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TOTAL ___________/35


Argumentation Rubric
































































5

3

2

0

INTRODUCTION
Background/History
Define the Problem



Well-developed introduction engages the reader and creates interest. Contains a clear explanation of the problem. 

Introduction creates interest and contains some background information.

Introduction adequately explains the problem, but may lack detail. 

Background details are a random collection of information, unclear, or not related to the topic.

THESIS

Thesis clearly states a significant and compelling position.



Thesis clearly states the problem.

Thesis states the problem.

Thesis and/or problem is vague or unclear.

MAIN POINTS
Body Paragraphs


Well developed main points directly related to the thesis. Supporting examples are concrete and detailed. Elaboration is logical, and well thought out.

Main points are related to the thesis, but one may lack details. Commentary is present.

Three or more main points are present.

Development of ideas is poor.  Elaboration is not present.

REFUTATION

Refutation acknowledges opposing view logically and clearly. 

Refutation paragraph acknowledges the opposing view and summarizes points.




Refutation missing or vague. 

CONCLUSION

Conclusion effectively wraps up and goes beyond restating the thesis. 

Conclusion effectively summarizes topics. 




Conclusion does not summarize main points.

ORGANIZATION
Structure
Transitions

Logical progression of ideas with a clear structure that enhances the thesis.  Transitions are mature and graceful.

Logical progression of ideas.  Transitions are present equally throughout essay.

Organization is clear. Transitions are present. 

No discernable organization.  Transitions are not present. 

MECHANICS AND STYLE
Sentence flow, variety
Diction
Spelling, punctuation, capitalization

Writing is smooth, skillful, and coherent.  Sentences are strong and expressive with varied structure. Diction is consistent and words well chosen.  Punctuation, spelling, capitalization are correct.  No errors.

Writing is clear and sentences have varied structure.  Diction is consistent.  Punctuation, spelling, capitalization are generally correct, with few errors. (1-2)

Writing is clear, but sentences may lack variety.  Diction is appropriate. A few errors in punctuation, spelling, capitalization. (3-4)

Writing is confusing, hard to follow.  Contains fragments and/or run-on sentences. Inappropriate diction. Distracting errors in punctuation, spelling, capitalization. 

SAT Writing Rubric

The essay will be scored by experienced and trained high school and college teachers. Each essay will be scored by two people who won't know each other's score. They won't know the student's identity or school either. Each reader will give the essay a score from 1 to 6 (6 is the highest score) based on the following scoring guide.



SCORE OF 6

An essay in this category demonstrates clear and consistent mastery, although it may have a few minor errors. A typical essay



  • effectively and insightfully develops a point of view on the issue and demonstrates outstanding critical thinking, using clearly appropriate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position

  • is well organized and clearly focused, demonstrating clear coherence and smooth progression of ideas

  • exhibits skillful use of language, using a varied, accurate, and apt vocabulary

  • demonstrates meaningful variety in sentence structure

  • is free of most errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics

SCORE OF 5

An essay in this category demonstrates reasonably consistent mastery, although it will have occasional errors or lapses in quality. A typical essay



  • effectively develops a point of view on the issue and demonstrates strong critical thinking, generally using appropriate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position

  • is well organized and focused, demonstrating coherence and progression of ideas

  • exhibits facility in the use of language, using appropriate vocabulary

  • demonstrates variety in sentence structure

  • is generally free of most errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics

SCORE OF 4

An essay in this category demonstrates adequate mastery, although it will have lapses in quality. A typical essay



  • develops a point of view on the issue and demonstrates competent critical thinking, using adequate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position

  • is generally organized and focused, demonstrating some coherence and progression of ideas

  • exhibits adequate but inconsistent facility in the use of language, using generally appropriate vocabulary

  • demonstrates some variety in sentence structure

  • has some errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics



SCORE OF 3

An essay in this category demonstrates developing mastery, and is marked by ONE OR MORE of the following weaknesses:



  • develops a point of view on the issue, demonstrating some critical thinking, but may do so inconsistently or use inadequate examples, reasons, or other evidence to support its position

  • is limited in its organization or focus, or may demonstrate some lapses in coherence or progression of ideas

  • displays developing facility in the use of language, but sometimes uses weak vocabulary or inappropriate word choice

  • lacks variety or demonstrates problems in sentence structure

  • contains an accumulation of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics

SCORE OF 2

An essay in this category demonstrates little mastery, and is flawed by ONE OR MORE of the following weaknesses:



  • develops a point of view on the issue that is vague or seriously limited, and demonstrates weak critical thinking, providing inappropriate or insufficient examples, reasons, or other evidence to support its position

  • is poorly organized and/or focused, or demonstrates serious problems with coherence or progression of ideas

  • displays very little facility in the use of language, using very limited vocabulary or incorrect word choice

  • demonstrates frequent problems in sentence structure

  • contains errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics so serious that meaning is somewhat obscured

SCORE OF 1

An essay in this category demonstrates very little or no mastery, and is severely flawed by ONE OR MORE of the following weaknesses:



  • develops no viable point of view on the issue, or provides little or no evidence to support its position

  • is disorganized or unfocused, resulting in a disjointed or incoherent essay

  • displays fundamental errors in vocabulary

  • demonstrates severe flaws in sentence structure

  • contains pervasive errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that persistently interfere with meaning

Essays not written on the essay assignment will receive a score of zero.

AP Open Rubric



High Score (8-9) High-scoring essays thoroughly address all the tasks of the essay prompt in well-organized responses. The writing demonstrates stylistic sophistication and control over the elements of effective writing, although it is not necessarily faultless. Overall, high-scoring essays present thoroughly developed, intelligent ideas; sound and logical organization; strong evidence; and articulate diction.

  • Rhetorical analysis essays demonstrate significant understanding of the passage, its intent, and the rhetorical strategies the author employs.

  • Argument essays demonstrate the ability to construct a compelling argument, observing the author's underlying assumptions, (addressing multiple authors in the synthesis essay) and discussing many sides of the issues with appropriate evidence.

Medium-High Score (6-7) Medium-scoring essays complete the tasks of the essay topic well - they show some insight but usually with less precision and clarity than high-scoring essays. There may be lapses in correct diction or sophisticated language, but the essay is generally well written.

  • Rhetorical analysis essays demonstrate sufficient examination of the author's point and the rhetorical strategies he uses to enhance the central idea.

  • Argument essays demonstrate the ability to construct an adequate argument, understand the author's point, and discuss its implications with suitable evidence. The synthesis argument will address at least three of the sources.

Medium Score (5) Essays that earn a medium score complete the essay task, but with no special insights; the analysis lacks depth and merely states the obvious. Frequently, the ideas are predictable and the paragraph development weak. Although the writing conveys the writer's ideas, they are presented simplistically and often contain lapses in diction or syntax.

  • Rhetorical analysis essays demonstrate uneven or insufficient understanding of how rhetorical strategies create an author's point. Often, the writer merely lists what he or she observes in the passage instead of analyzing effect.

  • Argument essays demonstrate the ability to present an argument, but they frequently provide limited and inadequate discussion, explanation, or evidence for the writer's ideas. The writer may not address enough of the sources in the synthesis essay. Oversimplification of the issue(s) minimizes the essay's effectiveness.

Medium-Low Score (3-4) These essays are weaker than the 5 score because the writer overlooks or perhaps misreads important ideas in the passage. The student may summarize the passage's ideas instead of analyzing them. Although the writer's ideas are generally understandable, the control of language is often immature.

  • Rhetorical analysis essays demonstrate little discussion of rhetorical strategies or incorrect identification and/or analysis of those strategies.

  • Argument essays demonstrate little ability to construct an argument. They may not clearly identify the author's point, may not present multiple authors' points of view in the synthesis essay, and may offer little evidence for the student's position.

Low Score (1-2) These essays demonstrate minimal understanding of the topic or the passage. Perhaps unfinished, these essays offer no analysis of the passage and little or no evidence for the student's ideas. Incorrect assertions may be made about the passage. Stylistically, these essays may show consistent grammatical problems, and sentence structure is usually simple and unimaginative.

  • Rhetorical analysis essays demonstrate little ability to identify or analyze rhetorical strategies. Sometimes these essays misread the prompt and replace it with easier tasks, such as paraphrasing the passage or listing some strategies the author uses.

  • Argument essays demonstrate little ability to understand the author's point (or multiple authors in the synthesis essay) and then construct an argument that analyzes it. Minimal or nonexistent evidence hurts the essay's effectiveness. Some students may substitute an easier task by presenting tangential or irrelevant ideas, evidence, or explanation.

Introductions

Why bother writing a good introduction?

1. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The opening paragraph of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions of your argument, your writing style, and the overall quality of your work. A vague, disorganized, error-filled, off-the-wall, or boring introduction will probably create a negative impression. On the other hand, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of you, your analytical skills, your writing, and your paper. This impression is especially important when the audience you are trying to reach (your instructor) will be grading your work.
2. Your introduction is an important road map for the rest of your paper. Your introduction conveys a lot of information to your readers. You can let them know what your topic is, why it is important, and how you plan to proceed with your discussion. It should contain a thesis that will assert your main argument. It will also, ideally, give the reader a sense of the kinds of information you will use to make that argument and the general organization of the paragraphs and pages that will follow. After reading your introduction, your readers should not have any major surprises in store when they read the main body of your paper.
3. Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. The introduction should capture your readers' interest, making them want to read the rest of your paper. Opening with a compelling story, a fascinating quotation, an interesting question, or a stirring example can get your readers to see why this topic matters and serve as an invitation for them to join you for an interesting intellectual conversation.
Strategies for writing an effective introduction
Start by thinking about the question. Your entire essay will be a response to the assigned question, and your introduction is the first step toward that end. Your direct answer to the assigned question will be your thesis, and your thesis will be included in your introduction, so it is a good idea to use the question as a jumping off point.You will probably refer back to this question extensively as you prepare your complete essay, and the question itself can also give you some clues about how to approach the introduction.
Try writing your introduction last. You may think that you have to write your introduction first, but that isn't necessarily true, and it isn't always the most effective way to craft a good introduction. You may find that you don't know what you are going to argue at the beginning of the writing process, and only through the experience of writing your paper do you discover your main argument. It is perfectly fine to start out thinking that you want to argue a particular point, but wind up arguing something slightly or even dramatically different by the time you've written most of the paper.
Don't be afraid to write a tentative introduction first and then change it later. Some people find that they need to write some kind of introduction in order to get the writing process started. That's fine, but if you are one of those people, be sure to return to your initial introduction later and rewrite if necessary.
Open with an attention grabber. Sometimes, especially if the topic of your paper is somewhat dry or technical, opening with something catchy can help. Consider these options:

1. an intriguing example (for example, the mistress who initially teaches Douglass but then ceases her instruction as she learns more about slavery)

2. a provocative quotation (Douglass writes that "education and slavery were incompatible with each other")

3. a puzzling scenario (Frederick Douglass says of slaves that "[N]othing has been left undone to cripple their intellects, darken their minds, debase their moral nature, obliterate all traces of their relationship to mankind; and yet how wonderfully they have sustained the mighty load of a most frightful bondage, under which they have been groaning for centuries!" Douglass clearly asserts that slave owners went to great lengths to destroy the mental capacities of slaves, yet his own life story proves that these efforts could be unsuccessful.)


4. a vivid and perhaps unexpected anecdote (for example, "Learning about slavery in the American history course at Frederick Douglass High School, students studied the work slaves did, the impact of slavery on their families, and the rules that governed their lives. We didn't discuss education, however, until one student, Mary, raised her hand and asked, 'But when did they go to school?' That modern high school students could not conceive of an American childhood devoid of formal education speaks volumes about the centrality of education to American youth today and also suggests the significance of the deprivation of education in past generations.")

5. a thought-provoking question (given all of the freedoms that were denied enslaved individuals in the American South, why does Frederick Douglass focus his attentions so squarely on education and literacy?)

Pay special attention to your first sentence. Start off on the right foot with your readers by making sure that the first sentence actually says something useful and that it does so in an interesting and error-free way.

Be straightforward and confident. Avoid statements like "In this paper, I will argue that Frederick Douglass valued education." While this sentence points toward your main argument, it isn't especially interesting. It might be more effective to say what you mean in a declarative sentence. It is much more convincing to tell us that "Frederick Douglass valued education" than to tell us that you are going to say that he did. Assert your main argument confidently. After all, you can't expect your reader to believe it if it doesn't sound like you believe it!

Other Introduction Options:

Suppose you are introducing a friend to your brother Joe. Would you say "Hey, Joe, this is Tina," and then walk away leaving them there together? Of course not! You would tell Joe a little about Tina's background: where she's from, where she went to school, where she works, and any other important information that will make Joe want to get to know Tina better, right? Well, introducing your paper to your reader is the exact same thing. You want the reader to want to know more about your paper. You want to get the reader interested in what you might have to say.



An introduction should lead naturally into the rest of your paper and be appropriate to its subject and tone. Some suggestions for openings follow, but use judgment in applying them. Although beginning with an anecdote can be effective for some papers, don't force one where it doesn't belong. A story about your indecisive father is not the best way to begin a paper analyzing the character of Hamlet.


  • Use a relevant quotation from the work you are discussing.

Example: “I am encompassed by a wall, high and hard and stone, with only my brainy nails to tear it down. And I cannot do it.” Kerewin Holmes, one of the main characters in Keri Hulme's novel The Bone People,” describes herself as both physically and emotionally alone in a tower she has built by the New Zealand Sea. Throughout the novel Hulme uses concrete images—the tower, muteness, physical beatings, the ocean—to suggest her characters' isolation from each other and the community around them.


  • Provide background or context for your thesis statement.

Example: Until the second half of this century, Americans spent the country's natural resources freely. They mined for minerals, diverted rivers, replaced wilderness with cities and towns. In the process they cut down forests that had been in place for thousands of years. Now, as the twenty-first century approaches, the reality that progress has its price is obvious to almost everyone. Only ten percent of old-growth forests in the United States remain intact, with demand for wood products expected to grow by fifty percent in the next fifty years. The country is in danger of losing its forests altogether unless citizens pursue solutions from everyday recycling to using wood alternatives to actively supporting government regulations.

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