Grading Rubric for Research Papers in Psychology

Research Papers will earn grades based on the following rubric:

Grade of 95 or above: This grade range is assigned to papers that demonstrate excellence in content, organization, and use of APA style. Papers that earn 95 or above contain a clear thesis statement and a sound organizational structure leading the reader to a conclusion that answers the question implied by the assignment. The content of these papers engages the reader and the ideas presented are insightful and supported by convincing evidence. There are few, if any, mechanical errors that distract from the paper’s content. The writer's voice is clearly recognizable. A paper earning this grade could be submitted for publication if the research conducted for it were original.

Grades from 85 to 95: This grade range is reserved for papers that are very good, but have a few problems in some areas. These papers may be very well organized, contain a clear thesis statement and reflect an expressive style, but fail to make an illuminating or compelling argument. Alternatively, they may present an intriguing argument, backed by substantial evidence, but have some problems with organization and use of APA style. Papers earning this grade have potential (with some editing) to be submitted for publication.

Grades from 80 to 85: This grade range goes to papers that are solid, but not outstanding. The papers may be competent in their handling of the topic, but do not go beyond the obvious. They may offer some intriguing insights, but lack the cohesion or unity to engage the informed reader. Or, these papers could otherwise be excellent, but contain a number of distracting mechanical errors including poor use of APA style. Sadly, this grade often goes to "brilliant" students who waited too late to get started and subsequently did not have time to revise and edit thoroughly.  Don't start late.

Grades of 70 to 80: These papers do have some strengths. They may present sound ideas, but unclear writing mars the insights presented. Alternatively, they may be concisely written, but present only superficial ideas and little evidence to support those ideas. Papers in this grade range often use the ideas of others primarily and provide no new ideas or a synthesis of competing views. Papers in this range are often "reports" written to present existing information on a topic. They do not earn higher grades because they do not ask a question, or have a thesis that challenge prevailing views. Papers that would ordinarily earn much higher grades, but are not edited, also earn this grade.

Grades of 60 to 70: This grade range goes to papers that are very weak, either because they do not contain a thesis statement or because they are poorly written with errors in diction, grammar, punctuation and spelling and use of APA style. They present ideas that are superficial and unsupported. Arguments, if any, are thinly developed and weakly supported.

Grades below 60: These grades go to papers that are turned in late, or are completely unacceptable because they are full of errors in style, mechanics and organization and present few worthwhile ideas. It is usually quite obvious that these papers were written in haste with little or no effort.

Grades of 0: These grades go to papers that contain plagiarism, or the authorship is in question. Do not go here. Students who plagiarize will receive a failing grade in the course and a memo will be sent to the Academic Dean explaining the reason for the failure. Papers not turned in will also receive a zero.