Criteria Of Evaluation Essays

A Criterion for Evaluating Papers and Essays

Perhaps the most difficult task for the educator is to evaluate a student's writing. An important reason for this difficulty is the educator's concern that the evaluation process is too subjective; that is, the "correctness" of a paper is perceived by the student as only the educator's unsupported opinion. This concern usually is the product of habitually seeing education as a process of right or wrong answers, whether this perception is viewed by the educator or by the student. While objective tests can examine the student's comprehension about facts and figures, written papers about divergent knowledge offer a challenge, because the student's paper cannot be evaluated by the same criterion as a true-false test about knowledge that is convergent.

For this reason, writing is given little priority by educational technocrats, who emphasize processes rather than rhetoric. Objective tests are satisfactory to determine whether a student has minimal knowledge required by the techocrats, and the student's standing can be readily determined by the grading scale. Students are technically and socially trained in order to "fit in American society." However, to employ rhetoric means having to evaluate differences in ideas, which is becoming more politically unacceptable in the schools, because differences create friction. In order to get a job, a student does not have to struggle with words or with ideas.

An objective scale is impossible for evaluating writing. In reality, like the mythological "average student," there is no such thing as an average paper. The reason is because papers deal with ideas, not with answers. Ideas cannot be viewed in terms of being average or above-average, but only as being clear and logical, or unclear and illogical. Ideas may express truth or error, but never are these ideas "average." Therefore, the evaluation of papers centers on whether the student successfully expresses his ideas in a clear and compelling way. While important to proper communication, grammar is not the emphasis when evaluating the student's work. Only after the educator has considered the presentation of the message are concerns about spelling, grammar, and mechanics addressed. However, since the technocratic establishment is hooked on GPAs, the educator must assign some letter grade in order to appease the misguided makers of policy.

The F paper should be rare. Every student is not so completely devoid of ideas that he cannot organize or discuss a topic. If the student fails, the reason will be his failure to acquire a working knowledge of grammar, and not because the student lacks ideas. The only real question for the evaluator will be to determine the difference between the A, the B, and the C paper. Typically, the difference between mediocre writing and uncommon writing is that the better writer uses transitions between thoughts and uses specific support in the form of examples, illustrations, and anecdotes. The common writer uses language that a politician uses--trite phrases, vague generalities, and noncommittal hedging. The difference between the A and B paper is that the writer of the A paper has written a nearly flawless product.

The Evaluator's Checklist

1.    While not necessary, you should consider reading the essay aloud to the student. If the reading reveals weaknesses in logic and grammar, have the student revise the paper before any further evaluation. As you read the paper, the student himself will discover his own errors or lack of logic.

2.  The second reading is to find failure in communication.

  •   Is there a weak thesis or, even worse, no thesis?
  •   Do the topic sentences fail to prove the thesis?
  •   Is the support just vague generalizations and not specific?
  •   Are pronouns used for subjects or objects?
  •   Are vague nouns used such as "person," "thing," "society," and "event"?

3.  Use a check mark to indicate lines that have grammatical or spelling errors. The student is now required to discover his own errors without the educator's "correcting" them for him.

4.    You should always create a short paragraph that will serve as the end note.

  • Explain what the student is doing right. 
  • Tell the student what you would liked to have known more about in his paper, but that he failed to say.
  • Find one--two at the most--concepts that the student needs to do for the rewrite or next essay.
  • End with an encouraging note. Tell the student how pleased you are that he has progressed, how you enjoyed reading this particular essay, or some other appropriate remark. The evaluation ends on a positive note.

5.  Assign a letter grade. The following criteria are used by colleges when assigning a grade to the paper. Papers are evaluated for content and organization, as well as for grammar and mechanics. Most college professors assign a failure to any paper with three major errors in grammar. Some colleges are even stricter regarding grammar.

6.    Miscellaneous considerations
  • Papers should be double-spaced, even when the student writes by hand. The space between the lines allows you to place your comments near the student's idea that needs attention.
  • Always have the student rewrite the paper. Students need to learn that the first written product is always a rough draft.

The A essay:
  • has a strong central idea (thesis) that is related to the assignment;
  • has a clear, logical organization with well developed major points that are supported with concrete and specific evidence;
  • uses effective transitions between ideas;

  • uses appropriate words composing sophisticated sentences;

  • expresses ideas freshly and vividly;

  • and is free of mechanical, grammatical, and spelling errors.

The B essay:
  • has a strong central idea that is related to the assignment;

  • has a clear, logical organization with developed major points, but the supporting evidence may not be especially vivid or thoughtful;

  • uses appropriate words accurately, but seldom exhibits an admirable style while the sentences tend to be less sophisticated;

  • and has few mechanical, grammatical, and spelling errors that do not distract from the overall message.

  • The C essay:
  • has a central idea that is presented in such a way that the reader understands the writer's purpose;

  • has an organization that reveals a plan, but the evidence tends to be general rather than specific or concrete;

  • uses common words accurately, but sentences tend to be simplistic and unsophisticated;

  • and one or two severe mechanical or grammatical errors.

  • The F essay will exhibit one or more of the following problems:
    • lacks a central idea (no thesis);

    • lacks clear organization;

    • is not related to the assignment;

    • fails to develop main points, or develops them in a repetitious or illogical way;

    • fails to use common words accurately;

    • uses a limited vocabulary in that chosen words fail to serve the writer's purpose;

    • or has three or more mechanical or grammatical errors.

    Major errors in grammar: The following are considered major errors in grammar.
    • Fragment

    • Comma slice, or fused sentence

    • Subject-verb agreement

    • Pronoun-antecedent agreement or pronoun reference



    The purpose of an evaluation essay is to present an opinion or viewpoint on a subject or body of work. It should firstly provide a summary of the article in question, then using a thorough, well structured argument the writer presents a point-of-view supported with examples and evidence. By nature this essay bears many similarities to the persuasive essay, only is designed to display a more balanced argument

    The first step in writing an evaluation essay is to provide a judgment asserted through a clear thesis. A good thesis statement determines exactly the focus of your essay and aids the reader in understanding what the essay is all about. Furthermore, it presents the point-of-view you are taking and hereafter each paragraph should work towards asserting this point-of-view to the reader. Consider the examples below, it is obvious which one provides the clearest definition of what the essay is about, and the argument it will present:

    A: Abbey Road is an album by the Beatles.

    B: Through the balance of classic song writing, experimentalism and the harnessing of musical technology, The Beatles created the masterpiece that is Abbey Road.

    It is clear that B is the most successful in summarizing the subject matter evaluated in the essay, whilst also displaying the writer’s opinion and the stance the essay will take throughout the main body.


    Writing an evaluation essay

    For your evaluation essay to be successful in putting your point across you need a convincing argument. It is important to thoroughly research the subject matter or have comprehensively read and digested the body of work in question. For your essay to sound convincing it is essential that you know what you are clear and confident in the subject matter you are covering.

    If the evaluation essay is to be successful you must back up your viewpoints using evidence. For example, if you are evaluating the faults of a text you must back up your observations with facts and quote from the source material to verify your statements. To further demonstrate your point you may also wish to compare your subject matter to a separate body of work to compare or contrast where its strengths and weaknesses lie.

    An evaluation essay should show impartiality and therefore present a balanced argument. If a writer appears biased towards a subject then the argument is ultimately less convincing. As a result the essay will fail to persuade or convince the reader to agree with the ideas or views the writer is working to establish.

    The evaluation essay will require a conclusion which summarizes the points made during the main body. It is important that your argument has been logically structured throughout; that each point made leads fluently on to the next and seamlessly through to the conclusion.

    You should provide concrete and secure closure to your argument by ultimately leaving the reader absolutely convinced by your evaluation and each point should have in turn worked towards proving the viewpoints of your thesis justified and correct, through a fair and unbiased analysis.



    Gender differences and biases have been a part of the normal lives of humans ever since anyone can remember. Anthropological evidence has revealed that even the humans and the hominids of ancient times had separate roles for men and women in their societies, and this relates tot the concepts of epistemology. There were certain things that women were forbidden to do and similarly men could not partake in some of the activities that were traditionally reserved for women. This has given birth to the gender role stereotypes that we find today. These differences have been passed on to our current times; although many differences occur now that have caused a lot of debate amongst the people as to their appropriateness and have made it possible for us to have a stereotyping threat by which we sometimes assign certain qualities to certain people without thinking. For example, many men are blamed for undermining women and stereotyping them for traditional roles, and this could be said to be the same for men; men are also stereotyped in many of their roles. This leads to social constructionism since the reality is not always depicted by what we see by our eyes. These ideas have also carried on in the world of advertising and the differences shown between the males and the females are apparent in many advertisements we see today. This can have some serious impacts on the society as people begin to stereotype the gender roles in reality.

    There has been a lot of attention given to the portrayal of gender in advertising by both practitioners as well as academics and much of this has been done regarding the portrayal of women in advertising (Ferguson, Kreshel, & Tinkham 40-51; Bellizzi & Milner 71-79). This has led many to believe that most of the advertisements and their contents are sexist in nature. It has been noted by viewing various ads that women are shown as being more concerned about their beauty and figure rather than being shown as authority figures in the ads; they are usually shown as the product users. Also, there is a tendency in many countries, including the United States, to portray women as being subordinate to men, as alluring sex objects, or as decorative objects. This is not right as it portrays women as the weaker sex, being only good as objects.

    At the same time, many of the ads do not show gender biases in the pictures or the graphics, but some bias does turn up in the language of the ad. “Within language, bias is more evident in songs and dialogue than in formal speech or when popular culture is involved. For example, bias sneaks in through the use of idiomatic expressions (man's best friend) and when the language refer to characters that depict traditional sex roles. One's normative interpretation of these results depends on one's ideological perspective and tolerance for the pace of change. It is encouraging that the limited study of language in advertising indicates that the use of gender-neutrality is commonplace. Advertisers can still reduce the stereotyping in ad pictures, and increase the amount of female speech relative to male speech, even though progress is evidenced. To the extent that advertisers prefer to speak to people in their own language, the bias present in popular culture will likely continue to be reflected in advertisements” (Artz et al 20).

    Advertisements are greatly responsible for eliciting such views for the people of our society. The children also see these pictures and they are also the ones who create stereotypes in their minds about the different roles of men and women. All these facts combine to give result to the different public opinion that becomes fact for many of the members of the society. Their opinion and views are based more on the interpretation they conclude from the images that are projected in the media than by their observations of the males and females in real life. This continues in a vicious circle as the media tries to pick up and project what the society thinks and the people in the society make their opinions based upon the images shown by the media. People, therefore, should not base too much importance about how the media is trying to portray the members of the society; rather they should base their opinions on their own observation of how people interact together in the real world. 

    Work Cited 

    Artz, N., Munger, J., and Purdy, W., “Gender Issues in Advertising Language”, Women and Language, 22, (2), 1999. 

    Bellizzi, J. A., & Milner, L. “Gender positioning of a traditionally male-dominant product”, Journal of Advertising Research, 31(3), 1991. 

    Ferguson, J. H., Kreshel, P. J., & Tinkham, S. F. “In the pages of Ms.: Sex role portrayals of women in advertising”, Journal of Advertising, 19 (1), 1990.

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