Technical Communication at the University of Kansas

How to Score Your Writing;
Also, a Handy Peer-Review Guide

Scoring Checklist

English 362 Index


Assignments List



Web Links

Measures of Good Technical Communication

Technical Communication Defined

About McKitterick

Want to know how I score your papers? Ready to score your own? Or would you just like some guidance for doing peer-reviews? Well, here's my method, broken down as quantitatively as I can, using the factors I consider when scoring papers:

  • Does the document meet all the requirements of good technical documentation? (See the checklist below.)
    For every required measure not met, deduct approximately 5%.
  • "Grammatically correct" is weighted more heavily; for each rule broken, deduct more points:
    • Using a lot of passive voice and wordiness knocks off 5% by itself.
    • Other errors per Blake & Bly's rules knock off more points as they add up.
  • Does it exhibit standout measures? If so, add 5% for each up to 10% (one full grade) total.
  • Does it meet the requirements of the assignment?
    • If a document is incomplete but already longer than the required length, it must be clear as-is how it will work when complete.
    • If not, deduct 5-10% depending on how much it misses the target.
  • Does the document succeed in the writer's goal? If not, deduct 5-10% depending on how much it misses the target.
  • Does it contain plagiarism? Fix it! If I suspect plagiarism, I do a little snooping. If it turns out to be the case, I give a zero and we meet to discuss.

When you're performing a peer-review, this can be super-handy. Click here to get the peer-review guide document (in .rtf format) to use when critiquing your own or your partner's work.


Why does the document successfully meet this measure,
or why doesn't it measure up?
Give yourself a 1-10, with 10 being "perfect" for that measure.

Required Measures

Targeted to Correct Reader












Accessible and Well-Organized






Appears Professional


Grammatically Correct




Demonstrates Understanding of the Form


Demonstrates Mastery of the Tools


Standout Measures

Novel or Unique






Social Impact


Overall point score (based on the assignment's value on Blackboard; not necessary for peer-review, but useful for evaluating your own work):

You can also download this as a .rtf file here. What grade would you give your own paper...?

Information is power! By critically analyzing your writing - and correcting the errors - you'll improve even before you submit it to the final reader.


Updated 8/27/2014.