Rubric for Evaluating Senior Papers


Senior papers are evaluated on a pass/fail basis. Papers judged to be of extraordinary quality may receive a Pass with Excellence evaluation. Senior papers are judged in four areas: research, analysis, writing, and presentation.




††††††††††† PASS††

††††††††††† Acceptable primary source usage requires that the paper has examined at least one of the following: newspaper or magazine articles used as first-hand witnesses; diaries, letters, or other first-hand writings, published or unpublished; oral history interviews; photographs or other artifacts; government documents; and statistical data.


††††††††††† Acceptable original research requires that the senior paperís principal arguments consist of analysis of primary materials listed above.


††††††††††† Acceptable documentation requires that the senior paper uses the citation method of students' discipline for references and that the bibliography be annotated. Political Science majors must employ the parenthetical reference style, using as a guide citations in the American Political Science Review. History majors must employ the note reference style, using as a guide citations in the American Historical Review. Social studies majors must use the style appropriate to their degreeís emphasis (history or political science). Bibliographic annotations must consist of several sentences briefly explaining the sourceís importance to the paper and, where needed, its place in the scholarly literature on the paperís subject.--Paper undertakes original research, appropriately documented, using primary materials, sources, or numerical data.


††††††††††† FAIL--Paper undertakes no original research and/or fails to use primary materials in analysis, and/or does not use the citation style appropriate to the paperís discipline.


††††††††††† PASS with EXCELLENCE--Paper makes extraordinary use of primary materials and has no errors in its documentation.





††††††††††† PASS--Paper shows critical analysis of primary materials.


††††††††††† Acceptable critical analysis requires that the senior paper assesses the validity of the evidence used; places the topic in its proper historical or political context; states a thesis/hypothesis and evaluates/tests it; draws conclusions about correlations or causes; and argues logically throughout.



††††††††††† FAIL--Paper does not state a thesis/hypothesis or argue logically for it; fails to assess evidence; does not draw conclusions about correlations or causes; and fails to place the topic in a proper context.



††††††††††† PASS with EXCELLENCE--Paper meets all acceptable elements of critical analysis, listed above, and places the research in a comparative context with similar scholarly literature in the field.





††††††††††† PASS-- Paper has good organization, clear sentences, paragraphs, and transitions; uses standard English usage in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and syntax; and consists of 15 or more numbered pages, typed double-spaced, with one-inch margins, excluding in length any pages of footnotes, bibliography or appendices.


††††††††††† FAIL--Paper fails to meet requirements of good writing or length, as stated above.


††††††††††† PASS with EXCELLENCE--Paper is written with extraordinary clarity of expression and persuasive logical argument.





††††††††††† PASS--Paper is presented by its author in a professional manner, with appropriate dress and conduct, including proper pronunciation and serious demeanor, and with sufficient volume to be heard.


††††††††††† FAIL--Paper is presented in a way that fails to meet the requirements listed above.


††††††††††† PASS with EXCELLENCE--Paper is presented by its author with extraordinary authority, presence, and self-confidence, in addition to meeting the acceptable criteria of presentation listed above.