Evaluation Essay Assignment Instructions (contains topic choices)

I don’t understand this English question and need help to study.

In an evaluation essay, you are basically offering a judgment based on a certain criteria and then supporting the judgment with logical evidence. Evaluation essays, like the other types we’ve written so far, are quite common in the world of academia:

  • Your art instructor might ask you to evaluate a piece of work using a set criteria.
  • Your communications instructor could assign an evaluation paper on an ad campaign that works extremely well or a campaign that has missed its mark.
  • Your nursing instructor could ask you to evaluate a certain procedure (perhaps something that was recently improved using new technology) as compared to how the procedure was typically done 10 years ago.

In an evaluation, you need to assert yourself by offering a judgment on what you’re evaluating. But although you can’t be neutral about your position, note that evaluating is different from arguing. When evaluating, you are analyzing something using a set of criteria and drawing a conclusion based on your analysis (whether or not the reader agrees with your view point is secondary). When arguing, you are taking a stand and trying to convince the reader to agree with you.

If done properly, your evaluation should not come across of heavily opinionated. Instead, you should evaluate the item through an unbiased lens. You can achieve this goal buy establishing clear and fair criteria, judgments, and evidence. Let’s look at each of these more carefully (the part in italics comes from Aims Community College Writing Lab site — I felt the explanation was so clear that I wanted to present it word-for-word) :

Criteria (the plural of criterion) means establishing what the ideal for the product/place/service/etc. should be. In other words, it means demonstrating what one should expect as the ideal outcome. Having clear criteria is what keeps an evaluation from feeling less like an opinion. For example, if I am evaluating a restaurant, I want to establish the criteria (quality of food, service, price, cleanliness, etc.) that any good restaurant will adhere to; this criteria can then be applied to the specific restaurant I am evaluating.

The judgment is the establishment of whether or not the criterion is met. In other words, the judgment is what actually is. Using the example from above, if the first criterion for evaluating a restaurant is the quality of the food, the judgment states whether or not the particular restaurant offers food that meets or exceeds this stated quality.

The evidence is the details offered to support the judgment. If my judgment is that a particular restaurant does not consistently offer quality food, I need to support this with a variety of evidence to show how the judgment was reached.

(by Aims Community College Writing Lab)

Using these three principles will guide your writing process. Most often, in an evaluation essay, each body paragraph consists of the following:

  • The criterion (What criterion is the paragraph about? For example, if you’re evaluating the Learning Center at LSC, one of the criteria could be the actual physical space.)
  • The judgment (How would you say the Center measures up as far as the physical space? Is your judgment positive or negative?)
  • The evidence (What evidence do you have to support your judgment? For example, if you think the space is comfortable, what evidence do you have to back up this judgment?)

After you have analyzed all of your criteria, you’ll be able to form your thesis, i.e. the overall evaluation of what is being evaluated. If most of your body paragraphs are positive, your thesis will be positive. On the other hand, if most of your body paragraphs are negative, your thesis will be negative. Think of the thesis as the sum of your opinion about each criterion.

TASK:

Write a 3-5 page essay about any of the topics below:

  • Evaluate a program, facility, or resource in some institution you know well (school, work, church, recreation center, etc.) that you believe works especially efficiently or especially poorly. (For example, you could evaluate Tutor.com, a resource offered to students at LSC. Please note that restaurant reviews don’t work for the assignment; instead, choose a program, facility, or resource to evaluate)
  • Evaluate a process at your work place. (This would be a great topic to choose especially if you aren’t happy with a certain process or if a process has recently been implemented that has made a positive difference. For example, one semester, a student evaluated her work place’s recycling process, concluding that it was sub-par.)
  • Evaluate some kind of a visual (such as a website, a political ad, or a public health announcement — if you choose this topic, you need to be able to either paste the visual to your paper or give the link, so the reader can check out the visual)
  • Evaluate a subject you need to make a decision on in the future (for example, you could evaluate a daycare center to which you’re thinking about enrolling your child)

In the Argument essay, you were required to use 1-3 researched facts. This time, research is optional. Note that if you do want to incorporate researched info to the essay, stick to just 1-3 facts. Cite the source/s properly within the essay as well as in Works Cited-area at the end of the paper.

REQUIRED ELEMENTS

Your essay should include the following parts:

1) Title:

Try to come up with a strong, creative title that makes your audience want to read your evaluation.

2) Introduction:

Like with the other papers, use a hook, followed by some background information to the topic. Very often — but not always — the introduction also includes the thesis, the main point of the paper. In an evaluation paper, the thesis should reveal your opinion about the subject being evaluated. A safe spot to place the thesis is the very last sentence of the introduction; you can then move on to the body and explain your judgment in detail.

3) Body paragraphs:

Feel free to write as many or as few body paragraphs as you think you need to support your opinion effectively. Each paragraph should identify the criterion, your judgment, and then the evidence to back up the judgment.

4) Conclusion

Your essay should have a separate concluding paragraph, bringing the discussion to a clear, strong close. Re-state the criteria and overall evaluation, either positive or negative, about the subject. This is your last chance to prove that you have offered an in-depth, impartial evaluation; it is then up to the reader to make up his/her mind on the subject.

PARTS TO BE TURNED IN FOR GRADING:

When the final draft is due, please turn in the following two parts to the “Assignments”-area of the class:

  • The final draft
  • Assignment reflection that answers the following questions:

1) What feedback that you received from a classmate during peer review did you apply to your essay? (If you didn’t receive a review for some reason, please state so.)

2) What feedback that you received from Kirsi, the instructor, did you apply to your essay? (If you didn’t post the draft and therefore didn’t get my feedback, please state so.)

3) What improvement ideas did you come up with on your own or with help from Tutor.com? Please provide one example.

The reflection should be at least 8 sentences long and contain specific information (for example, simply writing, “I worked on my introduction” isn’t enough — explain how you changed the introduction to make it more effective). Please turn in the reflection either in the comments box or as a separate file to Evaluation Essay Final Draft-folder in Assignments.

Failing to turn in this part will result in an automatic 10-point deduction (the essay is worth 100 points max. If the essay were to earn 90/100 but the reflection was missing, the total would go down to 80/100).

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