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Writing - Thesis Guide for MA students: Evaluation of MA Research

Assessment and Rubric

The following are the assessment norms for the evaluation of the Master’s Thesis. There are three separate grades assigned to the candidate by the specified individuals, following the Athenaeum grade scale. A passing grade for MA 697 and MA 698 is no less than a “C+.” A passing grade for MA 699 is no less than a composite score of 6 out of 10. 

A

High achievement and initiative

C+

Below average; minimum passing grade

A-

High achievement

C

Work of questionable acceptability

B+

Above average, approaching high achievement

D

Poor

B

Average performance, acceptable at the graduate level

F

Failure

 

MA 697 – Directed Research (Graded by Thesis Director)

The thesis director is asked to provide a letter grade for the candidate’s research and writing process. This grade should take into consideration the quality of the candidate’s research and his or her ability to meet the benchmarks and deadlines established with the Thesis Director.

MA 698 – Thesis (Graded by Thesis Director, in consultation with Readers)

The thesis director is asked to provide a letter grade for the completed thesis (excluding oral defense). The thesis director is to take the other readers’ input into consideration when assigning this grade. No less than a “C+” is considered a passing mark.

The thesis is to be judged according to the following four categories:

  1. a clearly identified thesis statement, and sound research methodology (20% of total);
  2. use of sources (10% of total);
  3. support for the thesis (60% of total); and
  4. organization of paper, including writing style and citation format (10% of total).

NB: In deciding upon a grade, the director and readers should consider the attached rubric for MA 698.

 

MA 699 – Thesis Defense (Graded by Thesis Examination Board)

The thesis examination consists of a defense of the thesis lasting no more than one hour. The Thesis Examination Board will consist of the thesis director, the second reader, and an additional faculty selected by the Dean to serve as third reader.

The Thesis Examination Board is asked to come to a consensus on a grade for the student’s thesis defense. The Board is to provide a grade of 1 to 10 (with a composite score of 6 being the lowest passing grade) according to the detailed rubric.

 

Grading Rubric for MA 698 - Thesis

For the purposes of this rubric, “Above Average” shall be understood as surpassing the qualities described as “Satisfactory”, but may not achieve the full quality of “Superior”. Likewise, “Area for Improvement” shall be understood as possessing some deficiency of the qualities described as “Satisfactory”, but may not be wholly described as “Inadequate”.

Thesis Statement & Methodology                                                                          Score:             /10

Points

Performance

Description

9 – 10

Superior

Thesis precisely and succinctly stated; sub problems identified; Multiple perspectives on the problem presented; specific hypotheses or questions addressed; limitations of thesis explained; terms defined; author’s interests, assumptions, and/or biases made explicit.

Methodological issues discussed in detail and choice of method for the research justified; strengths and limitations of research method clearly recognized.

7 – 8

Above Average

 

5 – 6

Satisfactory

Thesis clearly stated; scope of problem explained; hypotheses or questions addressed; terms clearly defined.

Methodology clearly stated, followed consistently, and appropriate to the research.

3 – 4

Area for Improvement

 

1 – 2

Inadequate

Thesis unclear, unfocused; hypotheses or questions not well developed; problem too complex.

Methodology vague, inconsistent, or inappropriate.

 

Use of Sources                                                                                                           Score:             /10

Points

Performance

Description

9 – 10

Superior

Insightful use of primary and secondary sources [and biblical text in original language for MAB].

7 – 8

Above Average

 

5 – 6

Satisfactory

Balanced use of primary and secondary sources [and appropriate use of biblical text in original language for MAB].

3 – 4

Area for Improvement

 

1 – 2

Inadequate

Either primary or secondary sources not used [and/or biblical text in originals language not used for MAB]; sources misunderstood or used inappropriately.

 

Support for Thesis                                                                                                     Score:             /10

Points

Performance

Description

9 – 10

Superior

All relevant scholarly positions analyzed; convincing arguments for positions taken; all objections answered fully.

7 – 8

Above Average

 

5 – 6

Satisfactory

Some/the most important scholarly positions analyzed; logical arguments given for positions taken; objections answered.

3 – 4

Area for Improvement

 

1 – 2

Inadequate

Scholarly positions poorly analyzed or ignored; arguments illogical or otherwise inept; objections to position not answered.

 

Organization of Paper, Writing Style, Citation Format                                      Score:             /10

Points

Performance

Description

9 – 10

Superior

Paper clearly structured, with all parts contributing to the argument of the whole; free from grammatical, spelling errors, and word processing errors; language precise and effective in conveying understanding to the reader; citations according to K. Turabian, Manual for Writers.

7 – 8

Above Average

 

5 – 6

Satisfactory

Research and conclusions presented in logical order; paper clearly written; citations according to K. Turabian, Manual for Writers.

3 – 4

Area for Improvement

 

1 – 2

Inadequate

Paper poorly organized; excessive grammatical and spelling errors, or word processing errors; citations not according to K. Turabian, Manual for Writers.

 

Overall Grade for Thesis

Transfer the scores from each of the four categories into the following grid and calculate the weighted score for each category. Then, sum each weighted score to calculate the final grade.

Category

Score

Weight

Weighted

score

Thesis Statement & Methodology

              /10

x   0.2    =

 

Use of Sources

              /10

x   0.1    =

 

Support for Thesis

              /10

x   0.6    =

 

Organization of Paper, Writing Style, Citation Format

              /10

x   0.1    =

 

Total Score =

              /10

 

Sum total of the preceding categories, with corresponding letter grade. The Thesis Director is responsible for uploading the letter grade to Populi.

10 – 9.5

9.4 – 8.5

8.4 – 7.5

7.4 – 6.5

6.4 – 5.5

5.4 – 4.5

4.4 – 3.0

  2.9 – 0.0

A

A-

B+

B

C+

C

D

F


 
Grading Rubric for MA 699 - Thesis Defense

The grade for MA 699 – Thesis Defense is to be decided by the Thesis Examination Board. The Thesis Director is to note this on the second page of this rubric and submit it to the Registrar immediately after the Thesis Defense.

For the purposes of this rubric, “Above Average” shall be understood as surpassing the qualities described as “Satisfactory”, but may not achieve the full quality of “Superior”. Likewise, “Area for Improvement” shall be understood as possessing some deficiency of the qualities described as “Satisfactory”, but may not be wholly described as “Inadequate”.

Defense of Thesis                                                                                                     Score:             /10

Points

Performance

Description

9 – 10

Superior

Defends, clarifies, and expands upon written thesis.

7 – 8

Above Average

 

5 – 6

Satisfactory

Defends, but merely restates rather than expands, written thesis work.

3 – 4

Area for Improvement

 

1 – 2

Inadequate

Does not defend written thesis work.

 

Content Knowledge                                                                                               Score:             /10

Points

Performance

Description

9 – 10

Superior

Demonstrated mastery of the subject area, including primary sources and other scholarship.

7 – 8

Above Average

 

5 – 6

Satisfactory

Demonstrated competency within the subject area.

3 – 4

Area for Improvement

 

1 – 2

Inadequate

Insufficient knowledge of the subject area; relies solely on secondary sources or personal argument alone.

 

Critical Thinking                                                                                                   Score:             /10

Points

Performance

Description

9 – 10

Superior

Demonstrates strong critical thinking skills; answers questions fully; relates ideas to broader topics within the same or related disciplines; arguments made with clear connections to supporting evidence.

7 – 8

Above Average

 

5 – 6

Satisfactory

Demonstrates some critical thinking skills; answers questions adequately; relates one or two ideas to related disciplines; arguments have some basic connection to supporting evidence.

3 – 4

Area for Improvement

 

1 – 2

Inadequate

Demonstrates no / poorly developed critical thinking skills; questions not answered adequately or at all; makes no connections to other disciplines; arguments illogical or otherwise inept.

 

Presentation & Communication skills                                                               Score:             /10

Points

Performance

Description

9 – 10

Superior

Presentation well-organized; ideas communicated thoroughly and concisely; vocal presence clear and articulate.

7 – 8

Above Average

 

5 – 6

Satisfactory

Presentation adequately organized; ideas communicated clearly, but perhaps either lacking adequate explanation or possessing too much verbosity; vocal presence adequate.

3 – 4

Area for Improvement

 

1 – 2

Inadequate

Presentation poorly organized; ideas unclear or hard to follow; vocal presence lacking.

 

Overall Grade for Thesis Defense

Transfer the scores from each of the four categories into the following grid and calculate the weighted score for each category. Then, sum each weighted score to calculate the final grade. No less than a composite score of 6 out of 10 is considered a passing grade for the Thesis Defense. The Thesis Director is responsible for providing this completed and signed rubric to the Office of the Registrar.

Category

Score

Weight

Weighted

score

Defense of Thesis

              /10

x   0.25   =

 

Content Knowledge

              /10

x   0.25   =

 

Critical Thinking

              /10

x   0.25   =

 

Presentation & Communication Skills

              /10

x   0.25   =

 

Total Score =

              /10