Exposure to classical rhetoric, including a study of schemes and tropes and the use of the Aristotelian appeals, increases understanding of and access to critical reading and writing skills. The process letter accompanying each lesson is an informal self-assessment of about a page in length, in which students are invited to explain and evaluate their process, from planning through drafting and proofreading/revision. Washington and Others,” and answer questions about each author’s purpose and audience as well as the influence of his background upon the position he takes.
Most lessons focus on an examination of past AP testing prompts, responses and scoring guides, and composition of persuasive arguments and rhetorical analyses similar to those found on the exam and in college classrooms. Using this guide, they analyze rubrics and model student essays as well as writing their own essays in response to specific prompts. They discuss what worked best for them in the planning stage, how they budgeted their time, what rhetorical and stylistic elements worked best within their essays, and what they would do differently for a better result. Students are required to post at least three thoughtful, substantive comments of at least half to three quarters of a page for each discussion.
A process letter for each lesson gives students a chance to reflect upon the effectiveness of their prewriting strategies, to score their essays based upon given rubrics, and to share ideas for revision.
At this level, the instructor assumes that students already command Standard English grammar and are ready to delve into more sophisticated issues.
While preparing students to take the Advanced Placement Test in English Language and Composition, this course provides training in analysis of literary nonfiction as well as analytical and persuasive writing.
In addition to practicing essay test-taking techniques, organization and time management, students study the interactions among subject, authorial purpose, audience needs, generic conventions, and the resources of the English language.
Guidance in the evaluation, use and proper citation of both written and visual sources prepares students to write a synthesis essay and a researched argument. Online class discussions are often based upon posted readings covering a variety of rhetorical genres, from such writers as Annie Dillard, W. Students often use rubrics to score their own AP practice essays, in addition to comparing their work to the high- and middle-scoring essays included in their Discussions are roughly the equivalent of homework in a school-based AP English class. At times discussion takes the form of a writing exercise designed to increase skills in a certain area, such as citation, thesis revision, and analysis of visual texts.
Finally, in addition to work on essays, students practice and analyze the multiple-choice portion of the exam. Students enter the web-based classroom several times over the course of each lesson’s two-week time frame, reading posted thematically linked texts and responding to discussion questions along with each other’s comments. Discussion is also the place for workshops of student writing, and conversations about process, test-taking strategies, current events, and favorite writers Lessons are worth 70% of the final grade, with the process letter accounting for about 20% of the lesson grade.
The Instructor grades the paragraph, paying special attention to citation format and the fluid incorporation of source material, before students embark upon the synthesis essay.
The goal of this lesson is to create focused, arguable, complex and elegant thesis statements that answer all parts of a posed question.