English at Shawnee State University

The English Sequence

Nearly all SSU students are required to take two composition courses as part of the General Education Program, but less-experienced writers may need to take one or more developmental English courses before beginning the English sequence.

Entering students are placed, through a placement test, into developmental English, ENGL 1101 (the standard first-semester course) or ENGL 1102; students who successfully complete ENGL 1101 or 1102 are eligible for ENGL 1105, the second and final course in the English sequence. 

Summary of Composition Grading Standards

These grading standards describe the typical characteristics of an essay at each grade level. Of course, some essays will not fit neatly into one grade category. Some essays, for example, may have a few strengths typically found in A papers but other characteristics more common to C papers. The final grade an essay receives will depend on the weight the instructor gives each criterion, how well the essay fulfills the requirements of the assignment, and whether the essay was turned in by the date due.

  The A (exceptional) essay meets or exceeds all of the requirements of the assignment and exhibits the following strengths: The B (good) essay fulfills all of the requirements of the assignment and exhibits the following characteristics: The C (competent) essay meets the minimum requirements of the assignment and exhibits some of the following characteristics: The D (weak) essay exhibits some of the following characteristics: The F (unacceptable) essay exhibits some of the following weaknesses:
Content and Development Essay effectively meets the needs of the rhetorical situation. Topic is focused. Claims are fully supported. Essay meets the needs of therhetorical situation. Topic is focused. Claims are supported. Essay is generally purposeful, but it may be predictable. Topic may only be generally defined. Supporting evidence is often obvious. Essay attempts to follow assignment but demonstrates little rhetorical awareness. Topic may be ill-defined or unfocused. Evidence may be misinterpreted. Essay may not follow the assignment. Essay may have no clear purpose or direction.
Organization Introduction captures thereaders’ attention. Main body paragraphs flow smoothly. Conclusion leaves a lasting impression. Introduction captures the readers’attention. Paragraph divisions are logical. Conclusion brings the paper to a graceful close. Introduction may not hook readers. Paragraphs are divided logically, buttransitions may be mechanical. Conclusion may be redundant. Introduction may not be functional. Paragraphs may be undeveloped or arranged randomly. Paper may come to an abrupt end. Paper may be too disorganized to follow.
Style Author’s voice is distinctive and appropriate. Diction is thoughtful. Prose is clear and readable. Dictionis precise. Expression is competent. Word choice is technically correct. There may be lapses in clarity. Vocabulary may be inappropriate for college-level writing. Paper may be unclear. Vocabulary may be offensive to intended audience.
Mechanics Paper is free from errors that undermine the overall effectiveness. There are almost no major sentence-level errors, stigmatized errors, or patterns of error. There are weaknesses in punctuation, spelling, and usage, but paper is generally free of stigmatized errors. Paper may be marked by sentence-level errors, stigmatized errors, orpatterns of error. Paper may be plagued witherrors in spelling, usage, and punctuation.
Research and Documentation (if applicable) Paraphrases and quotations are carefully woven into the text. Sources are cited in the prescribed format. Paraphrases and quotations are well-integrated. Paper is documented in the prescribed format. Prescribed number of sources is used, but paraphrases and quotations may appear to have been pasted into text arbitrarily. There may be minor errors in documentation. Sections of the paper may be little more than “data dumps,” quotationsstrung together without explanation. Paper may not use as many sourcesas required. Sources may not be fullycited. Paper may not use anysources, despite requirements in the assignment. Paper may be intentionally or unintentionally plagiarized.


A more comprehensive version of the grading standards is available here.

English and Humanities

Contact Information

Department of English and Humanities


(740) 351-3300

Fax: 351-3596

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