The (almost) Rubric

Students frequently ask about deductions and grades. The list here is by definition not exhaustive, but lists some of the more common non-content related point deductions on student work. These are listed in descending order beginning with “most serious.”

  1. Does not meet minimum requirements with regard to length. As stated on the syllabus, this may entail an automatic “F.” Note that page lengths are “full pages,” not 1/2 pages or 3/4 pages, so a 2 and 2/3 page submission for a 3-4 page paper does not meet the requirement.
  2. Does not include a Works Cited or cite sources on an assignment that requires it. As this does not meet the minimum specified requirements, this may entail an automatic “F.”
  3. Does not follow format specified (font, margins, etc.) on the syllabus. Depending on the violation, this may range from an automatic 10 point deduction (for example, wrong font) to an automatic “F” (for example, margins if the paper, reformatted, does not meet length requirements). This includes alterations used to make a short paper appear longer, such as the aforementioned margins, double-spacing after periods, or using periods with a larger font than the rest of the text.
  4. Does not follow MLA format. Minimum 5 point deduction if errors are consistent (i.e. student demonstrates s/he has misunderstood something) and goes up to 20 points. For questions regarding MLA Style, please come to office hours, visit the WALC, or an online resource such as the OWL. With regard to MLA format for paper submissions, make sure to look here.
  5. Lacks a clear thesis. Minimum 10 point deduction. See the OWL for thesis statements.
  6. Lacks a conclusion. Minimum 10 point deduction.
  7. Typos. Typically no deduction for one. Two to four may entail a 5 point deduction. More than five may be a 10 to 20 point deduction.*
  8. Sentence Structure. This includes run-on sentences or fragments. Minimum 5 point deduction for one error, two may be 10, more than two is 20.*
  9. Grammar. Typically no deduction for one grammar error. Two to four may entail a 5 point deduction. More than five may be a 10 to 20 point deduction.*
  10. Block quotes. Block quotes per se do not merit a deduction when used correctly. However, block quotes must be fully unpacked and explored in a given paper in order to justify their inclusion, and should not be used to lengthen a paper that would otherwise fail to meet minimum length requirements. There should seldom, if ever, be more than 4 lines in length. There should be no more than one in a short assignment (if any at all), and no more than two in longer assignments (again, if any at all). If block quotes have been used to pad length (that are unexplored, overly long, and a paper does not meet length requirements without them), refer to number 1 above.

*The lesson with these errors is to proofread your paper, have a friend proofread it, or take it to the WALC if you have grammar questions.