To what degree do you concentrate on grammar and mechanics in grading? Do you follow a rubric or a point system, or do you grade holistically? To you determine your own grading standards, or do you follow department guidelines? Are you confident that an A, B, or C in your class is the same quality as an A, B, or C in your colleagues' classes?
I ask these questions because I'm curious about how much range there is in academic autonomy among composition teachers in various states and schools. I'm also curious about how much consistency there is in grading standards.
My school has policies that regulate the number of assignments in all classes, not just in English classes. Comp 1 classes are supposed to have at least six graded essays. Comp 2 classes have 3 essays, a research paper, and a business writing unit that includes a resume, a letter of application, and a technical report. I've been there nine years, and I'm still trying to figure out how to fit all of that in. ;)
We also have grading guidelines for grammar. Major errors are supposed to count off 10 points each and minor errors 5 points each. Major errors are defined by the school as comma splices, subject/verb errors, sentence fragments and fused sentences.
If we really follow all of these guidelines, that leaves very little room for actually teaching them how to write. On the other hand, the students struggle with grammar, and since we do not have a writing center, they have to get instruction on grammar in the classroom.
I'm not sure there is a good answer to how to deal with all of this and really get down to teaching writing, but I would like to know how other schools handle these issues.