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Chris Greger

English 1A
Fall 2016

Essay Assignment for Unit 1: Responding to Academic Arguments

On Using Smart Drugs

The Task
Write a polished, thoughtful and well-argued five page paper responding to the prompt below.
The Prompt
Using the essays weve read for this unit, write a paper arguing whether or not you think its ever okay for
people without clearly diagnosed ADHD to use adderall to increase mental performance.
Grading Criteria / Writing Guidelines
Read carefully. Be sure to carefully consider all information provided about adderall in the essays weve
read this semester cost, availability, the way it works, its effects and side effects, and social,
psychological, medical and ethical implications. Part of your grade will be based on how well your paper
indicates that youve carefully read the assigned essays. Do remember, though where crucial
information isnt provided, you can certainly speculate or write about likely possibilities.
Develop and maintain a clear thesis. Ive written the prompt in such a way that youre forced to take a
stand and argue whether or not, ultimately, you think this drug should be made available for use in the
manner described. After weighing the evidence and considering the different perspectives, you do need to
come down on one side or another (imagine youre a senator being asked to vote on a proposed bill).
This position thesis should shape your argument. However, it doesnt mean you need to write an allor-nothing paper, be one hundred percent pro or con. These essays all address complex issues, so subtle,
moderate thinking is appreciated. You can develop a thesis using a template like Yes, as long as... or
No, unless....
Incorporate multiple perspectives. As you develop and set forth your position, be sure to incorporate
multiple perspectives on all key issues. Your paper should include at least three quotes or paraphrases
incorporating different perspectives from one or another of the essays (a they say), and you should both
explain these quotes accurately and respond to them thoroughly. Remember, though most of the relevant
perspectives will come from the essay focusing on the drug youve chosen to write about, you should try
and incorporate relevant ideas from the other essays, since often they will be dealing with similar issues.
Include a counterargument and a response. As weve discussed, responding intelligently to significant
counterarguments is a crucial tool in building convincing, effective in-depth arguments. You must use at
least one good counterargument, and it can come either from one of the essays weve read, or you can
develop your own. You must also include a response that explains effectively why this argument doesnt
change your mind.
Hold your paper to a high standard. That means that the final product that you hand in should
proofread very carefully. Please refer to the Hints for formatting, Proofreading and Polishing handout
and use the techniques described to help make sure your first paper is the sort of polished and
professional work that youll be expected to hand in throughout your college career. Please note: papers
with more than ten editing, sentence or proofreading mistakes will not pass.

Schedule of Due Dates for Essay #1

Essay draft #1, due Wednesday 9/7:
For today a draft of the essay is due. It should probaboly be a minimum of 3 (maybe closer to 4) printed
pages, written in 10-12 point font. Your draft should do the following things:

Have a clear thesis answering the question: is it ever okay for people without clearly diagnosed
ADHD to use adderall to increase mental performance? (no intro or conclusion).

Have at least three clear, separate arguments supporting your thesis either your own or taken
from the essays we read.

Each argument should be clearly explained (paraphrasing or using a quote, perhaps) and really
support the answer youve provided for the focus question, above.

Each argument should also have clear support; consider using carefully explained and convincing
examples, either real or hypothetical. Consider, too, using compare / contrast reasoning, or cause
and effect, or definition.

Essay draft #2, due Friday 9/9:

For today draft #2 of the essay is due. Your draft should do the following things:

Develop at least one smart counterargument for your essay, possibly from one of the essays weve
read (you can have more than one counterargument and response, of course). Each
counterargument should be clearly explained AND you should respond to it carefully and
convincingly, explaining why it doesnt finally change your mind. You should use a template
from They Say / I Say.

Draft an introduction and conclusion for your essay. Remember that your introduction should
mention the topic, the focus question, and end with your answer to the focus question (your
thesis). Your conclusion should remind us of the focus question, your answer to it, and explain as
well why this is an important issue, why it matters.

Final Draft due Monday 9/12:

Today the final, polished draft of essay #1 is due.

Please make sure it is formatted carefully, following the instructions on the Hints for Formatting,
Proofreading and Polishing worksheet (or by looking up MLA formatting online).

Please make sure youve proofread your essay carefully, using all the tips included in the Hints
for Formatting, Proofreading and Polishing worksheet. Remember, a paper with more than 10
major errors will not pass.

Make sure your paper is printed, stapled, and ready to go at the beginning of class. If youre late
or absent, remember you must email me a copy by 12:10 of the day it is due so as not to be
penalized (and then be sure to bring hard copy to class when next I see you).