Sections of the Syllabus about Writing and the Evidence Rubric/Checklist—with the 2-Letter Abbreviations at the Top


What’s on This Webpage:

What Is the Evidence Checklist/Rubric and What Are Its 2-Letter Abbreviations for Feedback?

What is the Goal for Writing? – Think about it as teaching some section of history to your smart cousin.

How Does Your Instructor Grade Your Writing?

Where Can You Find More Information about the Evidence Checklist/Rubric and How to Work With Evidence?

Types of Written Assignments

Alternative Links That You May Want


What Is the Evidence Checklist/Rubric and What Are Its 2-Letter Abbreviations for Feedback?

I use the Evidence Checklist/Rubric to grade on common standards (accepted rules or models) for academics and for jobs that depend on evidence. The word evidence emphasizes that you must have proof for what you say—some fact from our approved source that anyone using that source can see for himself or herself. The word checklist means a list of steps or things necessary for success (such as a pilot’s checklist for takeoff). The word rubric usually means a way to give feedback (such as confirmation of success, guidance for improvement, or corrections) that is useful but quick for instructors and students.


The term checklist/rubric indicates this is both a checklist (on the left) for success with evidence and a way to give feedback (on the right) about your use of evidence as a 2-letter abbreviation. Each checklist item begins with an informal statement of a common standard. Beneath that are our specific requirements, identified with the underlined phrase In this course.

Do each of the things on the checklist below or you may see the letters on the right as Feedback on your paper.

Feedback Letters


For your source of facts, you use only sources your professor (or boss) accepts as reliable.


In this course, the only sources are the textbook chosen by the History Department and the sources provided at our Course Website. Do not use Internet websites, another textbook, or any other source—including your own memory.

NS = Fact is Not from an approved Source


You must follow common standards to reveal to your reader who created the words and/or found the facts you are using in your writing. This is a requirement in courses and in some jobs.



In this course, you may:

§  Either write facts in your own words

§  Or you may use exact sentences or phrases from the textbook placed within quotation marks according to the specific rules for quotation marks (“”) to reveal ownership that are covered in The Bedford Handbook


In this course, you may not copy an author’s phrases without quotation marks. You also may not replace a few words in an author’s sentence. Both are what The Bedford Handbook calls “half-copy” plagiarism (page 692).

QP = Quotation includes Plagiarized text


You must follow common standards to reveal any changes you made to the author’s words. This may not be just a punctuation error. You may be misleading your reader about the evidence.

In this course, if you use another’s words, you must be sure either not to change them or—if you change them—to follow the specific rules in The Bedford Handbook to reveal those changes to the reader.

QC = Quotation is Changed from the source.


You must use reliable sources to verify what you write—to confirm its accuracy.


In this course, if you cannot verify the fact, do not write it and do not assume that the source agrees with you. If you are certain something is true and you cannot find it clearly in our sources, ask me for help.

In this course, you also must select facts to reveal the facts accurately. Examples:

§  If a question is about something specific (such as a time, type of person, or region), verify that the source is about that specific thing.

§  If the source covers facts about two or more sides or positions, do not include only one side as though the other did not occur.

NT = Fact is Not True. It is not verifiable using the probable page in the source.


With most written work for professors (or bosses), if asked, you must be able to state exactly where (a specific page) in the source that each fact came from—whether you wrote the words or the author did. With many college assignments, you must provide citations and use a specific standard (such as MLA, APA, or the Chicago Manual of Style).



In this course with most written assignments, you do not need to provide citations (the specific page number from our textbook) unless I cannot recognize where the fact came from. If you ask to do the more challenging alternative assignment instead of the essays for Unit 3, then you must cite according to the instructions.

W? = Where is the specific page where this is supported in our textbook?


What is the Goal for Writing?Think about it as teaching some section of history to your smart cousin.

With something that people talk about in many ways, sometimes it helps to state what is not the goal. With writing in this course, you are not summarizing or paraphrasing the textbook. You do not, therefore, need to repeat every fact or word in the textbook. You are also not showing your personal writing style while stating your feelings or your opinions.



Instead, in this course, the goal of all writing assignments is for you to do activities that help you learn the history of our nation. One of the most powerful ways to learn something is to try to teach it. You will succeed in these assignments if you do these things:

§  If you read carefully and work to understand what happened and ask if you need help.

§  If you figure out what essential facts that you would teach your cousin.

§  If you figure how you could organize those facts as simply and as accurately as you can.

§  If you write in a common sense way as though you are teaching your cousin history that he or she needs to understand.



How Does Your Instructor Grade Your Writing?

Because the goal of writing is to hTo help you learn our nation’s history and the priority is for you to be accurate, I grade your writing by comparing what you wrote side by side with the facts in the textbook. With essays submitted, I use a method that lets me quickly identify all of the submissions where the students wrote on the same question.


1.     I download those submissions, print them, and place side by side:

§  On the left, the textbook opened to the probable section or sections students should have used.

§  On the right, the submissions of students’ papers on that question.

2.     I use the Evidence Checklist/Rubric and its 2-letter abbreviations for feedback (shown below) and grade each student’s submissions one by one.

3.     If there are multiple possible questions, I then repeat the steps above with the next question.



With the two essays for the Unit exams, I grade one of the questions using the method above. Unless I find problems such as factual errors in that essay, I grade the other one without the textbook side by side with your paper—a quicker method.


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Where Can You Find More Information about the Evidence Checklist/Rubric and How to Work With Evidence?

In the module for the History Changes Essay, you will also find brief tips on reading for evidence and writing with evidence (including preventing problems with quotations). If you would also like a personal conference, I am glad to help you.


Types of Written Assignments

With all written assignments, you write briefly and within the maximum length listed for the assignment and according to the Evidence Checklist/Rubric and the Goal for Written Assignments (both on the prior page).

§  You know all of the possible questions before you write, but you do not know which question(s) Blackboard will display for you.

§  You must write on the question(s) displayed. The reason for listing the questions and providing ways to locate what you need in the textbook is for you to read and prepare ahead of time for all possible questions.


History Changes Essay, a 10-point assignment: You know the questions ahead. It is brief—you write about the amount you would write by hand on a ½ sheet of Xerox paper. You must write only on the question you received.


After the date listed in the Course Schedule, you can click on the History Changes Essay. You can see not only the list of all possible questions but also aids to help you. You see a table comparing the content to help you see changes over time (also provided as a handout) and you know the specific parts of the textbook for each column in the table.


The History Changes Essay is meant to introduce you to several things:

§  Content that is part of Unit 1 and essential to understanding the remaining Units in the course and our history as a whole

§  Content as a way to examine how and why events change over time—something key to being accurate in writing about history and to noticing how human beings’ actions or lack of action can alter their futures.

§  How grading works in this course and what is frequently expected in courses and jobs that require evidence

§  How you work with evidence, with reading, and with writing
Because some students have an “aha moment” when they do this essay and follow the feedback instructions, this is the assignment where you can receive up to 10 extra points (100% extra credit) for following the instructions with the feedback I provide on your History Changes Essay. This means full credit for this assignment no matter what your initial grade.


Caution: You must do the History Changes Essay to see the essay part of the three Unit exams.


Essay Part of the Exams That End Unit 1, 2, and 3, with 2 essays, each at 25 Points: You can take an exam only one time. You know the questions ahead. Each question should be brief—for each one, you write about the amount you would write by hand on a ½ sheet of Xerox paper. The questions work in this way:

§  At the beginning of a Unit, you see at the top of the Unit a link to all possible essay questions, with the possible questions grouped for the first essay question and for the second one.

§  On the day of your Unit exam, Blackboard displays 2 of the possible questions in the group for the first essay and 2 for the second essay. You write one essay for each group.


Alternative Assignment for Unit 3’s Essays (1-page typed essay at 50 points): You may choose to write a more challenging writing assignment, a comparison, instead of writing the essays for Unit 3. It is requires citation and is graded on formal language and organization. If you want more information on this alternative, contact me.


Alternative Links That You May Want

If you want to go to the link on what you are to do to History Changes Essay, click here.

If you want to go to the Preventions link, click here.




Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2003-2013



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History – Dr. Bibus

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