By now, you should have completed an explanatory essay that traces the development of two themes in Ted Chiang’s short story “Exhalation” that includes the following:
A thesis statement that addresses two themes
Direct quotes from the story
Thorough commentary to connect the evidence to the thesis
Ask yourself these questions as you revise:
Did I include two themes or ideas in my thesis?
Did I include at least four quotes from the story?
Did I cite all of my quotations?
Are my verbs precise and descriptive?
This rubric is adapted from the rubric the College Board provides for the AP Language and Composition Exam. You can see how your essay would stack up on the AP Exam in comparison with your score for the course. You can use this as a checklist to make sure you’re aiming for clear organization, solid development, and sophisticated language.
AP Score Organization Development Language Course Score
9 Thesis statement is sophisticated and addresses the text in an original and thought-provoking way. Analysis of the text is complex and embeds references to the text seamlessly. Vocabulary is impressive and high level; syntactical structures are creative and effective. 39-40
8 Organization is clear and logical; thesis statement or claim is complex but clear; a sense of unity pervades the essay. Analysis of the rhetorical elements of the text is effective; evidence and explanations are appropriate and convincing; ample references to the text are provided. Prose demonstrates effective control of language, transitions, sentence structures, and other strategies to clarify reasoning. 36-38
7 Response meets the same criteria as a 6 but is not quite as effective as an 8. 34-35
6 Organization is clear and logical with few lapses in unity; thesis statement or claim is clear but simplistic or unoriginal. Analysis of the rhetorical elements of the text is adequate; evidence and explanations are sufficient but somewhat shallow or obvious. Prose is effective and clear but may contain lapses in diction or syntax. 33
5 Organization is clear with some lapses in unity; thesis statement or claim is overly simplistic, too broad, or too narrow, or exhibits some other fundamental problem. Evidence or explanations may be uneven, inconsistent, or limited (shallow or unclear); there are few references to the text. Prose is effective and clear enough to convey the main idea but may contain significant lapses in diction or syntax. 32
4 Organization demonstrates some coherence; thesis statement or claim indicates a partial misunderstanding of the text or devices and strategies in the passage. Development is insufficient; evidence or explanations may be inappropriate, insufficient, or unconvincing; there are few references to the text. Prose is generally effective but does not consistently demonstrate control. 30-31
3 Organization lacks consistent coherence; thesis statement or claim is unclear or missing. Evidence or explanations may be particularly limited, simplistic, or inaccurate. Prose is ineffective or uncontrolled. 28-29
2 Organization is completely inconsistent; thesis statement or claim is unclear or missing or reflects a misreading of the passage. Development is minimal or nonexistent; response to the prompt is tangential or summarizes instead of analyzes; evidence or explanations are egregiously inaccurate or nonexistent. Prose is significantly problematic with extensive errors in grammar and usage. 26-27
1 There is no clear attempt at organization; thesis statement is missing or inaccurate. Response is significantly underdeveloped; there are few if any explanations and little to no evidence. Prose is riddled with grammatical problems, making it close to incomprehensible. 23-25
0 Response merely parrots the prompt or is off topic, entirely crossed out, presented as a drawing, or written in a language other than English. 0-22