For our Georgia Milestone End of Course Assessment you will have to either write an informational or an argumentative essays over a series of selected passages that you are provided. Many of you have written argumentative essays before in 9th grade, and even in middle school, but a little bit of review can always help! 🙂
According to Owl Purdue:
“The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.
Please note: Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the SAT or ACT.
Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.
The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important (exigence) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis (warrant).
However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph essay
A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of (a) an introductory paragraph (b) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and (c) a conclusion.”
Your essay will be scored on a 7 point rubric, with four of those points focusing on organization, focus and style and the remaining 3 focusing on mechanics and grammar. I will be grading you with the same rubric the GA DOE will use on the EOC assessment – please familiarize yourself with the rubric below:
Before we being writing our own essay, lets look at some examples.
Click the document below to access a sample informational essay. You will find the prompt for the essay on page 76, and the student sample essay with feedback and notations on pages 107-114.
For this essay you will be reading two articles about the Supreme Court, and taking a position based on the information you gather in these articles.
Now that you have read the article, think about ideas, facts, definitions, details, and other information and examples you want to use. A helpful worksheet on breaking down the claims in the first source is available here, should you need it.
Think about how you will introduce your topic and what the main topic will be for each paragraph. Develop your ideas clearly and use your own words, except when quoting directly from the source texts. Be sure to identify the sources by title or number when using details or facts directly from the
Write an argumentative essay in your own words taking a position on the question: “Should Supreme Court Justices be appointed to lifetime positions?”
Be sure to:
- Use information from the two texts so that your essay includes important details.
- Introduce you claim clearly, provide a focus, and organize information in a way that makes
- Develop your claim with facts, definitions, details, quotations, or other information and
examples related to the topic.
- Address and engage with your opponent’s claim in an unbiased manner, citing evidence to refute their position.
- Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion.
- Clarify the relationship among ideas and concepts.
- Use clear language and vocabulary.
- Provide a conclusion that follows the position presented.
- Check your work for correct grammar, usage, capitalization, spelling, and punctuation.