Guide: Marking and Grading

My classroom philosophy is that you come to me with a modicum of English grammar rules and writing tools. You’ve had all summer to play video games or whatever it is that you kids do nowadays, and now you come to me, often reluctantly, to engage in a rigorous program of study.

Achieving high scores throughout the year

Though you’ll have to work for it, you can earn above average grades in my class. The first term is very easy. The second term gets quite a bit harder, but we temper it with plenty of bonus point opportunities. About 20% of my students earn above average grades throughout the first two terms – with a small percentage actually carrying a 100+% average.

Term three is quite easy for average and above average students. In terms of assessments and routines, term three is similar to term two, so the study habits learned in the first two terms will serve you well.

Term four introduces some new routines and assessments. Term four is the hardest term. In order to score well in term four, students need to have done well in the previous terms. Students who struggle in the first three terms will have a difficult time in term four.

Grading scale

The Collegiate School of Medicine and  Bioscience  adheres to the following grading scale:

Above average grades

You may not be the best looking, richest, or funniest person in the room, but, by God, you can work harder than the other students. Getting above average grades in my class is easy if you’re willing to work harder than the other students.

  • 90-100 = A
  • 80-89.9 = B

Average grades

Often referred to as the “fat middle,” this is where the majority of students land. In recent years, grade inflation trends have given some students a disproportionate understanding of their actual academic acumen. Understand that earning a C in my class is nothing for which you should feel ashamed. Average means average in my class. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have earned an A.

  • 70-79.9 = C

Below average grades

No student should earn a below average grade in my class, but every year I get a few. Sometimes it’s understandable. For example, if a student misses a week or more of instruction during a term, she will definitely struggle to earn average or above average grades. It’s possible, but she’ll have to work twice as hard.

The message: Do the work and earn good grades.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that you are not a regular student; you can’t afford to be a regular student. You have tested into a premium school and you are receiving a premium education. The Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience is an Advance Placement school. You don’t want to work? Go to a different school.

  • 60-69.9 = D
  • 0-59.9 = F

Grading categories

Our class is divided into the following centers and components (see: Guide: 9th Grade English Language Arts Curriculum for more about each center and component):

  1. Grammar and mechanics
  2. Non-fiction reading
  3. Non-fiction communication
  4. Fiction reading
  5. Fiction communication

NOTE: Students who are in the honors class will have an additional category for their end of term projects. 

Thus, we will divide our grading scheme into similar categories.

1. Grammar and mechanics – 30%

The grades from this category come from your participation in the introductory lessons, your professionalism in class, and the daily mini-assessments we take.

2. Non-fiction reading – 10%

Non-fiction reading consists of two giant units that are sliced and diced into multiple mini-units. Each mini-unit contains an end-of-unit assessment and several smaller check for understanding assessments. These assessments consist of multiple choice questions and short answer responses.

3. Non-fiction communication- 25%

Non-fiction communication is nearly entirely project based. Each project will be published with a rubric. Many of the projects and assessments in the non-fiction communication center pull from the works that you are reading in the non-fiction reading center.

4. Fiction reading – 10%

Fiction reading consists of several units.  each of which is relate

5. Fiction communication- 25%

Like the non-fiction communication center, the fiction communication center is nearly entirely project based. Each project will be published with a rubric. Many of the projects and assessments in the fiction communication center pull from the works that you are reading in the fiction reading center.


When I mark student essays and short answer responses, I will often use standard proofreader’s marks, but sometimes I’ll use my own marks and abbreviations. Please see the list below for a full explanation of my editing marks, abbreviations, and comments.

Standard proofreaders’ marks

This list is from The Chicago Manual of Style, arguably the most definitive and up-to-date American English language guide.

Chicago Manual of Style Proofreader’s Marks

My own creations

As we progress through the class, we will need to reference specific grammatical rules or mechanical functions. I use abbreviations or acronyms for the bulk of this work. The list below covers my most often used marks:

  • Csent – compound sentence
  • Csub – compound subject
  • CV – compound verb
  • IU – incorrect usage
  • PP – prepositional phrase
  • IPP – incorrect use of a prepositional phrase
  • IP – incorrect preposition
  • UP – undefined pronoun
  • CS – comma splice
  • Frag – sentence fragment
  • RO – run-on sentence
  • DMS – doesn’t make sense
  • IGU or ? – I give up (if you see this mark, then you have caused me great mental anguish – SMiLE)
  • … or Expand –  add more information about this idea
  • WIC – weak independent clause
  • VT – verb tense
  • VTS – verb tense shift
  • WC – word choice
  • WDTM – what does this mean?
  • F – formatting
  • C – content
  • G – grammar or mechanics
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