Pennsylvania College 
of Technology
Dr. Ed Vavra
Assoc. Prof., English

Annotations for Major Paper Grading Sheets


The formal outline is well organized to support the thesis.

     This category is usually worth  0 - 3 points, which are distributed as follows:

0 = no outline was included (Lists do not count as outlines.)

1 = A basic, Roman number outline, with "I" for the introduction and a Roman number for the conclusion.

2 = The preceding outline is well-organized to support the thesis.

3 = The preceding outline includes at least one set of sub-divisions, noted by capital letters.

Topic sentences embody the outline.

     The words in your outline should appear in the corresponding focal and topic sentences. In longer papers, not every paragraph needs to be represented in the outline. For example, a long narrative example might take several paragraphs. But every topic in your outline should be represented in your essay. 

Paragraphs are not too long or too short.

     Paragraph length is often a matter of style and your intended audience. Newspapers have very short paragraphs because big-city newspapers realized that many commuters read their papers as they commute to or from work. These commuters often look up from the paper, at stops, to see where they are, and/or to watch the various people who approach them. Short paragraphs enable such readers to look away and easily look back at the paper and find their place. Magazine and web articles often have short paragraphs simply as a matter of custom and style.
     In academic writing, however, (which is what you are supposed to be practicing), paragraphs are generally longer (75-100) words. This does not mean that you cannot occasionally use a very short (even single-sentence) paragraph, or that you cannot occasionally go beyond 100 words. The majority of your paragraphs, however, should range between 75 and 100 words.
[Note: This semester (Fall, 99), I intend to have students in ENL 111 do a study of paragraph length in papers written for college courses and in professional journals.]

Sub-divisions of a major section of the outline (Roman number) are spread over more than one paragraph.

     The major points in your outline should be listed with Roman numbers in your outline. Sub-points of the major points should appear in your outline as "A.," "B.," etc. in your outline. To get the points for "Sub-divisions of a major section," you must devote at least two paragraphs to at least one major section of your outline. For more on this, see the ENL 111 Instructional material for "Outlining" and for "Organization."
     Because the papers for this course are short, you do not need to subdivide every major section. Doing so once is enough to demonstrate that you know how to do it. In most assignments, this category is worth five points -- three for the focal sentence, one for the topic sentence in the first paragraph of the section, and one for a second topic sentence (in a subsequent paragraph). You cannot get the last two unless you get the first three.

This border presents
Edvard Munch's
1893, Private collection

from Mark Harden's WWW Artchive

Click here for the directory of my backgrounds based on art.

[for educational use only]