History Essay Rubric

(applicable to both short essays and term papers)

   CMU-Q History Department    Dr. Benjamin Reilly (breilly2@qatar.cmu.edu)








Synthesis and Analysis


Points awarded for:

• Clearly stated thesis statement

• Consistent overall organization around theme

• Clear explanation, throughout the paper, of how evidence presented is relevant to the thesis

• Clear relevance of argument to the question asked

Points awarded for:

• Evidence clearly related to thesis statement

• Evidence is sufficient to answer the question asked

• Moderate use of direct quotations

• Proper documentation of sources (click here for info)

Points awarded for:

• Proper grammar

• Appropriate essay structure

• Use of linking words (however, although, etc.) to guide the reader through the essay

• Use of strong topic sentences to summarize each paragraph’s contents and link the evidence in the paragraph with the essay’s overall topic


Points awarded for:

• Originality of thought

• Ability to make links between different historical events or different historical sources

• Sensitivity to biases, limitations, etc. of sources

• Understanding and application of theories of history to material under study


Points deducted for:

• Lack of clear thesis statement

• Repeated departures from the stated topic

• Essay topic not clearly related to the topic assigned


Points deducted for:

• Evidence unrelated to question asked

• Insufficient evidence

• Long, unexplained direct quotations

• Incorrectly documented or undocumented sources

• Factual inaccuracies


Points deducted for:

• Poor grammar

• No clear paragraph structure

• Misspelled words, typos, improper punctuation

• Weak topic sentences


Points deducted for:

• A “narrative” approach to your topic- chiefly descriptive rather than analytical

• Lack of sensitivity to the type, bias, and limitations of sources used

• Basing arguments on assumptions, not facts


Click here for a sample short essay