Will readers or viewers accept my criteria, or will I have to defend them, too? What criteria might others offer?

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ESSAY #2: EVALUATION ARGUMENT
INSTRUCTIONS
*The instructions for this assignment are adapted from Lunsford et al. 240-245.
BACKGROUND:
Issues of evaluation crop up everywhere–in the judgments you make about public figures or policies; in the choices you make about instructors and courses; in the recommendations you offer about books, films, or television programs; in the preference you exercise in choosing products, activities, or charities. Evaluations typically use terms or images that indicate value or rank–good/bad, effective/ineffective, best/worst, competent/incompetent, successful/unsuccessful. When you can choose a topic for an evaluation, consider writing about something on which other regularly ask your opinion or advice.
YOUR TASK:
Compose an argument of evaluation in your favorite genre: make and defend a claim about the quality of some object, item, work, person, or place within your area of interest or special knowledge. Let your argument demonstrate an interest you hold, as well as an expertise you gain through research for this writing project. Integrate at least two visuals into your paper. These visuals should support and develop your claims and must be formatted using the following guidelines, as part of your grade will rely on proper formatting of your visuals:
“MLA Format – Visual Aids – MLA Style” from Rutgers University (Links to an external site.)
“Using Figures in MLA Format” from Sierra College (Links to an external site.)
You should also integrate at least three outside sources to support your and develop evaluative claim. These sources do not include your visuals–they are separate.
STEPS TO COMPLETE THIS PROJECT:
1. Research Your Topic
You can research issues of evaluation by using the following sources:
journals, reviews, and magazines (for current political and social issues)
books (for assessing judgments about history, policy, etc.)
biographies (for assessing people)
research reports and scientific studies
books, magazines, and websites for consumers
periodicals and websites that cover entertainment and sports
blogs and social media sites that explore current topics
2. Formulate a Claim
After exploring your subject, try to draw up a full and specific claim that lets readers know where you stand and on what criteria you’ll base your judgments. Come up with a thesis that’s challenging enough to attract readers’ attention. In developing a thesis, you might begin with questions like these:
What exactly is my opinion? Where do I stand?
Can I make my judgment more clear-cut?
Do I need to narrow or qualify my claim?
By what standards will I make my judgment?
Will readers or viewers accept my criteria, or will I have to defend them, too? What criteria might others offer?
What evidence or major reasons can I offer in support of my evaluation?
3. Articulate a Thesis
For a conventional evaluation, such as a book or restaurant review, your thesis should be a complete statement. In one sentence, make a claim of evaluation and state the reasons that support it. Be sure your claim is specific. Anticipate the questions the readers might have: Who? What? Where? Under what conditions? With what exceptions? In all cases? Don’t expect readers to guess where you stand.
For a more exploratory argument, you might begin (and even end) with questions about the process of evaluation itself. What are the qualities we seek–or ought to–in our political leaders? What does it say about our cultural values when we find so many viewers enthralled by so-called reality shows on television? What might be the criteria for collegiate athletic programs consistent with the values of higher education? Projects that explore topics like these might not begin with straightforward theses or have the intention to persuade readers.
Examples of Evaluative Claims (Thesis Statements)
Though they may never receive Oscars for their work, Tom Cruise and Angela Bassett deserve credit as actors who have succeeded in a wider range or film roles than most of their contemporaries.
The much-vaunted population shift back to urban areas in the United States has really been mostly among rich, educated, and childless people who can afford the high costs of living there.
The most remarkable aspect of Elon Musk as an entrepreneur is the way he blatantly uses public money to build his companies–from Tesla to SpaceX.
Jimmy Carter has been praised for his work as a former president of the United States, but history may show that even his much-derided term in office laid the groundwork for the foreign policy and economic successes now attributed to later administrations.
Young adults today are shying away from diving into the housing market because they no longer believe that homeownership is a key element in economic success.
4. Organize Your Argument
Your evaluation should include each of the following elements:
a clear evaluative claim that makes a judgment about a person, idea, or subject
the criterion or criteria by which you’ll measure your subject
an explanation or justification of the criteria (if necessary)
evidence that the particular subject meets or falls short of the stated criteria
consideration of alternative views and counterarguments
All these elements are present in strong arguments of evaluation, but they don’t follow a specific order. In addition, you’ll need an opening/introductory paragraph to explain what you’re evaluating and why. Tell readers why they should care about this subject and take this claim seriously.
5. Revise and Edit
Consider carefully the organization and coherence of your piece. Develop clear paragraphs that support your thesis organized around a definite topic.
6. Format Properly
Your final draft should be 3-4 pages (double-spaced, TNR font, 1” margins). This length requirement does not include your images, so plan accordingly. When citing your outside source(s), follow MLA format and style guide. (Links to an external site.)Don’t forget to include your visual aid and format it properly (see the resources listed above).

Grading Criteria: Your essay should
(1) make an evaluative claim (a thesis) about a person, idea, or subject;
(2) identify the criterion or criteria by which you’ll measure your subject and offer an explanation or justification of the criteria (if necessary);
(3) provide sufficient evidence and analysis that the particular subject meets or falls short of the stated criteria;
(4) offer consideration of alternative views and counterarguments; and
(5) integrate at least two visual aids AND at least three additional outside sources using correct MLA format to support your evaluation.
For submitting help, consult the Canvas student guide on submitting assignments. (Links to an external site.)
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Articulate and support an original evaluation argument
Identify and apply criteria to shape evaluative claim
Consider and address counterarguments
Employ sufficient textual evidence and analysis to develop argument

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Lunsford, Andrea A, and John J. Ruszkiewicz. Everything’s an Argument.
Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004. Print.
Penn State English Department. ENG 15: Rhetoric and Composition
Syllabus. 2017. English Department, Penn State, State College, PA. Microsoft Word File.
Rubric
Spring ’20 Essay 2: Evaluation Argument
Spring ’20 Essay 2: Evaluation Argument
Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeQuality of Claim
The strength and clarity of the central claim/thesis, which should be an evaluative statement
50 pts
Meets
Essay offers a clear, evaluative claim/ thesis about a person, idea, or subject or topic and supports claim through sufficient supporting evidence
40 pts
Approaches
Evaluative claim/thesis about a person, idea, subject, etc. is mostly clear and supported by relevant evidence, though more development may be needed
30 pts
Falls Below
Evaluative claim/thesis is unclear; evidence may need to be developed to support claim
10 pts
Falls Far Below
An attempt at answering prompt is evident, however, thesis is unidentifiable and evidence does not support claims. Analysis is missing and/or essay is primarily composed of summary.
50 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOrganization
The internal structure–the way the parts fit together: strong lead; logical, orderly sequencing; controlled pace; effective transitions; satisfying conclusion
30 pts
Meets
Effective sequencing: easy-to-follow structure fits topic, moves reader through text; inviting intro and satisfying conclusion; smooth, effective transitions; meaning enhanced by organization—details fit; sound, creative paragraphing; creative pacing.
24 pts
Approaches
Attempts at sequencing but order may be unclear at times; undeveloped intro and/or conclusion; transitions sometimes work; meaning sometimes unclear: detail placement not always effective, consistent paragraphing, pacing generally under control.
18 pts
Falls Below
Thesis is unidentifiable and evidence does not support claims. Analysis is missing and/or essay is primarily composed of summary.
8 pts
Falls Far Below
No sequencing: hard to follow, lacks coherence, seems haphazard, disjointed; no intro and/or conclusion; no transition; meaning distorted/obscured/ confusing by lack of org. cues: effective placement of details, paragraphing, awkward pacing.
30 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeSentence Fluency
The way words and phrases connect within the text: smooth and easy flow with variation in sentence length and pattern
25 pts
Meets
Sentences flow easily and are constructed with strong and varied patterns, length, and beginnings; controlled structures enhance coherence and meaning, sentences relate and build upon one another; fragments work well.
20 pts
Approaches
Sentences mostly flow; strong control over simple structures; variable control over complex sentences; some repeated patterns of structure, length, and beginnings may detract; connections between sentences may be less than fluent; fragments usually effective.
15 pts
Falls Below
Portions of text are difficult to follow; sentences may be choppy or awkward; awkward structures impede clarity and fluency while reading, sentences occasionally connect.
8 pts
Falls Far Below
Writing difficult to follow or read aloud; choppy, rambling, incomplete or awkward sentences; structure frequently obscures meaning; monotonous word/sentence patterns; repetitive beginnings; no connections between sentences.
25 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeLanguage/Style
Engaging and purposeful language that is appropriate for the audience
25 pts
Meets
Appropriate voice; strong sense of audience: appropriate closeness and tone; purpose shows clarity and understanding with voice; vocab. striking, varied, natural; words meaningfully support purpose; broad range of words carefully chosen and thoughtfully placed; words evoke clear, purposeful images.
20 pts
Approaches
Voice inappropriate at times; little sense of audience—reader connection and tone fades in and out; purpose inconsistent with voice; vocabulary quite ordinary, lacking interest, punch, precision, variety; words mostly accurate with purpose, at times inappropriate; attempts at colorful language and images may seem forced, awkward.
15 pts
Falls Below
Inappropriate voice—overly informal/formal; lack of audience awareness; hints at purpose with voice; limited vocabulary; words convey inaccurate purpose; monotonous repetition distracts from message; images are fuzzy or absent.
8 pts
Falls Far Below
Writing difficult to follow or read aloud; choppy, rambling, incomplete or awkward sentences; structure frequently obscures meaning; monotonous word/sentence patterns; repetitive beginnings; no connections between sentences.
25 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeConventions
The mechanical correctness of the writing: editing, mechanics, and presentation
20 pts
Meets
Strong control of conventions; effective use of punctuation that guides reader through text; correct; grammar and usage contributes to clarity and style; correct spelling even on more difficult words; correct capitalization; little need for editing.
16 pts
Approaches
Limited control using conventions; ending punctuation usually correct; internal punctuation contains errors; errors in grammar and usage do not block meaning; distracting spelling errors, even on common words; some capitalization errors; need for editing.
12 pts
Falls Below
Little control over basics; many end-of-sentence and internal punctuation errors; errors in grammar and usage interfere readability, meaning; spelling errors frequently distract; capitalization inconsistent and/or incorrect; substantial need for editing.
5 pts
Falls Far Below
Limited skill using conventions; basic punctuation missing or incorrect; many grammar & usage errors; spelling errors impede readability; capitalization appears random; extensive editing required.
20 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeCitation & Format
Extent to which the essay conforms to MLA format
25 pts
Meets
Conforms to MLA format: parenthetical (internal) citations and Works Cited page are correct or have no more than two minor errors; font is TNR, size 12; margins are 1”; heading is correct.
20 pts
Approaches
Demonstrates adherence to MLA for the most part: parenthetical citations are correct for the most part and have no more than three minor errors. Works Cited page is complete, but may not be correctly alphabetized. Font type and/or size may be slightly incorrect; margins and header have only minor errors.
10 pts
Falls Below
Some major errors in MLA format, including (but not limited to): incorrect internal and/or Works Cited citations; missing citation information; inconsistent formatting; incorrect font, margin size, etc.
5 pts
Falls Far Below
Essay does not conform to MLA format. Some attempt to use MLA may be evident, but errors are glaring.
25 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeVisuals
Quality and formatting of visuals
25 pts
Meets
Effective visuals are integrated into organization/paragraph progression in an effective, logical way; visuals are captioned & formatted correctly according to MLA
20 pts
Approaches
Location of visuals in paper could be more effective/logical; attempt to caption/format visuals in MLA is evident
15 pts
Falls Below
Location of visuals does not make sense in conjunction with essay’s argument and/or caption of visuals is absent
0 pts
Falls Far Below
Essay is missing visuals.
25 pts
Total Points: 200

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