Detailed Rubric for Final Grades

Introduction

The following is provided to help students understand how their work is assessed for grades in college-level History courses. In general, grades are based mainly on the student’s demonstrated grasp of course materials and growth in historical thinking through performance on written assignments, examinations, and any other work assigned. The difference between a higher and a lower grade may also depend upon verbal participation in the classroom and other matters assigned in the course. Please remember that this is only a set of guidelines: all professors have their own expectations of students.

Excellent Performance – Final Grade in A Range

General Standard: Excellent work, superior in most every respect

Specific Standards:

Grasp of Critical Understandings: Student develops and demonstrates a clear understanding of the complexity of history, that history is the product of human agency, and that human agency is always the product of multiple causes. Student demonstrates sophisticated use of the idea that history is characterized both by regular change and by lasting continuity. Student recognizes that historical knowledge is inherently interpretive, that interpretation always requires a grounding in facts, and that the production of historical knowledge depends upon the individual perspective of historians.

Use and Development of Intellectual Skills:

Student makes excellent progress in learning to pose historical questions, formulate hypotheses, use primary and secondary sources, and evaluate historical evidence. Student’s written work skillfully uses various research media and deploys argument and evidence in a sophisticated manner. Student demonstrates strong ability to distinguish between fact and opinion, between cause and effect, and in constructing chronology and sequencing events.

Use and Development of Intellectual Dispositions:

Student displays growing comfort with and aptitude in the historian’s mindset, including a healthy sense of skepticism, a purposeful curiosity about the past, intellectual persistence, deliberative and resourceful thinking and presenting of ideas in oral and written formats, and enthusiasm in the subject.

Good Performance – Final Grade in B Range

General Standard: Good work, somewhat better than what is expected of a serious university student

Specific Standards:

Grasp of Critical Understandings: Student develops and demonstrates an understanding that history is the product of human agency, and that human agency is always the product of multiple causes. However student may still prefer to describe history using starker black-and-white terminology. Student demonstrates understanding of the idea that history is characterized by change, or that history is about continuity, but perhaps not both. Student recognizes that historical knowledge is inherently interpretive, that interpretation always requires a grounding in facts, but may not be able to explain how the production of historical knowledge depends upon the individual perspective of historians.

Use and Development of Intellectual Skills:

Student makes some progress in several or all of the following: learning to pose historical questions, formulate hypotheses, use primary and secondary sources, and evaluate historical evidence. Student’s written work uses various research media and deploys argument and evidence in a clear manner. Most of the time student demonstrates ability to distinguish between fact and opinion, between cause and effect, and in constructing chronology and sequencing events.

Use and Development of Intellectual Dispositions:

Student displays growing comfort with and aptitude in most or all elements of the historian’s mindset, including a healthy sense of skepticism, a curiosity about the past, intellectual persistence, sensible thinking and presenting of ideas, and enthusiasm in the subject.

Below University-level Expectations – Final Grade in C Range

General Standard: Acceptable work, but somewhat lower than what is expected of a serious university student.

Specific Standards:

Grasp of Critical Understandings: Student describes history in stark black-and-white terminology, perhaps understanding that history is the product of human agency, but showing little understanding that human agency is always the product of multiple causes. Student demonstrates some understanding of the idea that history is characterized by change, or that history is about continuity, but not both. Student does not show understanding of the interpretive nature of historical knowledge. Student may demonstrate a grasp of the facts but not be able to assemble them into an historical interpretation, or student may see an interpretation but not know how to marshal facts in its support. Student does not demonstrate understanding that the production of historical knowledge depends upon the individual perspective of historians.

Use and Development of Intellectual Skills:

Student makes little or no progress in any of the following: learning to pose historical questions, formulate hypotheses, use primary and secondary sources, and evaluate historical evidence. Student’s written work deploys argument and evidence weakly or not at all. Student demonstrates little or no ability to distinguish between fact and opinion, between cause and effect, and in constructing chronology and sequencing events.

Use and Development of Intellectual Dispositions:

Student has difficulty grasping the full range of aspects of the historian’s mindset (a healthy sense of skepticism, a curiosity about the past, intellectual persistence, sensible thinking and presenting of ideas), although student may display enthusiasm in the subject.

Marginally Acceptable Performance – Final Grade in D Range

General Standard: Marginally acceptable work

Specific Standards:

Grasp of Critical Understandings: Student describes history in stark black-and-white terminology or as a series of facts ("just one d*** thing after another"). Student may show awareness that history is the product of human agency, but shows no understanding that human agency is the product of multiple causes. Student demonstrates little or no understanding of the idea that history is characterized by change, or student may argue that history is solely about continuity ("history is doomed to repeat itself"). Student does not show understanding of the interpretive nature of historical knowledge. Student shows difficulty in grasping facts, and is unable to assemble them into an historical interpretation. Student shows no awareness that the production of historical knowledge depends upon the individual perspective of historians.

Use and Development of Intellectual Skills:

Student makes no progress in any of the following: learning to pose historical questions, formulate hypotheses, use primary and secondary sources, and evaluate historical evidence. Student’s written work deploys illogical argument or no argument, and little or no evidence. Student demonstrates inability to distinguish between fact and opinion, between cause and effect, and in constructing chronology and sequencing events.

Use and Development of Intellectual Dispositions:

Student displays difficulty grasping any aspects of the historian’s mindset (a curiosity about the past, intellectual persistence, sensible thinking and presenting of ideas), although the student may display skepticism.

Unacceptable Performance – Final Grade of F

Apparent lack of effort or lack of comprehension of the majority of the course. Difficult to understand student’s work (oral and/or written) owing to many major problems with student’s grasp of the material taught.