Checklist – Create a new draft of your AP essay in a Word document. Review the categories below. Using the appropriate colors, highlight each place in your essay that corresponds to the color-coded categories.
Identify and state the problem. Define and quantify the problem. Identify failure. Whose failure is it?
Why has the problem not been solved?
What specific proposal or recommendation, legislation or other policy response do you believe might best address the failure? Why? Underline your thesis.
Using at least three argument criteria (causation, coverage, cost/benefit, feasibility, comparison), explain HOW your answer would be best, or better than other previous attempts, opposition or alternative plans.
Which experts, advocates, organizations, commentators, public intellectuals, think tanks or other persons or entities support your position?
If you are missing a color, you have probably neglected a crucial aspect of the AP assignment. Use this to fill in the gaps and guide your revision.
Next: Reread the AP prompt and rubric, then read your AP draft, underlining or bolding passages where you are having difficulties in the editing process.
STEP ONE: Ask yourself 3 productive questions about how you could improve a particular feature of your Composition 2 draft, such as thesis, argumentation, multi-modal evidence, arrangement of evidence, source use & integration, etc (see the left column of the grading rubric). If you are interested in revising aspects of your draft that you do not see in the rubric, please feel free to address those as well!
STEP TWO: Take notes on the prompt and the grading rubric in order to refine your questions. Read the relevant portions of the prompt and rubric aloud, rewriting portions of them in your own words, so you can internalize the standards of evaluation, making them part of your composition process.
STEP THREE: Write new questions informed by the precision of the prompt and grading rubric. Your new questions should be formulated to improve the quality of your writing in relation to the goals articulated in the prompt and rubric, as well as your own goals for your writing. In some cases, one may question may generate two questions in the question revision stage (see examples below).
STEP FOUR: Write responses to your questions, explaining how you plan to improve your writing in a precise part of your draft.
STEP FIVE: Finally, revise the appropriate feature of your draft, cutting and pasting an excerpt from your revision. Save this document so that you can use it as part of your final ePortfolio.
Here are examples of the first three steps:
EXAMPLE OF STEP ONE:
How can I make my thesis more argumentative?
How can I weave research into my writing?
What can I do to make my multi-modal sources more interesting?
EXAMPLE OF STEP TWO:
Relevant portions of the grading rubric:
“The composition clearly presents and analyzes a significant political/social/cultural problem and establishes the problem’s urgency, its scope, and its severity. Carefully selected relevant historical aspects of the problem are woven into the analysis.”
“The composition uses sources appropriately in distinct and different capacities: primary/secondary, exhibit/argument/background. The author integrates the sources seamlessly into the composition.”
“The narrative is deliberately paced, and demonstrates a very high degree of skill and control when moving from idea to idea, paragraph to paragraph, and sentence to sentence.”
EXAMPLE OF STEP THREE:
How can I make a clearer connection between causes and solutions in my introduction? How can I revise my thesis to make the first stage of an argument that advocates a solution, as opposed to simply a description of a variety of possible solutions?
Which sources can I use in order to exhibit a point, which ones can I use in order to argue, and which ones should I use simply for background information? Where does one of my sources seem out of place, lacking context, etc, and how can I give it context?
Which additional genres can I use as multi-modal elements? What is an instance where my multi-modal source doesn’t really strengthen or deepen my explanations, and what can I do to address that issue?
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