Appendix 4: Response Essay Assignment

Goals of the assignment: The Response Essay Assignment moves us beyond a general discussion of the ways in which language can function to a more specific focus on the functions of "school language" in people's lives. (Being CO150 students, you are of course acutely aware of how the language school requires of you can function in your own life.) In addition to examining these functions of school language, this assignment includes the following goals:

We will read several pieces from Living Languages. As you read these essays, you will be asked to write a series of informal responses in which you read critically, summarize and respond to what you have read, using various response techniques. After writing these informal responses, you will choose the one you think is best, develop and shape it, have it reviewed in workshop, and revise it for a grade and comments. The expectations for the final paper include the following:

Purpose of the paper: To understand and examine critically a piece of writing; to communicate clearly the author's argument and your response to the piece.

Audience: Your classmates and instructor as an academic audience.

Strategies: Summarize the original essay as necessary to introduce, focus, and develop your response to it; report what the author wrote as objectively as possible; use sufficient references to the author/article (tags). Quote key terms and phrases. Paraphrase accurately and concisely. [See PHG, pp. 151-152, and handouts on paraphrasing and quoting] Respond to the article using one or more of the following techniques: analyzing the effectiveness of the text, agreeing and/or disagreeing with the ideas in the text, interpreting and reflecting on the text. Focus your response by making an overall claim or point about the original article. Develop your response with the following, as appropriate: personal experience, evidence from the text, evidence from other texts. [See PHG, pp. 154-155] For help with organization, refer to outlines in PHG, pp. 184-185. Edit to remove errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics so that your paper is clear and readable.

Format: Length guidelines: 2-4 pages. Workshop and final drafts must be typed. Type your essay in a readable, 10-12 point standard font (please, no script or italics). Use margins of one-inch all around and double-space. Print on an ink jet or laser printer. Submit your paper in a pocket folder and include with it all collecting, practice summaries and responses, drafts, workshop comments, and answers to postscript questions [#1-5, PHG, pp. 187-188.]

Readings: Use one of the following pieces from for your paper:

Important Dates:


Workshop I (Draft Due):

Workshop II (Second Draft Due):

Hand in Final Draft and Response Folder:

Grading Criteria:

An "A" Paper...summarizes the original essay as needed to introduce and respond to it: Concisely, accurately, and objectively reports relevant ideas; cites author and title; uses frequent "author tags"; quotes key terms, phrases; paraphrases main points accurately. An "A" paper focuses primarily on responding to the essay. It uses analyzing, agreeing/disagreeing, and/or interpreting/reflecting. It is developed using personal experience, textual evidence, and possibly other texts (considering the context of the essay). It is written to an academic audience, in a clear, readable style, avoiding errors in grammar, mechanics, and spelling. It demonstrates a clear understanding of the essay and the issues it addresses. It supports and explains the response so that the reader understands and can reasonably accept the writer's thoughts/feelings/analysis of the essay. Finally, it focuses on an overall claim, point, or impression about the essay.

A "B" Paper...generally meets criteria for an "A" but is slightly weaker in focus OR development OR style. These papers will

A "C" Paper...has a significant, noticeable weakness in any one of the following areas: understanding or portrayal of the original article; focus; development; style. Problems that "C" papers have may include:

A "D" Paper...has a summary which shows that the writer does not understand the essay and/or the process of summarizing and responding. The response is typically unfocused and/or lacks support. Papers with serious, repeated style problems which interfere with communication will receive a "D."

An "F" Paper...does not respond to the assignment.