Goal Paper 3 centers around the reading “In the Basement of the Ivory Tower” (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/06/in-the-basement-of-the-ivory-tower/306810/?single_page=true). In this essay, you will practice close reading skills, relate an argument to a personal viewpoint, and work to produce a strong thesis and supporting argument through (or against) textual evidence within the article and outside research.
AssignmentProfessor X discusses a number of specific aspects of the community college system and student body. For instance, some of the questions Professor X raised include:
Are community colleges in fact “colleges of last resort?”
Should college be available for everyone? Should it be required for the bulk of the population?
Are older students are less capable in terms of writing/English skills?
Are younger students are less motivated?
Is the community college a place made up of mostly students with subpar high school grades and few extracurricular activities?
Do teachers and/or students have it easier in disciplines other than English, as Professor X insinuates with his reference to memorization and being ready to simply “spit answers back”?
Professor X says, “Our presence together in these evening classes is evidence that we all have screwed up.” Is this true of community college students/professors?
Is there inherent value in forcing students to take general education (specifically English) classes, especially when they may struggle and fail multiple times?
Do certain groups of students put in less academic effort?
Should community colleges continue to register students “who cannot possibly pass” certain classes, according to Professor X?
What impact do students with “deficits” have on the class as a whole?
Choose one of the topics above, or another claim that Professor X makes, and take a stand on it, making an arguable claim of your own. You will specifically cite quotes from “In the Basement of the Ivory Tower” as a primary text, and find additional outside research to use in support of your claim. You should also include your own personal examples and viewpoints.
Your paper should be 5 to 7 full, double-spaced pages (12 pt. Times New Roman font and one-inch margins), and must include at least five credible outside sources (no Wikipedia!) in addition to the Professor X article. You will also include a one-page Works Cited at the end of your paper, in MLA format (minimum of 6 pages total: 5 of writing, plus works cited).
Audience Your audience for this paper is this class—your professor and your classmates. This means you should be writing for readers in an academic setting.
Grading An “A” paper answers the prompt, but also shows a substantial amount of both critical thinking and an application of the close reading and analytical techniques we have discussed and practiced in class. An “A” paper will also include:
A strong, clear introduction containing both a presentation of the topic and a well-thought out, complex and arguable thesis statement
Substantial support in the form of outside research and analysis from the writer
A mixture of summary, paraphrasing, and quoting
Succinct, focused paragraphs
Correct grammar and proper punctuation
A clear thread throughout the paper back to the thesis statement
Appropriate transitions between ideas
A compelling conclusion in which the thesis is revisited and the reader is given something new to act upon or consider.