Critical Response Papers Rubric

Critical response papers will be graded on a scale of 0 to 10. My comments on those papers will
often be minimal. The main reason for this is the fact that these shorter papers are mainly for the
purpose of helping you, as a reader of each reading assignment, to materialize your thoughts and
opinions concerning the readings for the purpose of discussion. These shorter papers are graded
mainly on your ability to effectively articulate your opinions, ideas, and arguments concerning
each reading. In that respect, they are practice papers for the larger papers where your ability to
formulate an effective written argument is of extremely high importance. Therefore, my
comments on those papers will almost always pertain to technical aspects, such as the effective
incorporation of quotations and evidence into your discussion, as well as formatting and
documentation issues. The actual content of the papers will be discussed in small-group and fullclass
discussions, almost always during the class when the paper is due. So basically, the
comments on the content of these critical response papers will be almost exclusively verbal, and
in the form of class discussion. In terms of the grading of these papers, basic formatting
expectations (i.e. stapled document, correct font/margins, etc.; basically worth 1 point each) still
apply, but here are some specific aspects of critical response papers that will negatively affect
your grade, and their general corresponding point values, broken down into 5 basic categories of
criteria:
1. Not answering the prompt or questions assigned in class and/or listed on-line sufficiently enough
could negatively affect your grade by as much as 10 points, so this is obviously the most
important aspect. Just be sure to answer any and all assigned questions/prompts for each critical
response paper.
2. Also, be sure to answer those questions/prompts effectively. A critical response paper that
displays a shallow reading of the material or a mediocre discussion of the questions at hand could
lose as many as 5 points or just one point in terms of its grade, depending on the quality of the
answer.
3. Not reaching the minimum page length could also greatly affect the grade of a critical response
paper in a negative way. Generally, a paper that is short of the minimum requirement will lose
points in relation to the total points possible and its ratio to the minimum number of pages
required. Basically, for a 3-4 page critical response paper, the number of points per page would
be around 3-4 each, or 5 points each for a 2-3 page paper, depending also upon the quality of the
writing and the extent to which the paper is successful or unsuccessful in relation to the other
criteria discussed on this rubric that you are currently reading.
4. Making sure that you are using the minimum number of quotations required for each paper is also
an important part of the critical response grade, and it is also important to cite the quotations in
correct MLA format (meaning that there needs to be quotation marks around each quotation, and
there needs to be a corresponding parenthetical reference for each quotation in correct MLA
format). The rest of the paper also needs to be in correct MLA format (1” margins, doublespaced,
and no extra spaces between paragraphs). Generally, a point will be deducted for the lack
of each quotation under the minimum, and a point will be deducted for each parenthetical
reference that either does not appear or is not in the correct format (and that means that all
necessary information must appear in the reference and it all must be presented with correct
punctuation). A point or more will be deducted due to not being in correct MLA format, overall.
5. Also, each quotation that is not introduced and connected to your own language within the
sentence that the quotation appears will lose a point (meaning, no “floating quotations”).
Basically, don’t just have your quotations exist as their own independent sentences within your
document. Connect them to your own language within the same sentence.
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