Basic Writing Standards

Here are some of the basic standards I’m looking for when I grade your writing. This is A or B writing. Grades lower than B do not meet these standards.

  1. Snappy title or headline sparks curiosity of reader.
  2. Capitalize first letters of words in the title or headlines, except for small words (a, and the).
  3. Lead paragraph is interesting, and sparks curiosity. Passes the “so what?” test. Why should the reader care about what you’ve written? If you start by simply communicating that you’re fulfilling an assignment, no one cares about that.
  4. The first paragraph is concise. Not wordy. Eliminate unnecessary words.
  5. You have re-read the story aloud before submitting it. It does not read in an unwieldy fashion.
  6. You can read the lead paragraph with one breath. It is not too complicated. It is easy to understand.
  7. Words are spelled correctly and used correctly. You have spell-checked your document and edited it carefully before submitting it. You understand correct word usage.
  8. Subject-verb agreement.
  9. Consistent use of verb tense.
  10. No run-on sentences.
  11. Active voice and not passive voice.
  12. The story conforms to AP Style.
  13. The writing is clear and understandable.
  14. The story “contains accurate quotes,” he said.
  15. Spacing is correct. Not “    like this  . “
  16. Punctuation is correct
  17. Capitalization is correct.
  18. Titles are correct.
  19. Attribution is correct.
  20. Content keeps the reader’s interest.

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