The Writing Proficiency Requirement

Criteria for Writing Proficiency

   1. The essay has a unifying idea or thesis that clearly addresses the assignment.
The main idea is clearly stated or implied and is an appropriate response to the topic. Focus on this idea is sharp throughout. There are no counterproductive digressions or tangents.
   2. The thesis is substantial and appropriately restricted.
The main idea is not unduly broad; moreover, it shows that the writer has taken the challenge of the assignment seriously.  There is evidence of sound analytical and/or evaluative thinking.
   3. The essay provides a thorough and well-supported discussion of it's thesis.
There are enough points to advance the discussion, and each point is well developed. Evidence is given where appropriate, and when offered, it is detailed and specific. The student is clearly using the writing as a tool to probe and comprehend the subject.
   4. The essay has a logical or otherwise systematic structure.
There is a beginning, middle, and end.  These parts are in proper proportion to each other. The essay's points and sub points are arranged according to some plan.  Order may be chronological, topical, spatial, or otherwise logical, but there is a definite order that is appropriate to the nature of the discussion.  Moreover, the order chosen is not demonstrably inferior to some other order that might have better highlighted the writer's ideas and purpose.
   5. The essay shows the writer's awareness of a rhetorical purpose appropriate to the question chosen.
The essay persuades, informs, or explains as needed.  Content, structure, and
language are well suited to the purpose.
   6. The grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and reference form used in the essay are at least as correct as is reasonable to expect in the time given.
Errors in mechanics are minimal.  If any elementary errors appear, they are not
sufficiently numerous or egregarious to distract the reader.  In any case, no more than a few errors are present in the essay.
   7. The essay is written in a clear, concise style.
Vocabulary is appropriate and varied.  Phrasing is clear and fresh, with a minimum of clichés.  There is no evidence of wordiness. Passive voice is used only where appropriate (as in this sentence).
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