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Evidence Instruction

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What the Assessment Measures

We will be assessing the ability of our students to do the following at the end of the spring semester:

  1. Define “evidence” as it is used in an argument
  2. Identify evidence used in an argument
  3. Determine the relevancy of evidence used in an argument

What the Students Should Be Able to Do

“Determining relevancy” is an ability that involves many aspects of an argument as a whole.

The following concepts should be taught in English 102.  They may be introduced in English 101 classes when the argument essay is taught.

I.    Students should be able to determine the difference between a report and an argument.

II.   Students should be able to determine the differences among facts, opinions, prejudices, and beliefs.

III.   Students should be able to determine the difference between reason and evidence.

IV.   Students should be able to identify the parts of a thesis/discussion point/topic sentence/reason:  topic, limited topic, and attitude/opinion/conclusion/point.

V.   Students should be able to identify evidence that relates to or supports the attitude/opinion/conclusion/point of the thesis/discussion point/topic sentence/reason.

It is important to remember that though we are assessing our students’ ability to select relevant evidence, it is still important to teach how to select “good” evidence.  The ability to select good evidence is a skill that we might want to assess in the future.

How We Can Do It

Incorporate the following materials into your English 102 class.  These may also be used in 101 to some extent (or even 091) when discussing source-based arguments.

Report v. Argument –> Presentation
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Use this presentation early on in the semester to establish the differences between these types of compositions.  Our students are often used to reporting and need an intensive focus like this to help prepare them for formal, research-based argumentation.  (Concepts I and IV)

Teaching/Learning Unit on Evidence for English 102 –> Overview
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This two-sequence unit focuses on the definition, identification, and relevancy of evidence as it is used in an argument.  The material references a number of sample passages from Browne and Keeley’s Asking the Right Questions for class, group, or individual parsing.  (Concepts II, III, IV, and V; Assessment Outcomes 1, 2, and 3)

Unity and Evidence Activities –>

Paragraph Scramble | Paragraph Scramble Key
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Although originally designed for English 091, these group activities are great tools for any composition class looking for some active, hands-on application of the concepts of relevance and unity.  (Concepts I, IV, and V; Assessment Outcomes 2 and 3)

Evidence (The Substance upon which the Argument Rests) –> Instructor Overview | Presentation | Group Activity
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Evidence: The Substance upon which the Argument Rests by Matthew Bloom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

This presentation in four parts is designed for use over several weeks during the semester and is focused on the definition, identification, relevancy, and evaluation of evidence as it is used in an argument.  The presentation includes a number of individual and group activities.  (Concepts III, IV, and V; Assessment Outcomes 1, 2, and 3)

 

The “Intervention Tool” –> Definition, Identification, and Evaluation Questions for Determining Relevance of Evidence
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“Definition, Identification, and Evaluation Questions for Determining Relevance of Evidence” by The Scottsdale Community College English Department is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This pool of questions may be employed to help students practice determining the type and relevance of different examples of evidence, as well as familiarize them with the kinds of questions that they will find on the assessment.

 

 

 

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