Csu Essay Rubric

Assignment 1: Academic Summary and Analytical Response

Overview: Throughout your academic career you will be asked to summarize and respond to the materials you engage with. This assignment will ask you to choose a text and explain its purpose within the context of our course theme. To prepare for this assignment we will critically examine the rhetoric of “green” as displayed in a series of texts that address environmental issues. While we will consider the content of each of these texts, our primary concern for this assignment will be in how the message of the text is conveyed to its potential audiences. As we read and discuss these texts, we will practice various strategies for summarizing and responding.

Purpose: Your purpose for writing this essay will be to accurately represent the ideas of the text, to critically examine and analyze the text, and to thoughtfully respond to the text. Choose one of the following texts to examine critically, summarize accurately and objectively, and respond to with a thoughtful analysis.

Readings:

  •  “A Path of Hope for the Future,” by Daniel Quinn
  •  “How to Remake the World,” by Paul Hawken
  •  “Green, Greener, Greenest,” Daniel Stone and Anne Underwood

Audience: Your audience for this assignment is your instructor and your classmates. Although your readers are familiar with the text you’ve chosen, you should thoroughly represent its main ideas and key points, and provide accurate textual evidence throughout.

Requirements:  Your summary should accurately and objectively represent the authors’ purpose and main ideas in less than 300 words (about one page).  It should also adhere to the guidelines for academic summary covered in class.

To achieve your purpose with your audience, use the following strategies in your summary:

  • Introduce the text in the beginning of your summary so your readers know which text you are summarizing. Include the author (or authors’) names, the date of publication, and the publication title within the first few sentences;
  • Focus on the writer (or writers’) arguments by reporting the text’s thesis and supporting ideas. Show that you understand the “big picture”—the writer’s (or writers’) purpose and how he or she supports it;
  • Avoid giving examples and evidence that are too specific, to maintain the focus of the overall argument of the article. Feel free to generalize about types of evidence, kinds of examples, and rhetorical strategies used by the authors to support their argument;
  • Use author tags so that your reader understands that you are reporting authors’ ideas;
  • Use an objective tone and a mix of paraphrased and quoted source material.

Your response should be at least 300 words (about one page) and should answer the following question:  Was the author(s) successful at reaching his or her purpose with his or her intended audience? Your response should answer this question by including a thesis, reasons to support your thesis, and evidence to support your reasoning.  Critically Respond to the text’s effectiveness by analyzing one or more of the following rhetorical features.  Choose at least one of the following features on which to focus your response:

  • Purpose: Are the text’s aims clear?
  • Audience/Reader:  Will the intended audience accept the author’s claim?
  • Occasion/Genre/Context: Does the author effectively respond to the occasion?
  • Thesis/Main Ideas:  Do the main ideas support the thesis?
  • Organization & Evidence: Did the author support his or her contentions in a logical order?
  • Language & Style: Did the tone and style support the author’s purpose?

Overall Strategies:

  • Begin your essay with a summary of the article and then lead into your response with an effective transition from an objective academic summary to an analytical response that is well supported with textual examples. Although writers have successfully combined summary and response, it’s best to keep them separate for this assignment;
  • To improve credibility with your audience, avoid spelling and grammar mistakes;
  • Type your essay in a readable, 12-point font and double-space it. Submit your essay in a pocket folder along with supplemental materials specified in class.

Paper Length: 600-700 words (about 2 pages)

Due Date: TBD
Worth: 10% of your final course grade


Assignment 1 Grading Rubric  (INSTRUCTOR VERSION)

Excellent (5)

Satisfactory (4)

Unsatisfactory (3)

WT

Summary:  Purpose/Audience:  The summary convinces the reader that you have read the article closely and understand its argument because the summary accurately and objectively represents the author’s central claim and key supporting points.  The summary does not merely list the main ideas but shows how the reasons support the claim.  The summary is selective about details and examples, choosing only ones that help to illustrate a key point.

Summary:  Purpose/Audience:  The summary convinces your reader that you have read and understood the key points of the article.  It could, perhaps, improve in showing the connection between the main claim and how it is supported.  The summary may have some extra, unneeded details from the article.  There may be parts of the summary that are inaccurate, incomplete, or subjective.

Summary:  Purpose/Audience:  The summary doesn’t convince the reader that you have read the article closely because its argument is not clearly represented and/or there may be inaccuracies.  The summary may provide a list of points rather than any sense of a larger claim supported by reasons and evidence.  The summary loses focus through inclusion of minor or off-topic points.  Your opinions and judgments are included in the summary.

 

 

 

 

X5

Response:  Purpose/ Audience:
The thesis of the response is clearly stated and separate from the summary.  You support your thesis with clear reasons and textual evidence. Your argument is based on an examination of the text’s rhetorical effectiveness. The response convinces the reader that you have a strong sense of the author’s rhetorical choices and how effectively they were at reaching the intended audience—including what assumptions the authors make about their audiences and how each audience will respond to the implications of the article.

Response:  Purpose/ Audience:
The thesis of the response is stated, although it could be more clearly defined and/or supported.  Your separation between summary and response is difficult to identify.  Your determination of the text’s effectiveness could be more logically explained.  You evaluate the content of the article at the cost of a clear analysis of the rhetorical effectiveness.  The response convinces your reader that you have read and understood the rhetorical choices the authors have made in the article.  It could better connect the author’s rhetorical choices to the intended audience.  The response could touch on more assumptions and implications that the text makes. 

Response:  Purpose/ Audience:
There is no clear thesis guiding your response.  There is a lack of organization that contributes to making it  difficult to distinguish summary from response.  Your reader may question whether you have read the article closely because there is no discussion of the text’s audience or the author’s rhetorical choices.  The response includes irrelevant textual content and/or does not consider the rhetorical elements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

X5

Summary and Response (S&R):  Quotations and Paraphrases:
The essay contains both paraphrases and quotations.  The paraphrased and quoted passages are chosen appropriately and integrated into the summary and response.

S&R:  Quotations and Paraphrases:
The essay needs a better balance of paraphrasing and quoting.  It needs to choose and integrate quotations more effectively.  The summary may have quotations and paraphrases from the text, but either the summary or the response does not integrate textual material well.

S&R:  Quotations and Paraphrases:
The essay is mostly quotations strung together, or there are few textual examples from the article.  The material used may be poorly chosen and integrated, or it lacks appropriate balance between paraphrase and quotation.

X2

S&R:  Attribution:
The summary cites the author, title, date, and place of publication.  The whole essay (both summary and response) uses author tags so that it is clear when the writer is referring to his or her ideas or the ideas presented in the text.  Every sentence containing borrowed information is appropriately attributed.  There is variety in the kinds of author tags used.

S&R:  Attribution:
The summary may not present all of the necessary publication information.  Generally, your reader can tell that you are referring to the author’s words and/or ideas, but there may not be an appropriate author tag in every sentence containing borrowed information. 

S&R:  Attribution:
It is not clear whose ideas are being presented (either from the article or the student writer).  Because of the lack of author tags, the reader is often unable to identify borrowed material.

 

 

 

X1

S&R:  Conventions & Style:
You have followed all the guidelines on the assignment sheet.  You have made appropriate choices for an academic essay.  The essay is carefully proofread and edited for accuracy and clarity.

S&R:  Conventions & Style:
While you follow most of the guidelines on the assignment sheet, sometimes your writing is too informal for an academic essay.  The essay as a whole would benefit from careful proofreading and editing for clarity.

S&R:  Conventions & Style:
The rhetorical choices are inappropriate for this context and/or the document is unclear.  Attention to conventions is needed.

 

 

X1

 

Points:             ______/75
Percentage:      ______%


Assignment 1 Grading Rubric (STUDENT VERSION)

Excellent

Satisfactory

Unsatisfactory

Summary: 
Purpose/Audience:
 
The summary convinces the reader that you have read the article closely and understand its argument because the summary accurately and objectively represents the author’s central claim and key supporting points.  The summary does not merely list the main ideas but shows how the reasons support the claim.  The summary is selective about details and examples, choosing only ones that help to illustrate a key point.

Summary: 
Purpose/Audience: 
The summary convinces your reader that you have read and understood the key points of the article.  It could, perhaps, improve in showing the connection between the main claim and how it is supported.  The summary may have some extra, unneeded details from the article.  There may be parts of the summary that are inaccurate, incomplete, or subjective.

Summary:
Purpose/Audience:
 
The summary doesn’t convince the reader that you have read the article closely because its argument is not clearly represented and/or there may be inaccuracies.  The summary may provide a list of points rather than any sense of a larger claim supported by reasons and evidence.  The summary loses focus through inclusion of minor or off-topic points.  Your opinions and judgments are included in the summary.

Response:
Purpose/ Audience:

The thesis of the response is clearly stated and separate from the summary.  You support your thesis with clear reasons and textual evidence. Your argument is based on the examination of the text’s rhetorical effectiveness. The response convinces the reader that you have a strong sense of the author’s rhetorical choices and how effectively they were at reaching the intended audience—including what assumptions the author makes about his or her audiences and how each audience will respond to the implications of the article.

Response: 
Purpose/ Audience:

The thesis of the response is stated, although it could be more clearly defined and/or supported.  Your separation between summary and response is difficult to identify.  Your determination of the text’s effectiveness could be more logically explained.  You evaluate the content of the article at the cost of a clear analysis of the rhetorical effectiveness.  The response convinces your reader that you have read and understood the rhetorical choices the authors have made in the article.  It could better connect the author’s rhetorical choices to the intended audience.  The response could touch on more assumptions and implications that the text makes. 

Response:
Purpose/ Audience:

There is no clear thesis guiding your response.  There is a lack of organization that contributes to making it difficult to distinguish between summary and response.  Your reader may question whether you have read the article closely because there is no discussion of the text’s audience or the author’s rhetorical choices. The response includes irrelevant textual content and/or does not consider the rhetorical elements.

 

Summary and Response (S&R): Quotations and Paraphrases:
The essay contains both paraphrases and quotations.  The paraphrased and quoted passages are chosen appropriately and integrated into the summary and response.

S&R:  Quotations and Paraphrases:
The essay needs a better balance of paraphrasing and quoting.  It needs to choose and integrate quotations more effectively.  The summary may have quotations and paraphrases from the text, but the response does not integrate textual material well.

S&R: Quotations and Paraphrases:
The essay is mostly quotations strung together, or there are few textual examples from the article.  The material used may be poorly chosen and integrated, or it lacks appropriate balance between paraphrase and quotation.

S&R:  Attribution:
The summary cites the author, title, date, and place of publication.  The whole essay (both summary and response) uses author tags so that it is clear when the writer is referring to his/her ideas or the ideas presented in the text.  Every sentence containing borrowed information is appropriately attributed.  There is variety in the kinds of author tags used.

S&R:  Attribution:
The summary may not present all of the necessary publication information.  Generally, your reader can tell that you are referring to the author’s words and/or ideas, but there may not be an appropriate author tag in every sentence containing borrowed information. 

S&R:  Attribution:
It is not clear whose ideas are being presented (either from the article or the student writer).  Because of the lack of author tags, the reader is often unable to identify borrowed material.

S&R: Conventions & Style:
You have followed all the guidelines on the assignment sheet.  You have made appropriate choices for an academic essay.  The essay is carefully proofread and edited for accuracy and clarity.

S&R: Conventions & Style:
While you followed most of the guidelines on the assignment sheet, sometimes your writing is too informal for an academic essay.  The essay as a whole would benefit from careful proofreading and editing for clarity.

S&R:  Conventions & Style:
The rhetorical choices are inappropriate for this context and/or the document is unclear.  Attention to conventions is needed.


The following rubrics are intended as examples only; you will always find room for improvement, therefore there is no such thing as a perfect example or exemplar. Where possible, an overview of the subject and its learning outcomes has been included, as well as the task description and criteria and standards, so you can see how all the elements combine to make a well-rounded assessment, as described in the previous sections of this site.

It is not intended that you cut and paste these examples as you need to develop your own criteria and standards, particular to your subject learning outcomes and assessment tasks; however these examples may give you some ideas to get started.

Rubrics by assessment type

 

Non-rubric example

 

Examples

Generic skills rubrics

The VALUE rubrics were developed by teams of faculty experts in the United States to articulate fundamental criteria and standards for 16 Essential Learning Outcomes. For more information see https://www.aacu.org/value.

Download all VALUE rubrics, including rubrics for:

  • Civic engagement
  • Creative thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Ethical reasoning
  • Global learning
  • Information literacy
  • Inquiry and analysis
  • Integrative learning
  • Intercultural knowledge and competence
  • Foundations and skills for lifelong learning
  • Oral communication
  • Problem solving
  • Quantitative literacy
  • Reading
  • Teamwork
  • Written communication

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