Skidmore College

Standards and Expectations/
Writing--In-The-Disciplines Workshop:

Creating Writing-In-The-Disciplines Websites

June 12-June 16, 2000

Writing Expectations
Discipline-specific characteristics
Grading and Assessment Rubrics
Departmental Writing Pages

Grading and Assessment Rubrics

Johns Hopkins University Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth

Center for Talented Youth (Draft 8/99)

Checklist of writing qualities for expository writing papers


  • Clear, focused, confident
  • Limited but expansive enough for the paper
  • Not obtrusive (e.g. Not: The thesis of this paper is....)
  • Stakes a claim
  • Takes a stand
  • Takes issue
  • Give the reader a sense of a mental journey

Details and SupPort Evidence:

  • Support the thesis; advance the thesis and push it to higher significance
  • Principle of selection evident (sense of arrangement of details)
  • Epitome and inventory (constitutive/quintessential and iterative/multiple examples)
  • Accumulating push (details build according to plan and momentum)
  • Tissue thin (Admittedly...); ironclad (inescapable conclusion)
  • Current, reputable, fully acknowledged and cited.
  • The writer is the primary thinker; details in service of the writer; the writer is not in the service of the evidence and sources.


  • Evident sense of a shape and design as we read.
  • Building to a point; initial closure (one section closes to open up another)
  • Conceptual mirrors (though unlike X on p. 1, y on p. 2)
  • Adverbs for forepointing (predictably) and backspinning (previously) and showing relationships among ideas (conversely)
  • Paragraph length a consequence of purpose (short openings; lengthy paragraphs to carry major points)
  • Lead the reader to conclusions, but let him/her do some thinking.
  • Show the reader how to read, but do not overexplain.


  • The writer's confidence is apparent in the text.
  • Speed of reading is a consequence of meaning (e.g. , quick sentences to set up dense sentences; brief sentences to encapsulate, remind, conclude)
  • Parallelism wedded to juxtaposition of content (correlatives: e.g., not only ... but also; balanced and resolved antitheses: exhibits A while at the same time shows the tendency to B with the result C).
  • Occasional flair; the quintessential and memorable word or phrase.
  • My stylistic thumbprint.


  • Distraction-free reading (Make the reader a thinker, not a grammarian.)
  • Confidence in punctuating.
  • Punctuation chosen for meaning (e.g. colons to list, encapsulate, gather; semicolons for relationships among ideas and grouping; dashes to set apart and distract)
  • No excuses for dumb mistakes.
  • Know format expectations (MLA, Chicago, APA, etc.)

For Information on this Workshop please contact Michael Marx, Director of Writing-Across-The-Curriculum (