In Essay #4, you will enter in conversation with other writers by writing a thesis-driven essay that responds to 3 readings selected by your instructor. Your essay should include all of the following:

  • A precise thesis, or main claim
  • Supporting details or evidence for your claim
  • A clearly defined audience
  • An outline of the “conversation” begin by the 3 assigned articles
  • Direct reference (through quotation, summary, or paraphrase) to the 3 assigned articles

Assigned Readings Chapter 17:

Carol Dweck From Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Margaret Talbot From Brain Grain: The Underground World of “Neuroenhancing” Drugs

Mary Aiken “Designed to Addict”

Guidelines for Essay #4

Length/Due Date: approximately 800-1,000 words, due Sunday, April 21st midnight Central Standard Time (CST).

Style/Format: This, as all essays in EN106, should be formatted in a standard scholarly format. (Most students follow MLA or APA guidelines, which are outlined in Easy Writer.) No matter what format you follow, be sure to do the following:

  • Use 12 point, Times New Roman font, double-spaced.
  • Use 1-inch margins top, bottom, and sides.
  • Although no cover page is needed, you should include your name, my name, the course number/title, and date at the upper left-hand corner of the manuscript.

Research & Documentation: This essay must include formal references to the assigned articles. Use your skills of quotation, paraphrase, and summary to incorporate these writers’ perspectives, and be sure to provide in-text citations using a standard scholarly style, such as MLA or APA. And, of course, you must also provide appropriate documentation for any other sources you cite.

File format: Please submit your essay as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file. These formats are available in most word processors, including Google Docs and Open Office, and will ensure that your instructor is able to comment on your work.

Works Cited/References: Your essay should include an appropriate bibliography, with an entry for each individual source you reference in the body of the essay.

Titles: Include a descriptive title at the beginning of your essay that tips your readers off to your thesis. Do not format your title with quotation marks, boldface, underlining or italics.

Cover pages: Please do not format your essay to include a cover page.

Use of essays for future courses: Please understand that your essay may be used— anonymously—as a sample for future EN106 students and instructors unless you expressly request that it not be used. Your work, of course, will only be used for educational purposes.

Why Is This Assignment Important?

This assignment asks you to put together all of the habits of mind and academic writing skills you have practiced so far this term. You will need to read the articles critically, looking for “openings” or gaps in the conversation. You will need to seek out complexity among the assigned articles, and use revision and reflection to enter successfully into the conversation. Along the way, you will practice your rhetorical analysis skills, your ability to develop a working thesis, and thesis development techniques.

You have a great deal of choice in this assignment. You might start by reflecting: after reading the 3 assigned articles, what do you think? What can you add to the conversation?

Remember that your essay must not simply be a summary of the three articles. Instead, you must develop and argue for a specific thesis, addressed at a particular audience. Consider who you want to write to about the issue: other students? Community members? Your friends? Your work colleagues? University instructors? The authors of the articles themselves?

The discussion this unit will help you develop a thesis — so make sure to participate!

Rubric

EN 106 Online Rubric (Essay #4)

EN 106 Online Rubric (Essay #4)

CriteriaRatingsPts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeFocusA successful essay will stay focused on the controlling idea, message, or thesis it is trying to convey. Without focus, an essay seems disjointed, uncentered, and lacking clarity. Here I will assess how closely your essay focuses on a complex idea or thesis throughout. Do you wander from topic to topic? Is it clear what you are arguing? Do you attend to your central thesis/message throughout the essay?

30.0 pts

Exceeds Standard

The essay is clearly focused around a creative and insightful central thesis/message. The writer lays out clear reasons/points that contribute to the overall central thesis/message. Everything in the essay contributes to the development of the message.

26.0 pts

Above Standard

Above Standard: The essay is clearly focused around a creative and insightful central thesis/message. There are several interesting points that support it. One place may wander a bit or need more development, but otherwise the focus is clear and interesting.

23.0 pts

At Standard

At Standard: The essay is focused around a central thesis/message. Parts of the essay might stray from this focus, but the overall message is there. The focus of the essay might be simplistic or obvious—it might be hard for the reader to feel engaged.

20.0 pts

Below Standard

Below Standard: There is no clear central thesis/message, or the focus is split across a variety of topics in a way that works against a specific focus. The overall point might be unclear, confusing, or the writer might indicate a focus, but little in the essay supports this focus.

0.0 pts

No evidence / no assignment submitted

30.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDevelopmentEvidence is key to persuading a reader of your thesis. A successful essay will present enough evidence related to the topic or thesis to support the claims the writer is making. An essay without enough evidence to support claims will seem ungrounded and unconvincing. Do you have evidence and support for each of your claims? Is the evidence related to the claims that are made? Are the details specific or abstract? Is the evidence from relevant and reliable sources? A second—and very critical—evaluative criteria for academic writing is the complexity of the content. This means that the writer moves beyond summary, and beyond a surface analysis of the material to offer a new perspective on the subject. A writer might raise significant questions about a topic or reading, or make connections between and among varied texts. A less complex essay will stay on the surface by remaining summary or by pointing out only the obvious.

30.0 pts

Exceeds Standard

There is a variety of support (anecdotes, quotes, description, examples, etc.). The support is vivid, concrete, and connects clearly to the message of the essay. The essay raises well-thought out questions, or pursues a line of reasoning in an unexpected or unusual direction. The language and examples are clear and interesting. There are connections to other texts or examples that make the writer’s argument more vivid and clear.

26.0 pts

Above Standard

There is a variety of vivid support that illustrates and explains the points the writer makes. The evidence could be expanded in one or two places. The essay raises interesting and creative questions about a text or topic, and/or makes interesting connections with material. There are places where an idea is undeveloped or remains obvious, but the writer is clearly working toward moving beyond the obvious.

23.0 pts

At Standard

There are supporting details for many of the claims, but some parts of the essay may be overly general and vague. Some evidence might be unnecessary or distracting (doesn’t support thesis). The essay moves slightly beyond summary or pointing out the obvious, but the essay might still have a vague or generic voice. The essay may lack figurative language or details that would enhance the writer’s message.

20.0 pts

Below Standard

Details that would support the claims the writer is making are vague or missing. In key places, the writer has not effectively shown what he/she means. Almost all points remain abstract or general. The essay only touches upon the surface of a reading or topic, perhaps remaining only a summary, or only pointing out the immediately obvious about a topic. The wording is vague, and there is little evidence that the writer invested significant time or thought into the essay.

0.0 pts

No evidence / no assignment submitted

30.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOrganizationA successful essay will have a clear beginning, middle, and end, with effective and creative transitions from idea to idea and from paragraph to paragraph. An essay without strong coherence will seem to wander from point to point, and each section will not seem obviously connected to the next. How is each point related to the next? Are the connections clear from paragraph to paragraph? Does the essay clearly develop an idea from beginning to end, persuasively ordering the main points?

25.0 pts

Exceeds Standard

The introduction and conclusion creatively tie the message together. Each paragraph is focused and effectively developed around an individual point. The overall paragraph organization is effective and creative. Transitions are effective and establish complex relationships between points.

22.0 pts

Above Standard

There is an engaging and well- organized introduction, body, and conclusion. Individual paragraphs are well-organized and developed. Essay may need paragraph breaks or more effective transitions.

19.0 pts

At Standard

There is a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Several places in the essay need more effective transitions and/or paragraph breaks. Some paragraphs may need to be moved. Individual paragraph organization may be confusing in one or two places.

16.0 pts

Below Standard

No sense of introduction, body, and conclusion. There might be a clear middle, beginning and end with the content, but paragraph breaks don’t make sense or are missing. Overall organization of points might be confusing or jumpy.

0.0 pts

No evidence / no assignment submitted

25.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeMechanics“Mechanics” is used broadly here to encompass everything from word choice, sentence variety, and grammatical correctness to the accurate citation of sources using standard academic documentation guidelines, such as those compiled by the Modern Language Association (MLA) or the American Psychological Association (APA). A successful essay will use complex and effective sentences with sophisticated word choice, and will have very few, if any, significant grammatical or punctuation problems. An essay with a low level of linguistic maturity might repeat simple sentence structures and/or pose challenges to the reader due to grammatical and mechanical problems. Does the essay use only one kind of sentence? Has the essay been proofread to make sure all typos, grammatical and mechanical errors are eliminated? Are the ideas conveyed in sophisticated and interesting language? Has the writer acknowledged—with both in-text and end-text citations—all words and ideas gained from research?

15.0 pts

Exceeds Standard

The sentences are complex and effective, and the word choice is sophisticated. The writer uses sentence structure and word choice in creative ways to establish tone and meaning. There may be one or two very minor errors, but no patterns of error. All words and ideas from sources external to the writer are accurately documented via standard academic documentation guidelines (i.e., MLA or APA.

13.0 pts

Above Standard

The essay is clear with complex sentence structures. There may be a minor grammar problem such as misplaced apostrophes or missing commas in certain places, but the rest demonstrates a mastery of conventional grammar. Word choice might be off in one or two places. Documentation is essentially complete and accurate.

11.0 pts

At Standard

The essay is generally clear, but sentence structure may be simplistic and/or slightly repetitive. There are several grammar error patterns but nothing that seriously interferes with reading, perhaps a few comma splices and fragments. Word choice might be confusing in one or two places. Documentation is missing in some areas or incorrectly applied.

9.0 pts

Below Standard

There are several grammar patterns that seriously inhibit understanding, perhaps a pattern of fragments or run-ons throughout. Wording and sentence structure are confused to the point where they interfere with the reader’s understanding. Documentation is incorrect or absent.

0.0 pts

No evidence / no assignment submitted

15.0 pts

Total Points: 100.0

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