What should the marking scheme be for an essay entitled "With Reference to the Way Harper Lee presents Scout Shows How She Learns Good Lessons about Life" ?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I think you might be asking that we second-guess your teacher's judgement on the grade you received for this essay.  Even if we were inclined to do that, which most of us probably are not, we have no essay to see.  The title certainly gives me an idea what your content might be, but the title also contained mechanical and grammatical errors, and if the essay does, too, that might be part of your problem.

All teachers do have a grading scheme to assess student writing, usually in rubric form today.  A good literary analysis should include at least the following:

1. An introductory paragraph that names the book and the author and that eases the reader into the ideas you want to talk about.

2. A thesis statement, which should take a position on something about the book and explain how you are going to support your position.

3. Body paragraphs that have topic sentences, which tell the reader what point you are going to make in each paragraph.

4. Each body paragraph focused on just one point, so, for example, if you are writing about how Scout learned about racism in a paragraph, the paragraph should not include information about how Dill learned something.

5. Each body paragraph using examples from the book to make your point.

6. A separate paragraph as a conclusion, a paragraph that should remind your reader what your thesis is and how you supported it.

However, even if you have met all of the requirements above, your grade could be lowered because of grammatical and mechanical errors in your writing, because you have sentence structure problems, or because your essay did not document the examples from the book properly.

If you are confused or unhappy about a grade, the best thing to do is to talk to your teacher about it. He or she can explain why you received the grade you received and can also give you great ideas on how to do better next time.

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