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PSC 31106 – Stapleton Name:

Final Essay Assignment/ Rubric Summer 2009

Your final essay is worth 20% of your class grade. The final essay will consist of an analysis of
the history and policies of one country (7-10 pages in length, not including your bibliography). You
may choose from the countries we review during the course – France, Germany, Italy, or Great
Britain. The final paper is due on Friday, July 24 th by 8pm. You may turn in a paper copy of
your final work on Thursday, July 23rd, but I will accept emailed papers on Friday
(pstapleton@gc.cuny.edu). Your paper is not considered “turned in” until you receive an
emailed confirmation from me. It is your responsibility to have your essay in my Inbox by the
due date & time.
Formatting Requirements:
Your paper will have a cover page with the title (not underlined), your name, the course name,
semester, my name, and due date. Each page will have a header with your last name and page
number in the top right corner. Margins will be one inch only; the font will be 12-pt, Times New
Roman, and double-spaced.
Sources:
You will have at least five academic sources (most likely journal articles). Your sources should be
well documented, using MLA, APA, or Chicago Manual citation style. For any questions you may
have on how to write a research paper, please review the materials available on the City College
Library (see our course website for the link).

CUNY POLICY ON ACADEMIC INTEGRITY:


http://web.cuny.edu/academics/info-central/policies.html
Academic Dishonesty is prohibited in the City University of New York and is punishable by
penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion, as provided herein.
I. Definitions and Examples of Academic Dishonesty
Cheating is the unauthorized use or attempted use of material, information, notes, study aids,
devices or communication during an academic exercise. The following are some examples of
cheating, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:
1• Copying from another student during an examination or allowing another to copy your work.
2• Unauthorized collaboration on a take home assignment or examination.
3• Using notes during a closed book examination.
4• Submitting someone else’s work as your own.
• Changing a graded exam and returning it for more credit.
• Submitting substantial portions of the same paper to more than one course without consulting
with each instructor.
5• Allowing others to research and write assigned papers or do assigned projects, including use
6of commercial term paper services.
7• Giving assistance to acts of academic misconduct/dishonesty.
8Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. The
9following are some examples of plagiarism, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:
1• Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes
2attributing the words to their source.
• Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the
source.
Final Essay Guidelines 2

1Internet plagiarism includes submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers,
paraphrasing or copying information from the internet without citing the source, and “cutting &
pasting” from various sources without proper attribution.

Course Policy on Cheating & Plagiarism:


Read over the definitions of and City’s policies on cheating, plagiarism, and internet plagiarism.
Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse! If I discover that you have plagiarized part of or all of your
paper, that you had someone else write it, or that in anyway you are presenting work that is not your
own, you will receive an F for the course, and you will be reported to the Political Science
Department Chair.

Evaluation Criteria for Written Work


From a list by Lewis Hyde, edited by Sue Lonoff, with thanks to Richard Marius's writing handbook.
Copyright © 2002, 2003 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
The Unsatisfactory Paper.
The D or F paper either has no thesis or else it has one that is strikingly vague, broad, or
uninteresting. There is little indication that the writer understands the material being presented. The
paragraphs do not hold together; ideas do not develop from sentence to sentence. This paper usually
repeats the same thoughts again and again, perhaps in slightly different language but often in the
same words. The D or F paper is filled with mechanical faults, errors in grammar, and errors in
spelling.

The C Paper.
The C paper has a thesis, but it is vague and broad, or else it is uninteresting or obvious. It does not
advance an argument that anyone might care to debate. "Henry James wrote some interesting
novels." "Modern cities are interesting places." The thesis in the C paper often hangs on some
personal opinion. If the writer is a recognized authority, such an expression of personal taste may be
noteworthy, but writers gain authority not merely by expressing their tastes but by justifying them.
Personal opinion is often the engine that drives an argument, but opinion by itself is never
sufficient. It must be defended. The C paper rarely uses evidence well; sometimes it does not use
evidence at all. Even if it has a clear and interesting thesis, a paper with insufficient supporting
evidence is a C paper. The C paper often has mechanical faults, errors in grammar and spelling, but
please note: a paper without such flaws may still be a C paper.

The B Paper.
The reader of a B paper knows exactly what the author wants to say. It is well organized, it presents
a worthwhile and interesting idea, and the idea is supported by sound evidence presented in a neat
and orderly way. Some of the sentences may not be elegant, but they are clear, and in them thought
follows naturally on thought. The paragraphs may be unwieldy now and then, but they are
organized around one main idea. The reader does not have to read a paragraph two or three times to
get the thought that the writer is trying to convey. The B paper is always mechanically correct. The
spelling is good, and the punctuation is accurate. Above all, the paper makes sense throughout. It
has a thesis that is limited and worth arguing. It does not contain unexpected digressions, and it ends
by keeping the promise to argue and inform that the writer makes in the beginning.
Final Essay Guidelines 3

The A Paper.
The A paper has all the good qualities of the B paper, but in addition it is lively, well paced,
interesting, even exciting. The paper has style. Everything in it seems to fit the thesis exactly. It may
have a proofreading error or two, or even a misspelled word, but the reader feels that these errors
are the consequence of the normal accidents all good writers encounter. Reading the paper, we can
feel a mind at work. We are convinced that the writer cares for his or her ideas, and about the
language that carries them.

GRADING RUBRIC
Points
Completeness of Final Essay 1 to 5
THESIS and CONTENT
The essay has a thesis—a single, central point that is interesting, original, striking and substantial.
The central idea is developed in the essay through well-chosen, appropriate, concrete details that show
originality and freshness. Author shows rather than merely tells. Generalizations and assertions are
defended. Arguments are logical.
ORGANIZATION
The essay is organized and well structured (there is a beginning, a body, and a conclusion). The essay
exhibits a clear strategy for persuasion and pattern of development (chronological order, spatial order,
comparison/contrast, etc.). The organization works with the thesis so that the thesis and the
organization contribute to serving the purpose of the essay. Essay does not digress from central point.
Transitions help the paper flow smoothly. Introductory paragraph(s) is (are) interesting and
appropriate. Concluding paragraph is satisfying.
PARAGRAPHS
Paragraphs are organized, unified and coherent. Each supporting paragraph has a controlling idea
(which may be expressed in a topic sentence). In supporting paragraphs, topic idea helps further the
thesis.
STYLE
Sentences are mature and parallel. Writer avoids modifier problems. Sentences show variety of
pattern and are rhetorically effective. The essay is written in a style and tone appropriate to the
audience, topic and purpose. Words are appropriate and well chosen. Writer avoids jargon and sexist
language. Writer seems to be speaking in an authentic voice. Paper is enjoyable and interesting.
SUBTOTAL
GRAMMAR, SPELLING, MECHANICS
Subtract points for errors in grammar (comma splices, fragments, fused sentences, agreement, etc.),
spelling, and mechanics (margins, format, etc.).

TOTAL /20

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