NCLC 140: SELF AS CITIZEN
Citizenship Essay Final Exam
This Unit introduces you to a number of important ideas and conversations about citizenship in the United States.
Now you are asked to join the conversation and to respond to the readings, discussions, reflections, and activities of
the Unit. What is your vision of citizenship? Why? What do you want to accomplish as a citizen? How? As a starting
point, you should ask yourself what you brought to this course and this conversation. In the process of Unit IV
experiences, how has your thinking grown or changed? What have you learned or gained, and what have you found
especially challenging about the concept of citizenship? Which ideas are most interesting or most problematic for
you and why?
This assignment offers you a double challenge. First, because citizenship is an extremely complex topic, we challenge
you to create a piece of writing that shows intelligence, courage, and honesty in examining one or more of the many
difficult, complicated issues that face people who take citizenship seriously. Second, we challenge you to create a
distinctive and memorable piece of writing that tackles the topic of citizenship in ways that only you can tackle it.
Remember, the title of the course is Self as Citizen. That means YOU.
The goal of this assignment is to demonstrate a solid grasp of course material that relates to your topic and a serious
commitment to the sort of sophisticated analysis that doesn’t settle for easy answers and predictable conclusions. As
there is no single “right” way to write this essay, we are open to a variety of topics and rhetorical strategies (see
Rubric #2 for examples).
Your work on this assignment will begin the first day of Unit IV and should continue on a daily basis thereafter. You
will do the written work in stages designed to support your development of ideas. These staged assignments (outlined
below) should help support your efforts to build a solid essay. Also, as you’re thinking about what it means to be a
citizen, and why citizenship is complicated and challenging, we suggest that you look at each week’s seminar questions
listed on your day-by-day schedule. These questions will aid your thinking about citizenship and may also suggest an
angle from which to write.
Due Date Assignment Guidelines and Expectations
March 16 (Tuesday, In-class writing Handwritten brainstorm of ideas about citizenship
March 29 (Monday, Phase 1 An integrated essay (daily writing) that is at least 4 pages;
Seminar) incorporates and works with at least 4 course texts as sources and
cites all sources in APA or MLA format and provides a bibliography
April 5 (Monday) None Faculty response and feedback on Phase 1
April 19 (Monday, Phase 2 Revised Phase 1, with attached 1-2 paragraph description of what
Afternoon Workshop) you’ve changed and 2-3 things you would like help with. Phase 2
should reflect substantial development in thinking, use of 5 sources
with fuller discussion of each source, at least 6 pages
April 20 (Tuesday, Phase 2 revised Revised Phase 2, incorporating feedback from Monday’s workshop
April 23 (Friday, by noon None Faculty response and feedback on Phase 2
at NCC Office)
April 27 (Tuesday, by Final Essay, with This final essay constitutes your course exam. Thus, you should
noon at NCC Office) all earlier hand in a nuanced and polished discussion reflecting your ideas
Phases and about citizenship and demonstrating how your sources inform your
feedback ideas. 6-8 pages long; minimum of 5 sources, APA or MLA format
attached for in-text references and bibliography
Assessment Rubric for Citizenship Essay
Below is the rubric faculty will use in assessing both the initial Phases and the Final Essay on Citizenship. Study this
carefully so that you know the criteria by which your work will be judged.
1. Essay demonstrates complex thinking and problematizes the idea of citizenship. Course readings, seminar
discussions/questions and group project activities have been considered seriously in order to develop a robust,
complicated, and perhaps unresolved understanding of one or more critical aspects of citizenship. Essay includes
evidence that writer has struggled with ideas. Ideas are not trite, pat, or "cut and dried." Author does not quote
dictionary definitions of citizenship.
2. Essay employs effective rhetorical strategy. Effectively "hooks" reader, frames discussion of citizenship, and
develops ideas through skillful use of rhetorical device(s) and strategy. For example: presents personal story or
appropriate scenario to particularize discussion of citizenship; refers to relevant historical and/or current events to
contextualize one or more aspects of citizenship; employs inventive analytical strategy to isolate and explore one or
two complex aspects of citizenship; or uses another effective strategy.
3. Essay uses at least the required number of course sources with correct citation (see Assignment Guidelines on
previous page). Uses APA or MLA, with parenthetical references and bibliography. Sources help form core of
essay's argument, rather than providing surface decoration. In most cases, author spends at least a paragraph
developing connection to a given source--expanding on what the source says and/or developing how the idea or
quotation applies to his/her overall argument. (Author may agree with source, disagree with source, or do both).
Accuracy of citation will affect your grade.
4. Essay employs effective organizational plan. Overall organizational "game plan" emerges early in the essay and is
clear to reader throughout. Ample evidence that author has thought carefully about the most effective way to
organize his/her material.
5. Essay meets length requirement. (see Assignment Guidelines on previous page).
6. Essay pays attention to writing technique. Well-written with few (if any) distracting errors of mechanics, grammar,
syntax, spelling, etc. Author has read the essay aloud and edited carefully, eliminating "accidental errors" such as
7. Essay communicates writer's commitment to the topic and the "problem" of translating the concept of citizenship
into reality. Discussion shows signs of struggle and is energetic, authentic, and sincere (if not downright
8. Overall impression. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and the essay is memorable.