Sample Essays and Rubric

Sample Prompt: 

Please compose an essay that response to the ideas found in the following passage from the columnist Bob Lutz.  Your essay should state whether you agree or disagree with the writer’s position

“Financial transactions, purchases, games, movies…all rendering travel to banks, stores, sports events or theaters redounded.  Generation Y stands at the forefront of the next chapter in mankind’s evolution: experiencing everything while going nowhere. Meeting members of the opposite sex for a rare bit of fun? The smart phone will do it! Why hang out at some expensive joint? And, with the shyness of face-to-face contact removed, virtual romances can proceed quickly from one stage to the next….{T}he exchange of intimacy and trust is fast, anonymous, does not cost a bunch of expensive dinners.  It also must be categorized as ‘safe.’ No dangerous back-seat contortionism here. Break-ups simply involve an e-mail or two, followed by activation of the ‘delete’ button.

It has long been my contention that, with the rise of electronic interactivity and the ever more convincing, more satisfying level of virtual reality, the human need for actual travel will diminish.  In 100 years, it may be almost entirely redundant, as we sit in our rooms, chatting, every participant except one’s self a highly realistic hologram. We will become sedentary, largely-immobile nuclei in a personal virtual world of which we are the masters. And brand badges on cars will, in the future, have as much meaning as the names of famous steam locomotive my father used to glowingly tell me about.  It’s going to take a while, and it will be gradual…but the more distant future, in the opinion, does not bode well for the ‘mine’s cooler, mine’s faster, mine’s more expensive care culture we’ve experiences up to now.”

(“Generation Y Going Nowhere and They’re Fine with That” By Bob Lutz. Forbes Magazine online 7/16/12)

What do you think about Lutz’s argument?  Will computers and iPhones replace real travel and real human interaction with virtual travel and virtual relationships?  If you agree with Lutz, be sure to offer evidence that supports your ideas.  If you disagree, be sure to offer evidence to show why you disagree.  Make sure that your essay directly addresses – and makes use of  - the passage from Lutz’s column.

English Composition I Sample Essay 

            The passage from Bob Lutz explains how over time the smart phones will take over, slowly but surely they will start to replace everyday tasks and activities, social encounters and more.  Phones are able to do mostly anything, just as Lutz said “The smart phone will do it” and I agree!

            Communicating is much easier to do through a smart phone.  This leads people who are anti-social, busy plain lazy to remain where they are.  Over time people will be unhealthy, never make time to see others and avoid face-to-face contact, it happens already.  Why go out of your way when you could just send a text, make a call or talk face-to-face on video chat?  Lutz stated “And with the shyness of face-to-face contact removed, or virtual romances can proceed quickly from one stage to the next.” Relationships will move so quickly because you can’t get those nervous butterflies behind a screen, you won’t be scared to speak your mind because you don’t actually have to see their reaction or b nervous to say it.  You can talk 24/7 which may cause you to think you actually know the person but let me tell you… people hide behind screens.  They may not b who they say they are.  Without physical attraction and a physical bond, actually seeing someone’s body language and how they act, how could you know if you truly like them for the real them?

            Smart phones are able to search images as clear as day and to connect to things you watch which make you feel like you are truly there.  Lutz quotes “…with the rise of electric interactivity and the ever more convincing, more satisfying level of virtual reality, the human need for travel will diminish.”  Virtual reality allows you to ride rollercoasters, swim with exotic sea creatures, stand on top of Mt. Washington, mostly anything you could physically do yourself.  This world is already filled with lazy people who will fully take advantage of this.  People who can’t afford trips will benefit from this which is one good reason for it but it isn’t the same as physically being there is actually experiencing the real thing.  It ruins the value of it, the actual experience that inspires amazes and excites you.

            There are so many reasons as to why this is going to destroy our world.  Businesses will close because things will just be online, people will be lazy and obese, there will be barely any face-to-face encounters, fake and fairytale relationships and more. As everything, smartphones have its pros and cons but in my opinion, more cons.  Just as everything in life that is made too easy, it gets taken advantage of.

Discussion: 

In the sample essay in which the student placed into English Composition 1, you will notice that in the introduction this addresses the prompt and states her position clearly. In the following two paragraphs she starts with clear topic sentences with indicate her argument for each paragraph and then fully develops the paragraphs with textual evidence, examples, and analysis.  Finally, she concludes her essay by reiterating her thesis in her conclusion.  See the rubric for placement criteria for all English courses.

Introductory Writing Sample Essay 

I think that technology takes a big part of our daily lives and will eventually be replaced by computer and Iphones.  Those devices affect dating websites who become the way that people meet.  This evolution also applies to financial transactions.  The car industry won’t be necessary in the future.  These are the reasons why computers and Iphones will be replaced and decrease human interaction to another.

            Dating someone online is not the same as a physical presence and be around this person. Once again, computers and Ipads are the easiest, quickest way for this to happen without spending a fortune. According to the passage: “Meeting members of the opposite sex…fun? The smart phone will do it!”. People will no longer meet face to face but will see each other from a screen. While financial transactions used to be going to the bank to get check your balance for example. Nowadays, just a click away to view your balance online to make different kinds of purchases for our needs.  From the passage:” Financial transaction, purchases, games…Redounded”, “…experiencing…going nowhere”. Computers and Iphones have a big impact on everything that we do without physical presence.

            The car industry will definitely change as well and will no longer be in use.  That could be total difference from traveling from place to place from the text:”…the human need for actual travel will diminish.” “In 100 years, it may be almost…realistic hologram.”

            Technology has taken a huge part of everday’s doing. From dating someone online, going actually to the bank or even the way we commute every day. Computers and Ipads will definitely change everything around us and will decrease human contact all around the world.

Discussion: 

In the sample essay in which the student placed into Introduction to Writing, you will notice that the student states his argument in the introductory paragraph.   In the following paragraph, he includes two of his three topics in one paragraph which leaves the paragraph unfocused and both paragraphs underdeveloped.  While the third paragraph is focused and includes textual evidence, it could use further development which might include additional examples and analysis.  In the conclusion, the student restates his thesis.  Overall, this essay is on the right track, but needs some additional reorganization and development.  See the rubric for placement criteria for all English courses.

Writing Placement Rubric Massasoit Community College English Department

Essay ScoreEssay Characteristics
ESL recommendation**

This essay includes multiple errors in English language that interfere with the essay’s focus, development, expression, and/or organization.  The essay demonstrates problems in second language acquisition which may require ESL support.  These may include consistent difficulties with: 

  • Verb tense and verb agreement,
  • Sentence structure (fragments and run-ons),
  • The spelling of difficult words,
  • Preposition use,
  • Transitions (may be misused or overused),
  • Parts of speech (confusing adjectives and adverbs, for example), and/or
  • Articles (may be missing or incorrect).

 ** This is not a score, but indicates a referral for ESL testing.

1 or 2
Intro Writing

The essay’s focus may be on the general topic, but not the particular prompt. Or, the essay may state its focus with limited development or vague support.

The essay responds to the general topic of the reading, but demonstrates a weak sense of the reading’s argument; it may include a quote or detail from the reading as an isolated skill with only a weak connection to the essay’s point.

The essay may include a traditional beginning, middle, and end and uses paragraphs to separate general ideas.

The essay contains many mechanical errors, which are frequently distracting and may sometimes interfere with meaning; it may have ESL-related errors, but not enough to warrant ESL support.

3 or 4
English Composition I

The essay maintains a focus that responds to the prompt; the essay is developed sufficiently to support the thesis.

The essay has a beginning, middle, and end and evidences a planned order of paragraphs.

The essay refers directly to the reading and may integrate the text with the writer’s own ideas; it gives background information on the reading but goes beyond summarizing the reading; the essay uses the reading to support the writer’s argument.

The essay may have mechanical errors, but these errors do not interfere with meaning.

5
English Composition II

The essay has an engaging thesis that responds to the prompt with a thought-provoking argument.

The essay’s organization is non-formulaic; it is dictated by the writer’s ideas, which are original and show evidence of critical thinking and engagement with the text.

The essay displays high-level thinking from start to finish in response to the reading and uses a unique voice; this voice assumes a mature, un-intimidated position within the academic conversation of the issue suggested by the reading; the essay deftly argues a nuanced position.

The essay has clear control over language and mechanics and even demonstrates finesse with language and style.

** Students who score a 5 may take the CLEP College Composition Exam administered at Bridgewater State University in order to receive 3 credits for English Composition I (see below for more information on the CLEP).

The CLEP Composition Exam can be taken at Bridgewater State University.  It assesses first-year composition skills, including analysis, argumentation, synthesis, usage, and research.  The exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 50 minutes and two essays to be written in 70 minutes; the entire exam is two hours.  One essay is based on the student’s prior reading or experiences; the second provides two sources and asks the student to synthesize and respond to them using research citations.  Students considering this option must be strong readers, writers, thinkers, and researchers accustomed to testing and writing within a time limit.  Given the complexity of the exam, it is advisable for placement scorers to be careful about considering a Massasoit placement essay, which is non-researched, a “4,” or to judiciously counsel students about taking the CLEP test and its implications for their transcript and transfer to other colleges.  More information about the exam can be found on the College Board website.