Grade your abstract

I grade your abstracts with an S/U system. That means a "U" is equivalent to an "F"; but a "S" can be anything from a "D" to an "A." I do not provide that differentiation. But you can easily tell what the meaning of your "S" is. Doing so can be a good idea as you use your abstracts to prepare for the essay questions on the exams. The essay questions are a lot like the abstracts, so grading your abstracts can tell you how well you are doing in preparing for the exams. The following information should help with that task.

Three levels of learning on exam

I have explained at other places that there are three types of learning that are being tested on the examinations.

  1. Know the vocabulary, systems of vocabulary and definitions. This is memorization of words and definitions. I test them primarily through multiple choice, fill in the blanks, and short answer.
  2. Be able to recognize examples of the concepts in text. This level of learning will be tested through multiple choice, matching, or fill in the blank. On the second and subsequent exam there may be questions that are modeled on the exercises. If you achieve these first two levels of learning on the essay portion of the exam, you will have earned a "C" for the essay.
  3. Be able to evaluate the strategic dimensions of speeches using the systems of vocabulary. This most sophisticated knowledge is the level of learning tested in the essay exam.

Expectations for essay

Given the level of knowledge you need to demonstrate in the essay, there are some general characteristics of effective answers.

Common Errors

Having graded many essays over the years, there are common errors which result in lower grades. Do NOT do these things:

Grade your abstract

To evaluate your abstract as an essay, and thus like your essay exam, do the following:

  1. Underline the thesis of the abstract. Ask if it is evaluative?
  2. Circle and number the sentences in the abstract that give reasons for the judgment of the thesis. Ask if these are sufficient support for your thesis? Do they provide sufficient reasons for your judgment?
  3. Draw rectangles around the vocabulary from the course you have used in the course. Have you used the vocabulary in the context of the system of vocabulary you have learned? Have you used the system thoroughly? Have you used that vocabulary to identify strategies used in the speech? Have you used them to connected the particulars of the speech to the reasons that support your thesis?

Assigning your grade

In general, if you have done all three of the things above with depth and sufficient support, you will have an "A" on the essay.

If you have done only the last two of these things, you will have a "B" or a "C" depending on how thorough you have been in your analysis.

If you have done only the last, you will have a "C" or a "D" depending on how thorough you have been.