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Position 

This strand encompasses the argument in the essay—the four or five key sentences that state what you are proving and how you are proving it.

Thesis:
The sentence(s) explicitly or implicitly stated early in the paper that outline the argument being made in the paper.

Assertions:
The assertion is the sentence at the paragraph level that is the written articulation of the subargument. This sentence is sometimes called the topic sentence.

Ideas 

This strand evaluates at the holistic and synthesis level. The Ideas strand seeks to evaluate how well the Position is proven (substantiation) and how well the ideas are synthesized and interwoven. This strand is broader than the Interpretation strand—it encompasses the essay as a whole.

Quality:
Quality evaluates the correctness of ideas, the complexity of ideas, and the integration of ideas across a full spectrum.

Substantiation:
Substantiation addresses the level of proof that supports the position. When scoring at levels 5-8, it is important to think about the substantiation of both the position’s depth and breadth.

Organization 

Organization is a crucial aspect of argumentation. This strand addresses the overall structure of a paper. Does the organization support and encourage logical order? Do ideas flow smoothly?

Structure:
This criterion addresses the overall architecture of the essay—is the paper ordered (chronologically, compare and contrast, logically, cause and effect, etc) in a way that supports the position?

Flow:
Do ideas flow smoothly within sentences and paragraph and between sentences and paragraphs?

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  • Thesis

  • Assertions

  1.  
  2.  
    • Relevant thesis
    • Addresses prompt
    • Most ideas are understandable
    • Defensible thesis
    • Completely addresses prompt
    • Clarified in scope
    • Ideas and writing are understandable
    • Defensible, slightly nuanced thesis
    • Encompasses full breadth of assertions
    • Clarified in scope
    • Ideas and writing are clear
    • Defensible, nuanced, appropriately comprehensive, insightful thesis
    • Encompasses full depth/ breadth of all claims/ evidence
    • Clarified in scope
    • Ideas and writing are precise/ concise
  1.  
    • Most assertions present
    • Most assertions relevant to prompt
    • All assertions support thesis
    • Assertion sequence may be arbitrary
    • Most ideas are understandable
    • Defensible assertions support thesis
    • Intentional assertion sequence may not be effective
    • Assertions clarified in scope when necessary
    • Ideas and writing are understandable
    • Defensible assertions provide distinct support
    • Intentional assertion sequence may not be effective
    • Assertions clarified in scope when necessary
    • Ideas and writing are clear
    • Defensible, complex assertions provide distinct support
    • Intentional assertion sequence logically advances argument
    • Assertions clarified in scope when necessary
    • Ideas and writing are clear
    • Defensible, complex assertions provide distinct support
    • Intentional assertion sequence logically advances argument
    • Assertions clarified in scope when necessary
    • Ideas and writing are precise/ concise
    • Defensible, complex assertions provide distinct support
    • Intentional assertion sequence logically advances argument
    • Assertions clarified in scope when necessary
    • Ideas and writing are precise/ concise
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  • Quality

  • Substantiation

  1.  
    • Most ideas and content are plausible
    • Basic interpretation
    • Almost all ideas/content are reasonable
    • Accurate interpretation
    • Almost all ideas/content are logically, accurately interpreted
    • Slight nuances introduced
    • Overall, depth of understanding
    • Slight nuances introduced
    • Overall, insightful depth of understanding/ analysis
    • Key nuances incorporated into argument
    • Overall, insightful depth of understanding/ analysis
    • Key nuances incorporated into argument
  1.  
  2.  
    • Position is controlling idea
    • Position is controlling idea
    • Overall, position mostly substantiated
    • Overall, position mostly substantiated
    • Opposing viewpoints are anticipated and addressed when necessary
    • Overall, position strongly substantiated
    • Opposing viewpoints are anticipated and addressed when necessary
    • Overall, position strongly substantiated
    • Opposing viewpoints are anticipated and addressed when necessary
    • Overall, position compellingly substantiated
    • Opposing viewpoints are anticipated and addressed when necessary
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  • Structure

  • Flow

  1.  
    • Most body paragraphs present
    • Body paragraphs include most core components
    • Reasonable essay structure
    • Body paragraphs include almost all core components
    • Reasonable essay structure
    • Body paragraphs include almost all core components
    • Present intro, conclusion
    • Reasonable essay structure
    • Sequence of logical body paragraphs support thesis
    • Appropriately structured intro, conclusion
    • Strong organizational structure moves reader through text
    • Intentional paragraph sequence logically advances argument
    • Inviting introduction draws reader in Conclusion provides sense of closure
    • Effective, intentional deviation from traditional structure results in strong substantiation
    • Intentional paragraph sequence logically advances argument
    • Clear, inviting introduction draws reader in
    • Insightful conclusion provides satisfying resolution/ closure
  1.  
  2.  
    • Rough transitions between most ideas, evidence chunk
    • Transitions between almost all ideas, evidence chunks, paragraphs
    • Transitions contribute to general flow of ideas
    • Effective transitions contribute to general flow of ideas
    • Smooth, effective transitions contribute to logical flow of ideas