

Overall, the grading papers criteria can be divided into two categories: higher-order concerns and lower-order concerns. Let’s now review the peculiarities of each type to better understand their role in the grading system in general.

Higher-Order Concerns

High concerns cover the most important aspects of the assignment. That is why they have a larger impact on the grading outcome. Additionally, it helps to define the best and most important features of your paper. For example, the higher concerns of a research paper usually incorporate the following aspects:

  • Focus – what’s working great in your essay (the main thesis, statements, or arguments in your writing)? Is it clear? Does it cover the whole content?
  • Development – what else can be improved (comprehensiveness, background information, integration of sources, audience adaptation, argument, and many more).
  • Organization – details concerning the structure organization (the type of writing, whether or not it’s organized appropriately and can be easily navigated by readers, etc.)

Overall, these are the most important concerns that will help you better understand the assignment and evaluate whether or not your writing can fully meet the requirements.

Lower-Order Concerns

Though these concerns are less important, they shouldn’t be overlooked when writing any type of paperwork. In general, they include the style characteristics (sentence, pattern, and diction) and some mechanics issues (usage, punctuation, spelling, and grammar).

Unlike the high-order concerns, which can only be evaluated by a human, the low-order concerns can now be fixed with the powerful proofreading software that can automatically check the spelling and grammar yet highlight the usage issues across the content based on your writing goals set.

Nevertheless, ignoring the low-order concerns can significantly impact the overall grade you’ll get for the paper: even a perfectly written essay can be easily spoiled with a bunch of grammar issues or misspellings, making the content impossible to read and understand.


How Do Teachers Grade Papers

To calculate a grade for any type of academic writing, educators usually start by separating the major and minor errors. It’s important to prioritize the major issues like content, creativity, and structure over more minor issues like grammar, usage, and spelling.

Once all the priorities are set, the teacher will examine your paper without marking anything on it, paying attention only to the higher concerns first, for instance:

  • Was the assignment fulfilled effectively?
  • Was it completed creatively?
  • Were all the arguments or thesis stated clearly?
  • Was the thesis developed over the course of the assignment or just mentioned in a specific part of it?

These are only a few basic questions educators rely on when analyzing the paper, after which it’s time to mark the parts that have some issues or mistakes. The modern pedagogic practices also suggest teachers use pencil, blue or black pen to make students less concerned about their success or failure and more about the learning itself.

Next, the lower-order concerns are defined, including the usage, grammar, and punctuation – these are prioritized depending on the educational level of students and the grade level of the essays. Overall, these cover:

  • Paragraph separation issues.
  • Uppercase / lowercase mistakes.
  • Misspellings.
  • Unnecessary words.
  • Sentence-level issues.

Finally, it’s time to assign the letter grades. In modern teaching practice, it’s recommended to assign numerical values to various criteria used to make up the letter grade, usually based on a scale of 100. As a rule, the criteria can consist of: sources and citations; paper structure; organization and paragraphs; thesis and arguments; grammar, usage, and spelling – the value and priority of each are defined by the teacher based on the type of work, its purpose, and other peculiarities)

In order to get the letter grade, educators tailor the scale to the following interpretation, which is commonly used in most educational institutions across the world:

  1. A – 100-90
  2. B – 89-80
  3. C – 79-70
  4. D – 69-60
  5. F – 60 and lower

This grading scale is not solely used for essays and can be freely interpreted for other types of assignments, like tests, quizzes, reflections, and many more.

Other Grading Methods To Use

Along with the basic approaches used by teachers and students, there are some other popular methods you can use for the grading of the papers. Below you’ll find the two most common methods that can be used by both educators and learners, as well as the grading method’s benefits.

Holistic Grading

This grading paper approach implies looking at the paper as the entire work instead of searching for the content and analyzing the specific issues in it. Holistic grading might come in handy to write a detailed explanation of what criteria the assignment should meet to be graded with an A, B, or C. For instance, it can be interpreted with the following paragraphs:

  • A. The paper provides a lot of catching insights and presents the deep competence of the topic and understanding of the underlying issues. The message is stated clearly, concisely, and directly. There is confidence in this writing with no major mistakes noticed.
  • B. The paper meets and, at times, exceeds the basic requirements of the assignment. Nevertheless, in some paragraphs across the essay, you have to think through and deal with major ideas in the assignment. The message is communicated with generally effective clarity, directness, and conciseness.
  • C. The paper provides little insight into the greater issues of the assignment. Overall, it meets the basic requirements of the task. For the most part, the message is reasonably clear, concise, and direct, though there are some problems across the writing.

Checklist-Based Grading

Unlike the previous type, grading with a checklist implies evaluating the essay based on a set of specific criteria. Overall, this approach allows teachers to efficiently and consistently grade papers, as well as leaving the chance to grade papers effortlessly and more accurately.

There are many different checklists to try across the Internet, with most of them analyzing the following criteria:

  • The table of content.
  • Structure (introduction, body, and conclusion).
  • Organization & Criteria (the entire paper and its main points).
  • Style (the specific characteristics of the writing manner).

The checklist grading approach will be the best fit for those educators and learners who want to get a universal system that can help to conduct an accurate and effective analysis of papers and will perfectly work for any type of academic writing.

Get Your Best Essay Done With Grademiners!

As you can see, grading your papers is much easier than you might expect and is not solely the teachers’ skill. It can provide you with the basic idea of how you should evaluate your efforts input into the paper, as well as give some insights on how your writing can be improved.

Nevertheless, if you have some trouble writing your assignment or conducting a full spell check, you can always get expert assistance from an academic writing service! Grademiners is a professional agency with hundreds of experienced writers that are always ready to deliver first-class assignments of any type and for basically any subject and check for plagiarism.

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