Major Assignment #1: Diagnostic Analysis Essay

Overview of the Assignment:

This assignment is important in that it gives the instructor a direction to start and shape the course. Through this essay, the instructor becomes familiar with the writing styles of each student, and thus can better help them improve their academic writing skills throughout the semester. The essay will be assessed in terms of organization, logical flow of ideas, clarity of explanations, unity and coherence, grammar, vocabulary and style. Another reason for assigning this essay is that it gives the students a starting point for evaluating and improving their own writing performance. The initial, timed draft (50 minutes) will receive only brief, global comments, and not be graded.

During the first 3 weeks of class, this class will cover a five-paragraph essay structure, the writing process, audience, purpose, coherence and unity, PIE structure, and a review of thesis statements, introductions, and conclusions. Students will analyze their original diagnostic essay in light of what they learned from the modules in the first 3 weeks of class, and suggest specific areas for improvement.

Students will submit the analysis of their original essay for extensive comments and a grade.

About the Assignment:
Topic: An analysis of the writing style, efficacy, and writing process of the original diagnostic essay

Type of Assignment: 2-3 page reflective essay.

Task: Write a short exploratory essay (2-3 pages) that analyzes the changes you made to your diagnostic essay, as well as why those changes are necessary in order allow your intention as a writer to match the reader’s perception in a coherent way. This is not a summary; you will actually want to convince your reader, through your exploration, that these changes need to be made and, specifically, how you would make the changes. This will provide retrospective insight into your writing and thinking process. It describes when, how, and why you made the errors you did and/or did the things well that you did. This kind of writing is about how you work through problems that require writing and research. You will have to be introspective and think about your thinking process and your background as a writer in order for your essay to turn out well.

In formulating the paper, draw upon the readings and lectures of the first 3 weeks not only in a descriptive way, but also in a way that demonstrates that you know how to draw upon references. Build a future context for your essay. Detail why your argument in the diagnostic essay was an important one to make—why was that topic an important one to write about? Address in what way the essay connects so far to the objectives so far in the class. Lastly, describe how your analysis demonstrates your deepened understanding of the topics and prewriting activities addressed so far in class.

The final draft of the diagnostic analysis must incorporate skills learned during Unit 1, such as thesis statements, paragraph structure, paragraph development, audience, purpose, coherence and unity, PIE structure, and introductions and conclusions.

Formatting: Instructors should introduce the concept of formatting as early as this is the first assignment. Essays should be 2-3 pages, with a title, and in Times New Roman, 12-pt., double-spaced font, with 1-inch margins on all sides. (Paper size: 8 1/2 x 11-inches)

Sources: The article MUST be used at least once in the essay, and should be introduced in the introduction of the essay. Outside sources should be discouraged.

Plagiarism: Students may not be familiar with the concept of plagiarism, so the consequences should be minimal. Instructors should encourage students to "give credit" to the author, although this still may entail plagiarism. The topic of "Avoiding Plagiarism" should be covered before the final draft is submitted, but correct paraphrasing and APA citations are not expected at this level.

Deadlines: The peer review of the paper should occur during the first 3 weeks of class, and no later than the 4th week. The final draft is due at the instructor's discretion.

Grading Rubric and Diagnostic Essay Samples will be provided in the due course.