ESSAY RESPONSE GRADING CRITERIA
The following guidelines are used by the College Board to score APUSH National Examinations. Regardless of any grading matrix or
rubric, evaluation of the essay response is inherently subjective. Your instructor has experience as an APUSH National Exam reader.
THE 9-8 ESSAY • exceptional; outstanding
- Contains a clear, well-developed thesis that addresses the precise and entire question exceptionally well.
- Develops the thesis with substantial and relevant historical information.
- Provides effective analysis of all points, although treatment may be somewhat uneven.
- May contain very minor errors which do not detract from the quality of the answer.
- Clearly organized and explicitly written.
- Instructor grade equivalent these essays are not common; they demonstrate superior depth of knowledge and understanding of the topic (A and A-).
THE 7-5 ESSAY • knowledgeable; proficient
- Contains a partially developed thesis that addresses the question well.
- Supports the thesis with some relevant historical information.
- Provides some analysis, but the treatment may be imbalanced and/or implicit.
- May contain errors which do not seriously detract from the quality of the response.
- Acceptable organization and writing.
- Instructor grade equivalent these essays are excellent; they reflect solid knowledge and understanding of a particular aspect of history (range from B+ to B-).
THE 4-2 ESSAY • satisfactory; average
- May paraphrase the question or contain a confused or unfocused thesis.
- Provides few relevant facts, or lists facts with little or no application to the question.
- Does not address all aspects of the question; limited or no analysis.
- May contain major errors.
- Poorly organized and/or written.
- Instructor grade equivalent these essays are satisfactory; they show some knowledge and understanding of a historical subject, but definitely lack in one or more ways, leaving ample room for improvement (range from C+ to C-).
THE 1-0 ESSAY • insufficient; below average
- Lacks a thesis or simply restates the question.
- Provides an incompetent or inappropriate response.
- Demonstrates little or no understanding of the question.
- Contains substantial errors.
- Lacks organization and/or difficult to read.
- Instructor grade equivalent these essays are decidedly insufficient; they fall short of any upper level knowledge and understanding of history (D and D-).
THE ESSAY • substandard; poor
- Completely off-topic or blank.
- Instructor grade equivalent these essays indicate lack of study and/or effort (F).