Respond Question Series
Sample Evaluation Essays
Choose one of the sample essays assigned from Kanning, and complete the question series below, offering full responses to these questions. (You can copy and paste these questions into your word processor and type your responses and print them out, or you can hand-write your responses on separate paper.)
1. Type or write the writer's name and the title of the sample essay you've chosen to use for this assignment. Then, list the criteria the writer states he or she will be using for the evaluation.
(Further explanation: The writer should identify the criteria in the introduction to his or her essay.)
2. Locate the writer's thesis claim and paraphrase the claim. Then, evaluate the strength of the thesis claim: Does the thesis state that the essay being evaluated meets all the criteria, some of the criteria, or none of the criteria for a good argumentative essay? Does the thesis clearly offer 2-3 reasons in support of the claim?
(Further explanation: The writer's thesis should be in the introduction, though there's a chance that it appears - incorrectly - at the end of the essay instead. The thesis should take a position on whether the essay being evaluated meets the criteria for good argumentative writing and offer at least 2-3 reasons why.)
3. Does the organization of the essay follow the order of the thesis? Explain how the writer does or does not offer such an organization, offering at least 2 examples.
(Further explanation: If there are three reasons listed in the thesis, the body paragraphs of the essay should address each of these reasons in turn. Signal phrases and transitions between body paragraphs, as well as clear topic sentences at the start of each paragraph, also help to organize the essay's argument.)
4. Does the writer use specific examples from the essay to support his or her evaluation? Indicate 1-2 places in the essay where examples are used effectively or are missing.
(Further explanation: The writer needs to cite examples as evidence in support of the stated claims. Direct quotes or references to particular aspects of the essay are best.)
5. Does the conclusion of the essay do a good job of reminding you what the writer's overall opinion on the essay was? Offer an example of what works well, or indicate what needs to be added or improved.
6. Does the writer enter the debate or does he or she stick to analyzing the argument? Offer an example to support your response.
(Further explanation: As the phrasing of the question suggests, the writer should not enter the debate or pass judgement on the topic - that is, the author should not offer his or her own opinion on mandatory motorcycle helmet law or whether Time Warner is "the leading cultural polluter"; instead, he or she should instead evaluate how well the author argues for his or her position.)
7. If we were to rank this sample essay alongside the essays we evaluated for class last Tuesday ("Bloody Ice," etc.), where would it rank on that scale of 1 to 5?
(Further explanation: Remember to keep in mind our list of criteria for good argumentative writing and the rankings we decided upon in class as you write your response to this question.)
Return to ENGL 200 (Spring 2002)