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					Timed Writing Evaluation Tips:

THESIS: The thesis should contain a clear judgment (which of the three essays is the
best), and the criteria upon which this judgment is based (2-4 is generally recommended).
Although you will also score all 3 timed writings, this information may not necessarily be
part of the thesis.

   Sample Thesis Statements:
      1. I give timed writing #1 a 5, #2 a 6, and #3 a 7. [BAD]
      2. Based on its development, organization, and strong thesis, I believe that the last
         essay is the strongest of my three timed writings. [Serviceable, but formulaic]
      3. Although in timed writings one and two I had some moments of inspired analysis
         of which I am proud, the third timed writing was certainly the best overall, as it
         suffered from none of the development problems caused by the poor organization
         and vague thesis statements of the first two essays. [Good]

ORGANIZATION: This is a very important consideration in your paper. You must
consider your three essays and what you want to say about them before deciding which
structure would be best for your paper. Consider the following:

   Basic options:
      1. Alternating
      2. Block
      3. Hybrid (some combination of the previous two—think Catton‟s article)

               Alternating                                        Block
   I. Intro                                           I. Intro
   II. Thesis Statements                              II. TW#1
        a. TW #1 thesis analysis                           a. TW #1 thesis analysis
        b. TW #2 thesis analysis                           b. TW #1 evidence analysis
        c. TW #3 thesis analysis                           c. TW #1 style analysis
   III. Evidence                                      III. TW#2
        a. TW #1 evidence analysis                         a. TW #2 thesis analysis
        b. TW #2 evidence analysis                         b. TW #2 evidence analysis
        c. TW #3 evidence analysis                         c. TW #2 style analysis
   IV. Writing Style                                  IV. TW#3
        a. TW #1 style analysis                            a. TW #3 thesis analysis
        b. TW #2 style analysis                            b. TW #3 evidence analysis
        c. TW #3 style analysis                            c. TW #3 style analysis
   V. Conclusion                                      V. Conclusion
                Sample Timed Writing Analysis

Good Intro               Looking back over these three essays, I can see a clear pattern of improvement. I
with strong     attribute this improvement to my increasingly self-conscious approach to my writing.
thesis that     While all the prompts were different, and I had varying degrees of success analyzing
includes both
                them, my process became more deliberate each time, which resulted in increasingly more
and Criteria.   organized, focused essays. Although in timed writings one and two I had some moments
                of inspired analysis of which I am proud, the third timed writing was certainly the best
                overall, as it suffered from none of the development problems caused by the poor
                organization and vague thesis statements of the first two essays.
                         Timed writing number one was the weakest of the three essays, largely because I
                started with a vague thesis and tried to figure out my argument as I went instead of
                planning it carefully before beginning. My thesis, which claimed that “Maria W. Stewart
                uses antithesis, repetition, and vivid similes to convey her position,” clearly shows that I
                had an understanding of the rhetorical strategies she employed, but my failure to connect
                those strategies to a specific purpose shows just as clearly that I had not quite figured out
                what I was going to say. By repeating the prompt‟s words, “to convey her position,” I
                avoided having to be specific about what her purpose was. Because the thesis is so vague
                about purpose, the rest of the essay that follows has the same problem. Towards the end,
                I finally include some ties to purpose, but in the beginning and middle of the essay, I was
                so concerned with identifying the rhetorical strategies and finding examples of them that
                I ignored the reason why the rhetorical strategies were being used in the first place. For
                example, my comment in the final body paragraph that “Stewart‟s poetic comparison of
                the laborer‟s mind to the „scorching sands of Arabia,‟ displays how well educated she is,
                as no slave at the time would have had the opportunity to either visit the Arabian desert
                or read about it in any book,” is a good, accurate observation. However, I really needed
                to go a step further and explain how this display of her education proves that African
                Americans really do have the mental capacity to be as eloquent and refined as their white
                counterparts, if only they are given the chance to have an education. Still, far less
                successful are the first two body paragraphs, when I discuss antithesis and repetition. In
                those, I tend to point out the rhetorical strategy and examples of it in the passage, but then
                end up closing the paragraph with sentences such as “This kind of repetition helps
                Stewart emphasize her point.” This is a vague generalization that does not shed any light
                on why and how Stewart is using that repetition. It makes no attempt to connect the
                rhetorical strategy back to Stewart‟s desire to convince her audience that prejudice is
                keeping even free African Americans from reaching their true potential. So, while this
                essay is organized, does make some good points, and does have some specific supporting
                evidence, its formulaic structure and overall inability to consistently connect rhetorical
                strategies to meaning keeps it from scoring any higher than a five.
                         In comparison, timed writing number two was an improvement as far as the thesis
                statement, but that essay, too, ended up being disorganized and underdeveloped. For this
                essay, I tried to do more prewriting in the hopes of starting off with a clearer plan and
                avoiding the difficulties I experienced in the first timed writing. This helped me come up
                with a more specific thesis. I made a point of connecting the rhetorical strategies to
                meaning right from the beginning so that I would not make the same mistake I did last
                time. After stating that Lincoln uses “parallel syntax and strategic changes in pronouns,”
                instead of using the vague words of the prompt, “to achieve his purpose,” I ended the
                thesis with my own statement of what that purpose was, “to mimic the breaking apart of
                the nation, and demonstrate his belief that its citizens could come back together as one
                people.” While this thesis is still a little awkwardly formulaic, it does tie both rhetorical
                strategies to Lincoln‟s purpose. Unfortunately, while this essay‟s thesis is strong, much
                of the body is still weak. I spent too much time prewriting, leaving myself only twenty
                minutes to write my essay. Therefore, I felt very rushed, and fell into some of the same
                bad habits I did in the first essay. My body paragraphs contained some good supporting
Needs textual evidence, but I often did not remember to tie each example back to Lincoln‟s purpose,
evidence        and ended up tacking a sentence or two on at the end of the paragraph to explain the
from the        connection, almost like an afterthought. I also lost focus a bit when writing the second
essay to        body paragraph. While I started off well, my focus quickly strayed from Lincoln‟s use of
support these pronouns to the problems caused by the Civil War. I gave too much background
claims.         information and not enough language analysis in that paragraph. So as in the first timed
                writing, while I had some good ideas, and some solid support, I still ended up with a
                somewhat underdeveloped essay that could merit no score higher than a six.
                         For the third and final timed writing, I tried to keep my development difficulties
                in mind, and this time I felt I was able to write a much better, more organized essay, one
                that I believe is a strong seven. I began with a good thesis, writing that “Clarence
                Darrow manipulates his audience by playing on their [sic] fears, using arguments that
                include such fallacies as slippery slope and false analogy, but he does so with such
                skillful use of rhetoric that it is not difficult to imagine why he convinced the judge not to
                sentence Leopold and Loeb to death.” Although the use of the word “skillful” seems, in
                retrospect, a bit too much like a judgment, and there is an agreement error, the thesis is
                strong overall, containing both rhetorical strategies and a clear tie to purpose. This thesis
                is also more organic and natural sounding than the previous two, which still felt quite
                formulaic. This well written thesis is then followed by a focused, well developed paper.
                I made very sure to go back after including each piece of supporting evidence and check
                to see that it lined up with my thesis. I tried to explain how the strategies helped Darrow
                achieve his purpose as thoroughly as possible at every opportunity. For example, in the
                second paragraph where I point out Darrow‟s faulty assumption that Leopold and Loeb
One good        were “broken machines,” who were unable to do anything but what their inherited traits
example, but    dictated, I explain that “this oversimplification plays upon the hesitation of the judge to
still needs     sentence two minors to death. It gave the judge an excuse to commute the sentences to
more textual    life imprisonment instead, and allowed him to save face by giving him a scientific
evidence to
                sounding justification he could offer to the public. His eagerness to find a way out of the
support this
                mess the trial had become blinded him to the flaws in Darrow‟s logic. While the boys‟
claims.         inherited traits might have accounted for some of their behavior, they were hardly
                „machines‟ that had no choice at all in their actions.” While I might overreach slightly in
                my analysis here, as I am assuming a lot about the judge based on the wording of the
                prompt, my underlying logic is sound and well explained. Unlike in timed writings one
A good way to and two, here there are no outstandingly weak paragraphs in this essay. They all include
conclude is to  good, solid analysis and sufficient evidence. I would have to say that it is an effective
note the        essay. Perhaps it is not quite an eight or a nine because the analysis could be more
improvement     complete and the prose a bit more impressive, but it is still a solid seven.
(or lack
                         After evaluating my three timed writings, I was pleased with my improvement. I
thereof) and
make note of    learned from my mistakes in the first two essays, and had some success in writing a more
some aspects to focused, well developed paper. There is still room for improvement as far as depth of
keep working    analysis and eloquence of expression go, but I think that if I concentrate on those, just as
on.             I concentrated on my organization problems once I had identified them, I think I can
                improve those aspects of my timed writings as well.

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