More Sample Work: Student Progress

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I chose Cranachan's third paper (in response to the assignment I shared previously on this blog) as an example because it represents the kind of progress students can make in one semester. Until this point in the semester, Cranachan had struggled with his papers.  My end comment on his second paper read:
You’re doing some good work here with quotation—you do a pretty good job connecting the essays in each paragraph. Keep that up as you move forward. What you need to work on is argument. Your argument is pretty much the same as Appiah’s, so I don’t see you adding anything new. At the same time, each of your paragraphs seems to repeat the same idea without building up a central argument. For your next paper, focus on argument. A clear, strong argument will help you structure your paragraphs, which will lead to a much stronger paper.
Despite its errors and weaknesses, then Cranachan’s third paper represents real growth in his thinking and writing. He was able to learn from my comment on his second paper to make a stronger argument for this paper. That central argument helps the entire essay: the paragraphs are more focused and have a logic to them that builds with the overall argument. It’s nice to know that sometimes students do read our comments. And it’s certainly nice to see them improve.
About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.