The first free response topic for the AP Language and Composition Exam is a synthesis essay based on approximately seven passages covering both the pro and con of a significant global issue. Students have an additional 15 minutes to read the documents for use in answering the prompt. To prepare for this section, each student will maintain a collection of documents on six topics of global / national cultural, economic, political, or social concerns.
Every six weeks, the student will submit a binder that contains the following items:
A collection of a total of 30 items- articles, political cartoons, charts, letters to the editor, newspaper articles, magazine articles, internet pieces, charts, graphs, and essays – that cover six topics.
These six topics will be the same ones for the entire year.
At the front of each topic, the student will complete a chart to identify the specific elements identified in each item. The chart includes the title of the article, the author, the date of access, the name of the newspaper/magazine, the genre of the piece, a one-to-two sentence summary of each item, and a rating as “pro” or “con” on the issue.
At the top of each article and on the chart, each piece is identified by letter (A,B,C,etc.) for use in documentation of the essay later.
Every piece must be annotated; that means both highlighting and side notes to identify the purpose or question of the highlighted portion.
These pieces will be collected for a grade at the end of each six weeks.
On the due date, students will write an in-class synthesis essay on one topic; sometimes the student may select the subject most confident in arguing; other times, the student will hand a collection of pieces on one topic to a peer, and the other person must write using these essays for the synthesis essay. Usually, applying the stem prompt from the AP exam, the student will independently devise a thesis for the paper.
Sample topic: Currently elected officials in Washington, D.C., are considering closing the border between the United States and Mexico. Using the collection, defend, qualify, or argue against this action.
Use the AP rubric for Essay 1 from the most recent exam for grading.
By the end of the fifth cycle, everyone should have a minimum of 150 items in the binder, 25 items per topic per grading cycle.
SYNTHESIS BINDER RUBRIC