Writing for Free Response Questions What do they want from me!?!
How much do I need to write to get a good score? • Wrong question! Don’t ask that question anymore! • You will write as much as you need to write to defend your thesis • provide evidence and support.
Getting Started –even though we are preparing for the National Exam standards…good writing is good writing. Learning good essay skills will benefit you in every essay assignment • You will have 6 questions grouped in two sections from those questions you must select 2 to answer (one from each group) • Start with a defendable thesis • Discuss a much relevant info as you can remember. • Chose the questions you know the most about, NOT the ones that look easiest.
Approaching the questions • Take the time to read the question and analyze it • Do a pre-write • Assess your information and devise a thesis • Write a quick outline • Write the essay • Follow your outline • Stick to one important idea per paragraph • Provide concrete examples to support the thesis • Recommended – two examples per issue • Stay focused on question – avoid tangents • Timed essays – spend time wisely, don’t waste time on info that isn’t directly relevant.
The structure of the essay • Your introductory paragraph is more than just your thesis. • It should set the historical scene • Time • Place • Historical situation • Thesis – do NOT simply restate the question; you must also answer the question. • The thesis tells the reader what the main points of the essay are. • Organization • Logical • Easy to understand • Always focus on the thesis • Each paragraph should have a topic sentence • Close with a concluding paragraph
What is the Rubric? Free-response essays are scored “holistically,” Stronger Essays (9 – 8 – 7 – 6) • Offers a clear, well developed thesis in response to all parts of the question • Thesis is supported with relevant and substantial evidence • Essay is well-balanced in its treatment of the required tasks • May contain MINOR errors of fact or interpretation Mixed Essays (5 – 4) • Thesis attempted but may be incomplete, unfocused or vague • At least some specific evidence provided in support of the thesis • Essay may be unbalanced or partially off-base in its treatment of required tasks • May contain some major & minor errors of fact or interpretation Weaker essays (3 - 2 - 1 - 0) • Thesis is confused, misconstrues the question, or is absent • Little if any specific factual support, or if support is given, it is not explained • Essay may ignore one of more parts of the prompt or is primarily off task • Contains major and minor errors of fact and interpretation
Let’s practice! Question: Analyze the ways in which European monarchs used both the arts and the sciences to enhance state power in the period circa 1500-1800. Remember: • Take the time to read the question and analyze it • Do a pre-write
Practice Read the sample 2E and evaluate the essay using the criteria the used by the national exam evaluators.
Rationale for score • Although the essay is organized (distinct paragraphs on the arts and the sciences), the analysis is generic and repetitive. • Relevant supporting evidence is absent. It contains a viable thesis but the thesis is not adequately defended • The essay fails to provide either substantive analysis of the uses of the arts and the sciences by European monarchs to enhance their powers or any relevant supporting evidence/
Rationale for score • The thesis addressed only part of the question effectively (art served to “glorify monarchs”). • The essay occasionally fails to establish effective linkage between information provided and the prompts of the question (the church’s sponsorship of paintings as an enhancement of state power) • Primarily descriptive with limited analysis • The essay offers evidence (patronage of paintings, development of Versailles, benefits of exploration) of the ways in which state power was enhanced but it provides minimal analysis and linkage between the use of the arts and sciences and the enhancement of state power • The supporting evidence is not always well established.
Rationale for score • The thesis explicitly defines the use of the arts and the sciences by European monarchs to enhance state power (glorification of themselves and the nation, utilization of new technologies to advance the nation) • Links the use of the arts and the sciences to the enhancement of royal power throughout the essay and provides considerable supporting evidence. • Some of the analysis lacks sophistication • Reference to Louis Pasteur is inappropriate for the time period • Predominantly analytical and provides effective support for its assertions