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Argumentative Essay

Description 

The Argumentative Essay Performance Task Guide introduces the steps to crafting a strong argument that draws on supporting evidence from research.

In all facets of life, the ability to make and defend a sound argument has immense value. It is a doorway to progress, shaping points of view, moving people to action, and helping build consensus among divided parties. Persuasive writing, specifically, is used in many professions: the closing argument in a court of law, a blog post, a letter to the editor, a politician's statement of position, or a presentation at a local city council meeting. Within the college setting, the Argumentative Essay is the most frequently assigned task for freshmen. In colleges across the country, students will write as many as 8-12 argumentative essays during their first year.

Opportunities for Student Choice 

Students’ choice can be encouraged in a number of ways. Students can choose the issue, or they can choose their position. They can also choose the resources they review, or the audience for their paper.

Authentic Task 

Persuasive writing is used in many professions: the closing argument in a court of law, a blog post, a letter to the editor or an editorial, a politician's statement of position, or a presentation at a local city council meeting.

Opportunities for Exhibition to an Audience 

There are many possible audiences for persuasive writing. If students are working on a school issue it might be an assembly; if it's a community issue they might present at a city council meeting or town hall. Students can submit a letter to the editor at a newspaper, or create a guest blog post. They can create their own class wiki, or put their papers together into a book on a self-publishing site like blurb.com. Students might also submit a paper to a conference

Downloadable Resources 
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Explore the Genre of Persuasive Writing_Argumentative

What is Persuasive Writing?
Develop a clear enough understanding of the characteristics of this genre to be able to explain your understanding to others.
 

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.5
  • CCRA.R.6

Time To Complete 

1-3 Hours

Argumentative Writing Performance Tasks Rubric

What are the expectations for this performance task?  

Each performance task has a single-point rubric, which lays out the expectations for college-and career-ready performance. This type of rubric allows teachers to provide specific, focused feedback without limiting students’ creativity or putting a ceiling on their...

Choose a Topic_Argumentative

What makes for an effective topic?
Identify a topic that you either feel strongly about or wonder about.

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.7

Time To Complete 

1-3 Hours

Determine Your Audience_Argumentative

Who am I speaking to and trying to influence with my work?
Determine who is the audience of your presentation.

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.L.3
  • CCRA.SL.4
  • CCRA.W.4

Time To Complete 

1 Day

Determine Your Purpose_Argumentative

What do I want my writing to accomplish?
Determine what you want to get your audience to know or do based on reading your essay.

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.W.4
  • CCRA.L.3
  • CCRA.SL.4

Time To Complete 

1 Day

Research the Issue_Argumentative

What do people know, say, and believe about this issue?
Find and analyze resources that will help you grasp the topic’s key concepts, in addition to deepening your understanding of the range of perspectives about the issue. 

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.1
  • CCRA.W.8

Time To Complete 

1-3 Hours

Formulate a Main Idea_Argumentative

What do you have to say about your topic?
Consider the research you have undertaken, and use it to inform the crafting of a main idea, a thesis, or an evidence-based position to focus your writing. 

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.1
  • CCRA.W.1

Time To Complete 

1 Day

Gathering Supporting Details and Evidence_Argumentative

What information will support my main idea?

What information have you discovered that supports your position on this issue?  How do you think about the information that undermines your position?

Review your notes and find compelling quotes, facts, statistics, interviews, “artifacts”, and personal stories that...

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.1
  • CCRA.W.8

Time To Complete 

1-4 hours

Outline and Draft_Argumentative

How can you figure out what you want to say, and how to say it in the most compelling and convincing way possible?
Find a way to organize your thoughts about the issue, and the supporting evidence you have collected. Use the writing process to construct your first draft.

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.W.5
  • CCRA.W.8

Time To Complete 

2-5 Hours

Revise_Argumentative

How can you improve your draft?
Using feedback from a peer and/or teacher, strengthen your draft by ensuring your facts and details are relevant, your organization is clear, and your use of voice is strong and appropriate to the audience. 

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.W.4
  • CCRA.W.5

Time To Complete 

3-5 Hours

Edit_Argumentative

How can you improve your draft?
Using feedback from a peer and/or teacher, strengthen your writing with a focus on grammar and professional language

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.W.4
  • CCRA.W.5

Time To Complete 

2 Hours

Executive Summary_Argumentative

If you had two minutes to tell someone about your topic and your main idea, what would you say?
 
Create a document that prepares you to present the essential points of your work to a larger audience.

 

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.W.6

Time To Complete 

2 Hours