Elements of Good Essay Writing

Elements of Good Essay Writing

Teachers who teach the same subject in different classes often share their views as to what elements would constitute a well-written essay. Examples of how B.H.S. teachers make decisions when assessing your work are below. The first is a checklist for a preliminary read through of your essay and the second is the agreed upon (moderated) criteria by which every student’s essay is critiqued. This general example of how your work is assessed should be kept in mind since it will help you become a better historical writer.

Is the student’s response:

  • Precise in its use of factual information?
  • Appropriately detailed?
  • Factually accurate?
  • Appropriately balanced, or markedly better in some areas than in others?
  • And, with regard to the quality of written communication skills: generally coherent in expression and cogent in development (as appropriate to the level awarded by organizing relevant information clearly and coherently, using specialist vocabulary and terminology)?
  • Well presented as to general quality of language, i.e. use of syntax (including accuracy in spelling, punctuation and grammar)?

 Teacher Expectations for a Good Essay:

“The response is not perfect but the best that a student can be expected to achieve under the assessment (timed) conditions. The response is focused clearly on the demands of the question, even if there is some unevenness. The approach is clearly analytical rather than descriptive or narrative and, in particular, there is a clear and evident (but not necessarily totally full) evaluation of the historical debate bearing upon the topic which is carefully integrated into the overall approach. The answer is fully relevant. Most of the argument is structured coherently and supported by very appropriate factual material – the degree of that support will help to distinguish between answers in a higher and lower level. The impression is that a good solid answer has been provided. The writing is fluent and uses appropriate historical vocabulary. The answer shows accuracy in grammar, punctuation and spelling.”