Within the department many students have requested help with their writing. One of the first places students can do is to pay attention to the style of the writing found in their textbooks. Generally what is used is known as the APA (American Psychological Association) publication style. This is what is generally accepted within most areas of higher education as the standard style of writing. Under the Child Development webpage you can find a couple of helpful web sites to assist you in your writing. Below are listed a few helpful hints that make a major difference in how your papers are evaluated.
Grading Rubric for Papers(If you cannot see the full width of the rubric, your browser font size has been changed. If using a keyboard, do the following. To return to 100%, press the Ctrl key and the 'zero' key together. To increase your font, press the Ctrl key and the '+=' key. To decrease your font, press the Ctrl key and the '-_' key.)
The A paper
The B paper
The C paper
The D paper
The F paper
Excels in responding to all aspects of the assignment. Interesting, The writer has a clear purpose of the assignment. Demonstrates sophistication of thought. Central idea is clearly communicated, worth developing; limited enough to be manageable. Defines terms. Where appropriate an audience is defined and addressed. Uses appropriate terminology.
A solid paper, responding
appropriately to assignment. (Clearly states a thesis/central idea, but may have minor lapses in development. Begins to acknowledge the complexity of central idea and the possibility of other points of view.) Shows careful reading of sources, but may not evaluate them critically. Attempts to define terms, not always successfully.
Adequate but weaker and less effective, possibly responding less well to assignment. Presents central idea in general terms, often depending on platitudes or clichés. Usually does not acknowledge other views. Shows basic comprehension of sources, perhaps with lapses in understanding. If it defines terms, often depends on dictionary definitions.
Does not have a clear central idea or does not respond appropriately to the
assignment. Thesis may be too vague or obvious to be developed effectively. Paper may misunderstand sources.
Does not respond to the assignment, lacks a thesis or central idea, and may neglect to use sources where
Uses a logical structure or organizational scheme (chronological, sequential, serial, etc.) appropriate to paper's subject, purpose, audience, thesis, and disciplinary field. Sophisticated transitional sentences often develop one idea from the previous one or identify their logical relations. It guides the reader through the chain of reasoning or progression of ideas. Uses headings, titles, page numbers. Transitions between content. Introduction and summary / conclusions.
Shows a logical progression of ideas and uses fairly sophisticated transitional devices; e.g., may move from least to more important idea. Some logical links may be faulty, but each paragraph clearly relates to paper's central idea.
May list ideas or arrange them randomly rather than using any evident logical structure. May use transitions, but they are likely to be sequential (first, second, third) rather than logic-based. While each paragraph may relate to central idea, logic is not always clear. Paragraphs have topic sentences but may be overly general, and arrangement of sentences within paragraphs may lack coherence.
May have random organization, lacking internal paragraph coherence and using few or inappropriate
transitions. Paragraphs may lack topic sentences or main ideas, or may be too general or too specific to be effective. Paragraphs may not all relate to paper's thesis.
No appreciable organization; lacks
transitions and coherence.
Application of Knowledge/Support
Uses evidence appropriately and effectively, providing sufficient evidence and explanation to convince.
Applies examples to defined concepts.
Apply theories to practice. Use of critical thinking, Able to clearly distinguish what are your ideas and those of sources.
Begins to offer reasons to support its points, perhaps using varied kinds of evidence. Begins to interpret the evidence and explain connections between evidence and main ideas. Its examples bear some relevance.
Often uses generalizations to support its points. May use examples, but they may be obvious or not relevant. Often depends on unsupported opinion or personal experience, or assumes that evidence speaks for itself and needs no application to the point being discussed. Often has lapses in logic.
Depends on clichés or
overgeneralizations for support, or offers little evidence of any kind. May be personal narrative rather than essay, or summary rather than analysis.
Uses irrelevant details or lacks
supporting evidence entirely. May be
Mechanics/ Grammar/ Style
Almost entirely free of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. Uses clear and concise language. Uses appropriate documentation. Chooses words for their precise meaning and uses an appropriate level of specificity. Sentence style fits paper's audience and purpose. Sentences are varied, yet clearly structured and carefully focused, not long and rambling.
May contain a few errors, which may annoy the reader but not impede understanding.
Generally uses words accurately and effectively, but may sometimes be too general. Sentences generally clear, well structured, and focused, though some may be awkward or ineffective.
Usually contains several mechanical errors, which may temporarily confuse the reader but not impede the overall understanding. Uses relatively vague and general words, may use some inappropriate language. Sentence structure generally correct, but sentences may be wordy, unfocused, repetitive, or confusing.
Usually contains either many
mechanical errors or a few important errors that block the reader's understanding and ability to see connections between thoughts. May be too vague and abstract, or very personal and specific. Usually contains several awkward or ungrammatical sentences; sentence structure is simple or monotonous.
Usually contains so many mechanical errors that it is impossible for the reader to follow the thinking from sentence to sentence. Usually contains many awkward sentences, misuses words, employs
Link to APA Writing Format - This site will help you to understand and follow the APA writing guidelines. The APA Manual is about 250 pages long so this brief summary is much better and easier to understand.