Grading Rubric

What’s grading without a good rubric?  Below is how I grade each book.  Strictly objective, of course.  {braces} indicate modifications for non-fiction books.

Grades are out of 100 points, standard American grading (<60 = FAIL, 60 – 69 = D, 70 – 79 = C, 80 – 89 = B, 90 – 100 = A)

20 points for characterization {conceptualization in non-fiction without characters}

  • 5 points if the book gave me feels for the main character(s) {or concepts}
  • 5 points if it was easy to distinguish between and keep straight the non-main characters {or concepts}
  • 5 points if the characters’ presented motivations are consistent with their actions {if evidence is provided to support the hypotheses}
  • 5 points if the characters show demonstrable growth or change over the course of the story {if the book is well referenced – I need a good bibilography!}
  • -5 points if my favorite secondary character is killed (this happens to me constantly and is a bit of a pet peeve)
  • -2 points for each character killed off for being inconvenient
  • -2 points for logical {or scientific} fallacies

20 points for pacing

  • 0 points if I couldn’t finish the book
  • 5 points if I forced myself to finish.  For you.  The sacrifices a good TA makes.
  • 10 points if I read it during my usual reading times (meals, before bed, watching TV, etc.).
  • 15 points if I read while walking places.
  • 20 points if I lost sleep, staying up to read.

40 points for internal consistence, world building, and realism {scientific/historical accuracy}.  Each book starts with 40 points, and points are deducted for each instance where:

  • -5 points if I actually threw the book across the room or ranted at length to at least one person
  • -2 points for self-contradictory statements or factual errors that I noticed immediately upon reading them.
  • -1 point for self contradictory statements or factual errors that I had to fact check to be sure of.
  • -1 point for violations of basic physics or natural laws (unless this is a fantasy book where alternative rules have been clearly defined – then minus points for breaking those rules)

20 points for plot {or structure}

  • 5 points for having a clear beginning, middle, and end {or thesis, results, and conclusion}
  • 5 points for events proceeding logically or with a clear methodology
  • 5 points for resolving the main plot line by the end of the book OR clearly defining a cliff-hanger for a sequel which actually stands a chance of being written. {or if the conclusion clearly addresses all parts of the original hypothesis}
  • 5 points if I’m not asking myself “What just happened?” at the end of the book.
  • BONUS 5 points if all side plots resolve satisfactorily
  • BONUS 2 points for each well executed twist
  • -2 points for a deus ex Machina
  • -2 points for a shitty twist
  • -1 point for each side plot that I cared about which got dropped in the middle or otherwise was left unresolved.

That’s pretty much it.  Well, except for the totally subjective part.  Did you ever get gold stars on your homework?  I liked to give the students something to hope for, so if  I thought they did especially well, or tried very hard, or I just really liked them, I would put a small sticker on their homework.  So, for the purely subjective part of the grade, we have the sticker system:

0 stickers – HATE

1 sticker – meh

2 stickers – a good time.  Would read again.

3 stickers – LOVE


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