Rehearsals are common tasks in high school and college. If you are a new teacher who wants to evaluate student essays, familiarizing yourself with the basic parts of an essay can also be helpful. Essays are generally divided between an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In some cases, an essay needs to include works cited or a page of references. If you also need to grade an essay, develop a rubric and subtract the set number of points for missing, incomplete, or incorrect parts.
Part 1 of 5: Evaluating the Thesis Statement and Introduction
Step 1. Find the intention to attract readers
The introduction is a great place to get readers to want to keep reading. Authors can accomplish this by including a question, a vivid description, a quote, or some surprising information. Identify where the author is trying to attract the reader and offer feedback as needed.
For example, in an essay about the first day of school at a new school, the author might engage readers by providing a vivid description of what it was like for him to walk down the hall for the first time
Step 2. Notice if you can identify what the essay is supposed to be about
The introduction should provide an overview of the main topic of the essay. This overview should be brief, but effective, so readers know what to expect as they continue reading.
- For example, if the essay is supposed to be about gun control, the introduction should provide context for readers on this topic. This could be in the form of facts and statistics, an anecdote, or some background information about the controversy.
- On the other hand, a narrative essay about the first day of school at a new school should provide a scene from that experience or some kind of background information, such as why you had to start at a new school.
Step 3. Identify the part of the introduction "and then what?
"Another key component of a good introduction is one that provides the reader with some motivation to get interested in the topic. This is often called the" so what? "Part of an essay. If readers are interested in the topic, they will not find the essay interesting Identify your attempt to show readers why the topic should matter to them.
- For example, if the topic is bee population decline, the author might include something about how it would affect the food supply to get readers interested in the topic.
- If the essay is about a memorable family vacation, the introduction may explain how this vacation has changed the author's perspective.
Step 4. Identify the thesis statement
In many essays, the thesis is a single sentence at the end of the introduction that communicates the main point of the essay. However, in a narrative essay, the thesis does not always appear until the second paragraph or page. Look for the thesis on the first pages. If there is no thesis, make a note of it. A thesis statement includes the "what" and "why" of an essay, which means that it communicates the author's position and the reason for holding that position.
- For example, a paper on the benefits of recycling might include a thesis that says "Everyone should recycle because we have limited resources, and recycling helps conserve energy."
- A narrative essay does not need to have an argument, but there should be a sentence that describes the main point of the essay, such as "My family trip to Turkey taught me about different cultures, cuisines, and religions, and I learned a lot from myself along the way. ".
Part 2 of 5: Read the body paragraphs
Step 1. Check that the essay includes the minimum number of body paragraphs
The homework sheet must clearly specify the number of body paragraphs students must complete to receive full credit. Count the number of paragraphs in the essay you are evaluating to make sure it meets these expectations. If the task sheet does not specify otherwise, the minimum number of body paragraphs in an essay is usually three.
- There should only be three body paragraphs if the essay is to have five total paragraphs. If it's supposed to be longer, then it should have two body paragraphs per page.
- Multiply the total pages of the essay by two and then subtract two (for introduction and conclusion) to determine the approximate number of body paragraphs the essay should have. For example, a four page essay should have about six body paragraphs.
Step 2. Identify the topic sentence to assess the cohesion of a paragraph
The topic sentence provides a framework for the rest of the sentences in a paragraph. The most common place for this sentence is at the beginning of the paragraph, but it can appear anywhere else in the paragraph. Find the topic sentence and see if the rest of the paragraph focuses on this topic.
- For example, if the sentence says "Polar bears require a large amount of food to support their body weight," the remainder of the paragraph should state what and how much polar bears eat.
- For a topic sentence that reads "The meal consisted of a hearty goat stew as a main course, and various traditional garnishes in a variety of colors, flavors, and textures," the paragraph should provide additional details about the meal.
Step 3. Look for evidence in each body paragraph, if required
If the essay is supposed to include sources, any claims the author makes must be supported by evidence. You don't need to cite widely known or common sense information, but anything based on research or information that is not well known needs a source.
- For example, if the sentence says "Male polar bears weigh between 350 and 545 kilograms (775 to 1200 pounds)," there must be a source of information because it is not information that people generally know.
- On the other hand, it would not be necessary to include a font for a sentence that says "Polar bears are big white bears."
Step 4. Notice the use of descriptive vocabulary
If your essay is supposed to include descriptive vocabulary, such as vivid dialogue and details, pay attention to this in the body paragraphs. This is a common feature of narrative essays, but descriptive vocabulary is a welcome addition to any essay.
- If a paragraph describes a person, the author can include details about their hair color, the sound of their voice, and the type of clothing they wear.
- For example, an effective descriptive paragraph might be, "Juliana was taller than me, but she also had an impressive afro that added 6 inches (15 cm) to her height. She wore black Converse, ripped white jeans, a V-neck T-shirt. cherry red color, and a silver pendant with a photo of his father. His voice was deep and husky, as if he had smoked for 20 years, but had never smoked. "
Step 5. Notice the transitions between sentences and paragraphs
Transitioning from paragraph to paragraph and sentence to sentence is much smoother with transitional words and phrases. Look them up in the paragraph to determine if they are used enough. Here are some common transition words and phrases:
- sequence (next, after, last, first, second, third, last)
- cause and effect (for this reason, as a result, therefore, consequently, well, therefore, therefore)
- contrast or comparison (but, nevertheless, on the contrary, similarly, likewise, in the same way, too)
- example (for example, in particular, in fact, to illustrate)
- purpose (for this reason, for this purpose, for this purpose)
- time or place (before, after, immediately, meanwhile, below, above, south, near)
Part 3 of 5: Review the End of the Essay
Step 1. Notice how the author revisits the hypothesis or thesis statement
At the end of an essay, the author must re-establish or address the thesis statement in some way. Ideally, it should not be repeated word for word. Instead, there should be a fresh debate on the thesis taking into account the information the author presents in the body paragraphs.
- For example, if the essay is about the benefits of recycling and why it is important to do so, then the conclusion might include a sentence that says "Despite all the benefits of recycling and its ease, many people still do not."
- For a narrative essay that begins with a description of the author's nerves walking down the school hall on the first day of school, the author can make a similar return to the introduction. The conclusion might include something like "That first day was scary, and walking down the hall felt like walking to my death, but I learned that I wasn't the only one to feel that way."
Step 2. Evaluate what kind of impression the essay makes on you
By the time you finish reading an essay, you will have a certain kind of lesson. It can be in the form of your favorite scene, a poignant plot, or a vivid description that sticks in your memory. Reflect on what you have read to determine what stands out the most.
- For example, at the end of a narrative essay, you may be thinking of a vivid description of a favorite family meal.
- An argumentative essay can leave you wondering about the moral dilemma presented by the author regarding gun control.
- An expository essay on polar bears can give you a new understanding of their size and strength.
Step 3. Make sure no new information is submitted
The conclusion should not include new information. You should only summarize the ideas presented in the essay. Read the conclusion to make sure it meets these requirements.
If the conclusion introduces new information, take that into account in the evaluation
Part 4 of 5: Evaluate Cited Sources
Step 1. Evaluate in-text citations if sources are required
If the assignment specifies that the essay should include in-text citations, make sure they are present and formatted correctly. Each evidence cited by the writer must be accompanied by a quote or reference.
Make sure your citations are formatted according to the style detailed on the assignment sheet, such as MLA, APA, or Chicago
Step 2. Verify that the information cited is consistent with the original source
Compare the cited evidence used as evidence in the essay with the author's original ideas. Make sure the author of the essay presents the information accurately and look for signs of plagiarism.
You may not have time to do it with every piece of evidence, especially if you have a lot of students. In this case, you can randomly review one or two pieces of evidence for each trial you rate
Step 3. Review the works cited page to make sure it is correct
First, check that all sources cited are included on the works cited page. Next, make sure your citations are formatted correctly according to the specified requirements of the style guide. Read the appointment information to make sure it is appropriate for the task.
- If you have questions about a source, use the information on the works cited page to find the original source and review it.
- Remember that the format must match the assigned style guide, such as MLA, APA or Chicago.
Part 5 of 5: Grade an Essay
Step 1. Evaluate how well the essay addresses the prompt or question
A well-written essay will answer the prompt or question clearly and effectively. If the author does not respond to the prompt or has done so incorrectly, this will have a negative impact on the entire essay.
Some professors and teachers require students to rewrite essays that do not meet the basic requirements of an assignment. If you come across such an essay, you can talk to the student to discuss their options
Step 2. Use a rubric to structure the grade
Having a checklist as a guide as you review and grade your essays is a useful way to make sure you don't miss anything and can make grading easier. Make a list of the criteria you are looking for in an essay and assign a score to each item.
- Before assigning points to the criterion, rank them in order of importance for this task. This will help you create a point system that is related to the objective of this task.
- It is best to give students a copy of the rubric when detailing homework. This allows them to understand the rating process and expectations.
- The checklist may include:
- thesis statement
- idea development
Step 3. Subtract points for a missing, incorrect, or incomplete item
Make sure to assign a point value to each item on your checklist and decide how much you will subtract if the item is missing, incorrect, or incomplete. Then use this to grade the essays as you read them.
For example, if you state that students must include a thesis statement in the first paragraph to highlight the argument of the work, you can subtract 15 points if it is missing or 10 if it is incomplete or incorrect
- It is essential that you clearly communicate your expectations to students. Include all the information they need to earn full credit on the assignment sheet, including the rubric.
- If you are evaluating your own essay, use the teacher's homework guidelines to make sure you include all the required elements of an essay. Talk to your teacher if you have questions.