A,A- Quality Essay
Subject, Focus, Purpose
The main idea is very clear; clear focus and purpose (the “what” and the “what about it”).
The lead is creative, draws the reader in, sets up the appropriate expectations for the essay’s content and
tone of voice, contains a clear sense of tension or unusual angle on a subject.
Essay’s subject goes beyond the obvious, is not clichéd or predictable; makes connections to other
perspectives, other ideas on the subject, outside sources if it is a research essay (uses multiple sources to
dig deep into subject and get to know it thoroughly).
Indicates writer’s curiosity about subject, writer’s
perspective or stance.
Clear sense of the writer thinking critically about the subject matter.
Organization and Development
Well-developed thoughts, support for main ideas; appropriate, interesting, and well-used research;
If a research essay, builds on the ideas of other researchers, doesn’t regurgitate or simply
use outside sources to support the writer’s ideas.
If relating a story or narrative, reflects on the significance
of the story.
Strong intro, body, and conclusion.
Organizational pattern is appropriate to the subject, the audience, the
purpose of the essay, and
goes beyond predictable forms
(live five paragraph themes, simple listing of ideas
with no thought to how they connect to one another).
Writer has clearly considered how and why to
organize the essay as s/he did.
The paper should read easily.
Writer’s Presence and Authority
Writer’s voice is dominant if appropriate to subject matter and audience; guides us throughout the essay.
Strong sense of writer’s authority on the subject matter; if a research essay, has researches the subject in
different ways and then uses research
to draw own conclusions
(doesn’t rely on the ideas of an MD or a