Correction Key

This website's Main Pages (click to go there)   Home 主页    Current Update 当前更新    Resources 学习资源    Photos 影集 

  Links 友情链接    Things We've Written 我的文集   Special Features 本站特色    Site Map 本站导航    Real World 英语写作 

I've stopped updating this website, though it's pages will remain for a while. See "current update" for details.

Visit instead: and

Sister-pages:   Home Up Learner Links XMU-Materials Syllabus-XMU American Ways XMU-Grades Exam Preview How to Improve English Better Study Methods Resources-previous Test Your Skill Better Writing Guide Using MUCH Using Articles Which or That? Types of Writing Don't Copy--Write! Welcome to My Class Correction Key Interest Survey Current Students

(▲ Links to the pages at the same level as this page. If you can't see the label, put your mouse over a button and look at the bottom of your browser.)

Correction Key
(These are the symbols I use in correcting student work.)

Writing Grade Scale (total of 10 points)

FIRST DRAFTS may be graded more leniently than revisions (I allow more-or-less double the number of problems).


LANGUAGE (grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice or form, etc.)
6=perfect (no errors) (on drafts, I may allow one minor error)
5=less than five language errors
4=less than ten language errors
3=ten to fourteen (I may not take the time to mark all of these errors)
2=fifteen or more errors (I may not take the time to mark all of these errors)
1=extremely poor English (usually due to lack of editing or peer help) (I won’t mark them all)
NOTE: a “Language” mark deals with mechanics, not content. Your content may be very good even if you get a “2.” Likewise, an essay with good content may get a low “Content” grade if it has many other problems. I may count double for errors I corrected or marked on your draft (or specifically covered in class), but which you did not correct on the final paper. A draft with a perfect “10” lets you write about anything you like instead of doing a revision (less than 200 words).


CONTENT (structure, clarity, following directions, meaning, creative expression, etc.)
4 points = good structure as required by the assignment; convey information clearly; appropriate length; interesting content. Essays may lose points for poor or inappropriate conclusion (or if conc. doesn’t name the subject when needed), lack of clarity or creativity when needed, not double-spaced or typed/formatted correctly, word count (too many, too few, or not counted), no date (or name) written on the top, Chinglish, fluff, wordiness, redundancy, “meaning unclear,” lack of noticeable effort, no or poor title, failure to follow instructions (including bad punctuation in your heading/name, and if you type DO NOT justify!), etc. Note that hand-written corrections are fine on your draft, but if you have more than one on your final copy you will lose a point (so have your peer-reader look at it BEFORE you print the final copy). Style and a polished presentation are important parts of learning to write.


Your work will automatically lose half of the possible points if the “original” is not attached to a revision (so keep ALL originals where you can find them!!). I usually give a zero to nameless papers.

Automatic zero (on both the draft and revision) if you plagiarize (or have too close a resemblance with another student’s paper), AND minus 30 on your final exam score—you will also have to talk to a Chinese teacher about this. If it happens twice you can no longer attend, and you fail the course.

Note to teachers: Using codes like the ones shown here can help reduce the time spent grading essays. In general, when I write a code near student mistakes I do not specifically correct the errors. This encourages the student to think about the problem and/or ask for help if needed (from me or a peer). If there is a good chance that the student and his/her classmates can not figure out the correction on their own, I may correct the error myself. I am also more likely to make the corrections on revisions than on first drafts. To encourage peer editing, I require students to have a classmate read each essay before it is turned in to me. (See additional notes at the bottom of my "types of writing" handout.)

I don't remember how or when this code list started. I have seen many similar lists. Feel free to adapt it to your own needs.


This resource was created for our students under my understanding of "fair use" for educational resources.  

© 2007 Michael Krigline, all rights reserved. As far as I am concerned, people are allowed to print/copy it for personal or classroom use.

 (see Website Standards and Use Policy)

Click in the boxes below to go to some of our most popular pages. If you get lost, just click "Home."

(There is a "search" box on the home page)


Site map (To search within any page, type "ctrl + f")

Current Update

& how to contact us

Resources  for students & teachers

Links for English Learners

EFL Movie Study Guides

Better Writing Study Guide

Our Students photos

Photo Index

South Carolina & USA photos

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Favorite Links

Things We've Written (articles)

Introduction to China

Life in China photos

Music Page & mp3 downloads

Archive Index

Real World Writing (my textbook)

See our Policy regarding the use of materials available at or