AP English Language and Composition Student - The College Board

AP English Language and Composition Student - The College Board

AP® ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION 2016 SCORING GUIDELINES Question 2 The essay’s score should reflect the essay’s quality as a whole. Remember that...

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AP® ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION 2016 SCORING GUIDELINES Question 2 The essay’s score should reflect the essay’s quality as a whole. Remember that students had only 40 minutes to read and write; the essay, therefore, is not a finished product and should not be judged by standards appropriate for an out-of-class assignment. Evaluate the essay as a draft, making certain to reward students for what they do well. All essays, even those scored 8 or 9, may contain occasional lapses in analysis, prose style, or mechanics. Such features should enter into your holistic evaluation of an essay’s overall quality. In no case should you give a score higher than a 2 to an essay with errors in grammar and mechanics that persistently interfere with your understanding of meaning. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ 9 – Essays earning a score of 9 meet the criteria for the score of 8 and, in addition, are especially sophisticated in their argument, thorough in their development, or impressive in their control of language. 8 – Effective Essays earning a score of 8 effectively analyze* the rhetorical strategies that Thatcher uses to convey her message. They develop their analysis with evidence and explanations that are appropriate and convincing, referring to the passage explicitly or implicitly. The prose demonstrates a consistent ability to control a wide range of the elements of effective writing but is not necessarily flawless. 7 – Essays earning a score of 7 meet the criteria for the score of 6 but provide more complete explanation, more thorough development, or a more mature prose style. 6 – Adequate Essays earning a score of 6 adequately analyze the rhetorical strategies that Thatcher uses to convey her message. They develop their analysis with evidence and explanations that are appropriate and sufficient, referring to the passage explicitly or implicitly. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but generally the prose is clear. 5 – Essays earning a score of 5 analyze the rhetorical strategies that Thatcher uses to convey her message. The evidence or explanations used may be uneven, inconsistent, or limited. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but it usually conveys the student’s ideas. 4 – Inadequate Essays earning a score of 4 inadequately analyze the rhetorical strategies that Thatcher uses to convey her message. These essays may misunderstand the passage, misrepresent the strategies Thatcher uses, or analyze these strategies insufficiently. The evidence or explanations used may be inappropriate, insufficient, or unconvincing. The prose generally conveys the student’s ideas but may be inconsistent in controlling the elements of effective writing.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

AP® ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION 2016 SCORING GUIDELINES Question 2 (continued) 3 – Essays earning a score of 3 meet the criteria for the score of 4 but demonstrate less success in analyzing the rhetorical strategies that Thatcher uses to convey her message. They are less perceptive in their understanding of the passage or Thatcher’s strategies, or the explanations or examples may be particularly limited or simplistic. The essays may show less maturity in their control of writing. 2 – Little Success Essays earning a score of 2 demonstrate little success in analyzing the rhetorical strategies that Thatcher uses to convey her message. The student may misunderstand the prompt, misread the passage, fail to analyze the strategies Thatcher uses, or substitute a simpler task by responding to the prompt tangentially with unrelated, inaccurate, or inappropriate explanation. The prose often demonstrates consistent weaknesses in writing, such as grammatical problems, a lack of development or organization, or a lack of control. 1 – Essays earning a score of 1 meet the criteria for the score of 2 but are undeveloped, especially simplistic in their explanation, or weak in their control of language. 0 – Indicates an off-topic response, one that merely repeats the prompt, an entirely crossed-out response, a drawing, or a response in a language other than English. —

Indicates an entirely blank response.

* For the purposes of scoring, analysis means explaining the rhetorical choices an author makes in an attempt to achieve a particular effect or purpose.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

AP® ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION 2016 SCORING COMMENTARY Question 2 Overview This year’s “Rhetorical Analysis Question” asked students to evaluate the rhetorical strategies used in a piece of epideictic rhetoric, specifically a eulogy to Ronald Reagan given by Margaret Thatcher. As in past years, this year’s task asked students to consider the rhetorical situation a speaker faces and to examine the choices the rhetor makes to move his or her audience to respond in a way that the rhetor desires. This task is very different from that required in analyses of literary texts: a rhetorical text is created to prompt a specific and timely action or reaction. For students who may not have known who either Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan was, the prompt supplied the information about their leadership positions (“the former prime minister of Great Britain” and “former United States president” respectively), as well as specifics regarding the date (“June 11, 2004”) and audience of the address (“the American people”). Though the prompt did not tell students that this text was a speech of praise, students could quickly recognize the laudatory nature of Thatcher’s work. While the prompt did ask students to “analyze the rhetorical strategies that Thatcher uses to convey her message,” this direction did not ask for them to discuss solely or primarily elements of style. To understand the strategies used by a rhetor, a student must first consider the rhetor’s relationship to the audience, as well as how this relationship requires both what this specific rhetor should include — or exclude — in the speech for this specific audience. Additionally, a student must consider how the rhetor arranges the speech for the particular audience in the specific circumstances of the speech. While elements of style are certainly fodder to consider, they are not the first ingredient rhetors focus on when developing strategies to persuade audiences: style is the third canon of rhetoric, not the first or even second. Sample: 2A Score: 8 This essay effectively analyzes Thatcher’s strategies, demonstrating an awareness of how the historical moment and a sense of audience shapes her rhetoric. From the outset, the student makes judicious use of contextual information not provided in the passage (e.g., discussion of the Cold War and the “Red Scare”) to show how Thatcher’s rhetorical choices are calculated to celebrate Reagan’s achievements while solidifying the ties between Britain and the United States. For example, the student effectively integrates knowledge of historical context with analysis of Thatcher’s strategies by linking public doubts about Reagan (“Even before his presidency, there were people that thought he wouldn’t be capable of leading a nation in a time of crisis”) to a series of juxtapositions that illustrate the triumph of Reagan’s optimism (“Thatcher juxtaposes thinking and prediction with what actually happened”). The student’s analysis is further distinguished by the insight that Thatcher’s eulogy not only is a personal remembrance but also serves the purpose of “creating a stronger alliance between the two nations”: for instance, the student notes that “by constantly referencing the Soviet Union as the ‘evil empire,’” Thatcher implies “similarities in thinking between the Americans and British.” In spite of occasional lapses, the essay consistently shows a control of the elements of effective writing and thereby earned a score of 8. Sample: 2B Score: 6 This essay adequately analyzes the rhetorical choices Thatcher makes in her eulogy. The essay begins with an analysis of Thatcher’s repetition of “great” that, while remaining on a fairly superficial level, nevertheless demonstrates the student’s adequate grasp of the task at hand. As the essay develops, the appropriateness of the student’s evidence and explanation becomes clear: the third paragraph, for instance, presents a

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

AP® ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION 2016 SCORING COMMENTARY Question 2 (continued) sufficiently nuanced discussion of ethos in the student’s discussion of Thatcher’s use of “Ronnie” (“This simple nickname allows the reader to see the close relationship that they had,” “shows the depth of their conversations,” and “allows the reader to trust her”). The student’s discussion of Thatcher’s use of figurative language is also sufficient, highlighting how the image of Reagan inviting his enemies “‘out of their fortress’ … specifies how far away his enemies were from his opinions … yet he was still capable of engaging with them and resolving conflict.” The analysis falters a bit towards the end when the student attempts to make a connection between “short sentences” and Thatcher’s “appreciation towards Ronald Reagan,” but neither this nor the occasional lapses in the student’s prose prevented the essay from earning a score of 6. Sample: 2C Score: 2 This essay demonstrates little success in analyzing the rhetorical strategies Thatcher uses to convey her message. The essay lacks explanation, and where there is an attempt to discuss Thatcher’s rhetorical choices, it is often inaccurate. For instance, the student writes, “she uses logos all throughout the essay which makes her a credible source” and tries, inappropriately, to establish a connection between “repitition [sic] of words at the beginning of phrases” in lines 30–35 and Thatcher’s supposed aim “to show the emotion of all the people, as well as understand each ones [sic] opinion.” Lacking development and making assertions that are at best supported with simplistic explanations, the essay fails to provide a coherent analysis of Thatcher’s eulogy and thus earned a score of 2.

© 2016 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.