Essay Grading Policy

Each final essay for the progression will receive a letter grade from A (or A+) to F. Your final course grade will be computed on the 4.0 scale.

Each letter grade signifies the following:

“A” essays not only fulfill the goals of the assignment, but push beyond those goals in surprising ways. This is more likely to be possible when the writer has found something insightful and compelling to write about and has taken great care to attend to his or her language, argumentation, and form. “A” essays reflect excellence and artistry.

A “B” range essay is one that is ambitious but only partially successful, or one that achieves modest aims well. A “B” essay must contain focused ideas, but these ideas may not be particularly complex, or may not be presented or supported well at every point. It integrates sources efficiently, if not always gracefully. “B” essays come in two basic varieties: the “solid B” and the “striving B.”  The solid B is a good, competent paper. The striving “B” may excel in certain areas, but it is sufficiently uneven to preclude it from receiving an A. “B” essays reflect superior understanding of the assignment’s goals.

“C” essays reflect struggle in fulfilling the assignment’s goals. This kind of essay may show a fair amount of work, but it does not come together well enough to be a competent paper. A “C” range essay has significant problems articulating and presenting its central ideas, though it is usually focused and coherent. Such essays often lack clarity and use source material in simple ways, without significant analysis or insight.

A “D” range essay fails to grapple seriously with either ideas or texts, or fails to address the expectations of the assignment. A “D” essay distinguishes itself from a failing essay by showing moments of promise, such as emerging, though not sufficiently developed or articulated ideas.

“D” essays do not use sources well, though there may some effort to do so.

An “F” essay does not grapple with either ideas or texts, or does not address the expectations of the assignment. It is often unfocused or incoherent.


College Writing will provide you with strategies for working ethically and accurately with the texts you engage. We will discuss source use practices that prevent plagiarism, a serious academic offense that runs counter to our academic community’s core values of honesty and respect for others. According to the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity (

Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. The following are some examples of plagiarism, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:

  • Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes attributing the words to their source.
  • Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source.
  • Using information that is not common knowledge without acknowledging the source.
  • Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments.

Internet plagiarism includes submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the internet without citing the source, and “cutting & pasting” from various sources without proper attribution.

Final drafts that contain plagiarism will receive a zero, may result in failure of the course, and the case will be reported to the University.

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