The following description of successful writing is intended to be useful for both students and faculty. It provides students with a general sense of what outcomes faculty expect to see in successful college writing. Since each discipline has its own particular conventions and expectations, faculty are encouraged to engage in conversations that will help them to adapt these general guidelines to their specific discipline, their individual classes, and their unique writing assignments. Below are general descriptions of the components of college writing as well as the particular criteria to be assessed within each component.
Successful writing addresses the assignment completely within the rhetorical context created by the assignment and in relation to the writer’s intended audience. The essay has a sustained central idea that serves as a framework for presenting the necessary and appropriate information.
Development and Organization
Successful writing has an identifiable organizational structure that convincingly presents the appropriate supportive evidence necessary to achieve the writing’s purpose. Ideas are fully developed within a structure that proceeds from an explicit thesis or central focus and uses expected structural devices that move the reader from section to section within the text.
Format, Style, and Mechanics
Successful writing communicates its purpose in a voice that is appropriate to the academic context. It does so by means of accurate format or visual design, language that does not impede readers’ understanding, and details of spelling and mechanics that demonstrate an understanding of conventionally correct English.