Observation Essay Criteria

• Exceptional knowledge of site
• Clear theme that is valid and worthwhile but also creative and captivating (complex and nuanced)
• Evidence is relevant and descriptive. May include lists (like subway essay)
• Concrete details brings the place alive (shows doesn't tell, use 4 or 5 senses)
• No filler info – everything in the essay supports the thesis
• There is a credibility to the author
• May be experimental in form
• Strong diction
• Smooth transitions –it flows
• Takes risks that are successful
• Substantial revision to content, organization, and sentence-level prose

• Clear theme that is valid and worthwhile
• Theme is carried through paper
• Includes concrete details (show doesn't tell, at least 3 senses)
• Detailed vocabulary
• Clearly organized
• Essay doesn’t jump but transitions not always smooth
• Takes risks only some of which are successful
• Competent revision at the level of content/ideas (not just the level of the sentence)

• Doesn't exceed requirements
• Theme isn’t complex, may be too broad and/or dull
• Theme isn’t carried through the entire paper – gets off track for a paragraph or so
• Basic info and minimal details – tells rather than shows, uses mostly just sight
• Needs more info
• May include unnecessary repetition
• Organization is formulaic and standard and even rigid
• Inconsistency in flow
• Average vocabulary
• Doesn’t take risks
• Revision doesn't extend far beyond the sentence-level

D to F
• Unclear or very vague thesis
• Ideas not developed or supported with concrete details
• Details invented (student didn't make a second trip the their neighborhood) - this one fails the assignment.
• Organization at the paragraph and sentence level is scattered - it may rambles
• Sentences hard to follow
• Doesn't match assignment (another sure way to fail)
• Little to no revision

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