Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Collected Notes on the Synthesis Prompt from the 2011-2012 Class

Past classes
Notes from the book

4th Period
Sahej, Lauren, Libby, Karan
  • Take a position on whether you think television has had a positive effect on elections.
  • Defend, challenge or qualify your position using at least three sources.
  • Demonstrate good control of citations and provide commentary.
  • Combine sources with opinion to form a cohesive argument. In other words: Synthesize!
Pitfalls to Avoid:
  • Failure to cite three sources/ present an argument.
  • Misunderstanding, misreading, or summarizing the cited sources.
  • Oversimplifying one’s argument.
  • Inconsistent writing and/or bad grammar.
Characteristics of Good Essays:
  • Have a developed thesis.
  • Sophistication in writing and grammar.
  • Include 3 cited sources that support student’s position
  • Information garnered from sources is related to thesis, and student’s opinion is included.
  • Convincing/ developed argument.
Characteristics of Middle Scoring Essays:
  • Have a thesis, but it is straightforward.
  • Have three cited sources but link between position and sources is strained.
  • Commentary for source material is brief/ ineffective.
  • Lapses in diction/syntax
  • Less developed argument.
Characteristics of Low Scoring Essays:
  • No recognizable thesis.
  • Sources are not cited, but alluded to.
  • Less development of position.
  • Lapses in diction/syntax.
  • Evident that student is overwhelmed with sources.
  • Evident that student misunderstood source material.
  • Overall lack of organization.
  • Repetitive Conclusion .
  • Last but not the least, Failure to present an argument..
Strategies for success on the synthesis essay:
  • Meet the basic requirements.
  • Add insight and commentary to the sources, do not merely cite them.
  • Demonstrate control of language.
  • Put forth a convincing argument.
  • Read the question carefully.
Alexis, Aylin, Chantelle, Maria
1.Cite at least 3 sources; defend, qualify, or challenge the claim; use direct and indirect citation.
2. Avoid summary and paraphrasing, citing less than 3 sources, alluding to the sources, misunderstanding or misrepresenting the sources and/or prompt.
3. Makes point clear and interesting at the beginning and carries it through the essay. Connects/relates points/claims to sources. Conclusion answers "so what?" issue not merely summarizes. Meets requirements. Uses outside sources.
4. Middle-scoring essays do not go in depth. Weak or literal connection to the sources. Does not approach the complexity of the issue just addresses the top layer. Repetitive. Meets most of the requirements.
5. Overwhelming with sources. They tend not to give their personal opinion. Lack of citations. Topic is not well addresses and there is little analysis.
6. Address the prompt and stay on task. Avoid tangents. Relate sources to the prompt and the wanted points. Meet all the requirements 

Synthesis Essay Questions
Group Members: Samuel Ju, Brittany Keating, Jonathan Ngo, Timothy Wong

1. The requirements for this synthesis essay is to use a minimum of 3 sources, and follow the prompt. This prompt was to defend, challenge, or qualify the claims that television has had a positive impact on presidential elections.

2. Some pitfalls to avoid would be to not solely rely on the sources and its quotes, but to use them wisely and effectively. Another pitfall to avoid would be to have decent information and not make stuff or statistics up.

3. Characteristics of a good essay is an essay that effectively uses the sources, transitions them into their paper smoothly. Incorporate good analysis and effectively support the argument.

4. Characteristics of a mid-level essay is an adequate use of the sources, and adequate support for their argument. They essays may be flawed and require a more in-depths analysis of their argument. Lacks sophistication, only meets the requirements of the essay.

5. Characteristics of a low essay is one that inadequately uses the sources effectively, argument does not make sense, does not propose a solid position on the argument.

6. Strategies for success on a synthesis essay would be to know the position, develop your position, then read the sources looking for quotes you can use on your essay to support, qualify your argument.

Tommy < Friends
Lara, Jessie, Arika, Tommy, Jada, Brock

  • 3 cited sources
  • Follow the prompt and answer the question directly
  • Summarizing the information given
  • Giving too much information
  • Citing the wrong info/data
Characteristics of Good Essays:
  • Incorporated good amount of cited information
  • Clear thesis statement that answered the prompt
Characteristics of Mid-Level Essays:
  • Good amount of information used but may not be clearly cited
  • Thesis well written but not in depth
Characteristics of Low-Scoring Essays:
  • Not enough sources
  • Cited information inadequately
  • No solid argument or statement of thesis
Strategies for Success:
  • Use information wisely. DON'T LET INFORMATION USE YOU.
  • Do not summarize.
  • Make clear thesis statement that ANSWERS the prompt given.

6th Period
Julian, Andrew, Tyler
1. Use your personal knowledge, along with knowledge provided in the sources, to create an informed argument  for an issue.

2. Alluding to knowledge gained from reading the sources rather than actually citing the sources.

3. High-level essays generally being by explaining the topic at hand, then establishing a strong thesis. The body of the essay not only cites sources in their evidence; they also explain how they relate to the thesis. They end by answering the all important "so what" question. Why should people care?

4. Mid-level essays carry similar traits to that of a high-level essay but lack sophistication or complexity. They are very straightforward and literal in the way the uses sources and in the way they relate them back to their thesis.

5. Low-level essays often seemed overwhelmed by the sources. They have a weak thesis, don't cite sources, and/or don't explain how the sources relate back to the thesis.

6. Strategies for success should be to establish a strong thesis, make sure to always cite sources and relate them back to the thesis, and to use BOTH outside and provided evidence for your essay.

Team Dwight
Megan, Carol-ann, Sierra, and Dimarya
What are the requirements?
-Essays need to synthesize at least 3 sources for support
-Take a position that defends, challenges, or qualifies the claim. In this case, the claim would need to stem from the idea that television has had a positive impact on presidential elections

What pitfalls should one avoid?
-The essay being overwhelmed by sources
-Summarizing or describing the source material rather than contextualizing the issue at hand
-Not citing sources

Characteristics of good essays...
-Contextualizes the issue at hand for the readers
-Smartly choosing samples to enhance one's argument
-Not only summazing but addressing the "so what"

Characteristics of mid-level essays...
-Brief contextualizing that helps readers understand why they should engage with the issue at hand
-Straightforward thesis but does not do much to accommodate the complexity of the issue
-Conclusion tends to be repetitive, often returning to language that is similar to the thesis

Characteristics of low essays...
-The essay is overwhelmed with sources
-The sources given dominate the conservation instead of the writer putting his/her argument into the essay
-The thesis is weak and unrecognizable
-Sources aren't cited
-Writer misunderstands the source given

Strategies for successful synthesis essays
-Adding one's on opinion to the argument
-Utilizing outside information to strengthen argument
-Not just rephrasing given arguement, but making one's own 

Ross, Nate, Dalton, Saisha
  • Integrate at least 3 sources.
  • Develop and support a position 
  • Make your argument central.
    • Don't go off on a tangent.
High Scoring Essay Qualities:
  • Extended consideration of sources. Explain their significance.
  • Connect author and self
  • Effectively pick out important information from the sources.
  • Address the "so what?"
Mid Level Essay Qualities:
  • Straightforward thesis.
  • Literal connections - not in depth.
  • Conclusion repeats thesis.
Low Scoring Essay Qualities:
  • Sources overwhelm the writer
  • Summarizing
  • Describing
  • Paraphrasing
  • Not citing sources
  • No commentary
  • Being overwhelmed by sources.
  • Summarizing
  • NOT citing your sources
  • Developing a weak thesis
  • Large quotes with no commentary
  • Oversimplification of the topic at hand
  • Reporting on sources (not analyzing/connecting)
Andrei and Bayley
Requirements -
Read the prompt and documents, combining the document information and prior knowledge to answer the prompt.
Use at least three documents in your response.

Pitfalls to Avoid >:( -
Overuse of sources.
Use of no sources.
No explanation of sources (no commentary).
Choppy/uneven diction and syntax (switching from formal to informal diction, for example).
Misreading the prompt.
Misreading the documents.
Not answering the prompt.
Not citing the sources.

Characteristics of High-Scoring Essays -
Complex thesis.
Use of more than three sources.
Detailed explanation of source information and how it relates to the prompt.
Combination of information from the sources and prior knowledge.
Always cite your sources.

Characteristics of Middle-Scoring Essays -
Good thesis, if underdeveloped.
Use of three sources.
Lacking good connection between source information and prior knowledge.
Lacking use of prior knowledge.

Characteristics of Low-Scoring Essays -
No thesis.
No sources.
No prior knowledge use.
No citing sources.
Improper grammar/syntax/diction.
Overuse of sources.
Misunderstanding of sources.
Misunderstanding of prompt.
Repetitive syntax/diction.

Strategies for Success :) -
Read the prompt several times.
Read the documents several times if possible in order to understand them.
Cite your sources.
Avoid tangents.
Avoid repetition of syntax and diction.


  1. vous avez fait une erreur monsieur

  2. Peut-être. Il y a beaucoups d'ans depuis j'ai étudier la Francais.