Different professors and instructors grade papers differently. Although there is no exact way that will fit all professors, there are some methods and factors that most professors do take into account when grading papers. When you know what your professor is looking for, it will help you to write a quality paper. The following is some insight into how instructors grade college papers.
First and foremost, they are going to want to see that you followed directions. If they asked for a 1000-word paper and you wrote a 500-word paper, they are likely to notice that and reflect that poorly in your grade. If they want it to be a paper on a 15th century artist and you write a paper on a 16th century artist that might also trouble them. Unless you check with them beforehand about going outside the parameters for a specific reason and they give you the okay, you are best off following the instructions to the letter. Sometimes it is difficult for you to understand exactly what is important to the professor with the paper, and a little divergence from one of their specific requirements can make it completely off topic for them.
Professors will often check for plagiarism. Most of the time, the consequences will be very severe if you cheat in this manner. In some schools the first offence will result in suspension from school. There are several ways that they can check. Obviously, they might notice if you and another student have papers that look too similar. Also, there are different computer software programs that scour the web to look for similar copy. Many professors make this the first step in grading any paper.
They might evaluate the topic if it is a paper where you have chosen the topic. When choosing a topic, it is always beneficial to select a topic that the professor will like to get you off to a good start. You can try to choose an area that the professor seems to like and make sure that it is well within the parameters of what he or she is looking for.
They will look at how comprehensive the paper is. They will want you to explore the topic fully, looking at the different angels or facets of the topic. They might be impressed if you bring up the most points and thoroughly investigate the subject.
The professor will look that it is well written and free of typos. This will be especially important if it is an English class in which the actual writing is paramount. You will want to make sure to do a spell check. Be meticulous and try to write out a well-thought paper and your instructor will hopefully give you a fair – and good – grade.