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Question:

Informative essay

by | Jun 5, 2022 | fresh

Touchstone 3: Informative Essay
ASSIGNMENT: Select ONE of the following writing prompts and complete a a 3-5 page (approximately 800-1300 words) informative essay. As a part of your completed draft, complete the color coding activity described below. In addition, answer the “Think About Your Writing” questions on a separate sheet of paper and include it with your draft submission.

In order to foster learning and growth, all essays you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any recycled work will be sent back with a 0, and you will be given one attempt to redo the touchstone.

Note: Touchstone 4 will be a revision of the draft that you submit for Touchstone 3.
PROMPT B: EXTENDED DEFINITION: Define or redefine one of the following word:
Family
An example is attached below

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition I

SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE 3

Are you ready to write Touchstone 3?

The informative essay below provides an example of a proficient level composition for prompt B:
Extended Definition. As you read through the informative essay, notice the techniques that the author
used to examine the definition in an interesting and novel way. This sample informative essay is generally
focused and well organized, with support for the essay’s thesis, but does include room for improvement.
The answers to the reflection questions that follow the informative essay show that the author has
thoughtfully examined his own writing. Color-coding has been used to indicate key components of the
essay, according to the dictates of the assignment.
______________________________________________________________________

Marcus Bishop

English Composition I

January 28, 2018

Intelligence: A Re-Definition

Margarita and Walter live in the same small town. Margarita is a high school

math teacher and Walter is an auto mechanic. Whom is more intelligent, Margarita or

Walter? Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines the word intelligence variously as

“the skilled use of reason,” and “the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s

environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (such as tests).”

Most people in Margarita and Walter’s small town would consider Margarita to be more

intelligent than Walter because she has graduated from college while Walter has simply

Comment [SL1]: Change to “who”

Comment [SL2]: Nice choice to include the traditional
definition in the introductory paragraph. This will help
the reader see exactly how your re-definition will differ
from the original.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition I

SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE 3

been interested in cars and how they work for all of his life. I believe the definition of

“intelligent” should be broadened to include physical actions as well as intellectual

actions.

Limiting intelligence to that which can be measured by “objective criteria” ignores

the fact that human beings think and learn in different ways. Margarita may be intelligent

in a logical, mathematical sense – she can easily grasp abstractions, reasoning, and

numbers – but Walter is intelligent in a more physical sense – he has fine motor skills

and expresses his intelligence through manipulating and skillfully handling objects.

Margarita may be able to diagnose a student’s difficulty with learning the multiplication

tables, but Walter can diagnose an engine knock as a problem with the car’s spark

plugs. Margarita and Walter both possess a type of intelligence and one is not superior

to the other. Margarita is not “more” intelligent than Walter; she is merely intelligent in a

different way.

Other types of intelligence are sometimes referred to as “talents” or “special

abilities.” Take a professional athlete, for example, a person like Michael Jordan

becomes famous for his agility and physical prowess, rising above other most other

competitors in his field. Is Michael Jordan more intellectually “intelligent” than other

athletes, or does he possess a physical superiority that can be translated into a different

type of “intelligence”? His control over his own body movements and his innate

understanding of physical timing and personal effort demonstrate a broader definition of

the term. This type of “physical intelligence” is found in many professions. Think of

actors who delve deeply into a character by physically becoming homeless if they are to

Comment [SL3]: This is a good thesis statement; it’s
clearly focused and is neither too broad nor too narrow.
Just refrain from using first-person statements, as
informative writing should maintain an objective tone.

Comment [SL4]: You remembered to color code your
thesis and topic sentences, which is great.

Comment [SL5]: Multiple sentences in this paragraph
begin with “Margarita.” Some of these could be revised
for sentence variety.

Comment [SL6]: To avoid a comma splice, change this
comma to either a period or a colon.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition I

SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE 3
portray a homeless person on screen, for example, or who ride along with police officers

as they do their job in real life so they can faithfully represent the life of a police officer in

film. Professional dancers endure punishing physical routines to express themselves,

and people who build houses or buildings are physically engaged in the process. These

are all examples of people who may possess a greater physical intelligence than the

intellectual intelligence most often accepted as the true definition of the word

“intelligent.”

(EDIT for punctuation – replace comma with a colon or period.)

For many years, an IQ test has been society’s measure of intelligence. An

“intelligence quotient” (IQ) is a total score arrived at through a series of standardized

tests that have been developed to measure and assess human intelligence. Dividing a

person’s mental age (derived from test scores) by his chronological age and multiplying

by 100 has long been the standard of arriving at a number to reflect one’s IQ. The

average IQ is often stated as being between 90 and 110, with a certain proportion being

lower and a proportion being higher.

I have an uncle who has never had musical training in his life, yet he can hear a

song and sit down at the piano and reproduce that song note for note. Is this a type of

“intelligence”? If not, how can one explain it? Why do some people simply have this

musical ability and others do not? Another relative of mine is known as the “navigator”

because she can easily visualize spatial settings – that is, when we’re traveling in an

unknown territory, she unerringly gets us to the place we’re going without the use of

maps or other outside sources. As someone who is quickly disoriented in unfamiliar

Comment [SL7]: Great examples! They really help
illustrate your point.

Comment [SL8]: Since this paragraph introduces the
topic of IQ tests, it should come before the second-to-
last paragraph, which elaborates on this topic.

Comment [SL9]: Remember to keep your language
objective; “I” statements shouldn’t be used in
informative writing. You also may want to consider
revising this topic sentence to more accurately convey
the main idea of the paragraph.
Comment [SL10]: Revise for non-objective language.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition I

SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE 3
settings, this sure sense of direction and place is something to admire as a form of

intelligence.

At best, however, IQ scores are mere estimations of human intelligence. What of

the person, perhaps a person like Walter, who does not perform well on a written test?

Is an IQ score based on these tests truly reflective of his level of intelligence? What of

my uncle who can play a tune on a guitar with no training but who may stumble to

answer a question based on logic or reasoning? Because the word “intelligent” has so

many possible interpretations and so many possible ways of manifesting itself in the

physical world, I reject the idea that it can be accurately measured by a series of written

tests designed by some supposedly intelligent professors in a laboratory. People who

consider only intellectual prowess as a sign of intelligence are not very intelligent

themselves.

In conclusion, I believe the definition of the word “intelligent” should be expanded

to include the many different types of intelligence that human beings possess. Someone

may be “book smart,” but someone else may be “street smart,” and I don’t believe that

one is more intelligent than the other.

Comment [SL11]: Revise these sentences to remove
non-objective language.

Comment [SL12]: You have a good start to the
conclusion, but you will want to expand more on the
main idea of the essay, as well as remove the
instances of non-objective language.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition I

SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE 3
Think About Your Writing:

1. What is the significance of your essay? Why should your reader care about
what you have written? (2-3 sentences)

I think readers will care about the essay because it can affect the way we think about who we
consider to be “intelligent” and who we consider to be less than “intelligent.” I’ve experienced
this in my own life as I was a bartender for many years before I attended college. Working in the
service industry, I had grown accustomed to being considered less intelligent than my
professional and college-educated customers. No matter that I successfully managed a
business, worked efficiently to provide quality service, and consistently increased profits, I was
merely the “bartender.” I think it’s important to recognize that intelligence has a larger definition
and far greater implications than a number from an outdated intelligence test.

2. What areas of your draft do you think will benefit most from revision? (2-3
sentences)

I’m a bit unsure about the organization of my draft. I am not sure I have achieved a good flow of
ideas because I struggled a bit with linking my ideas together to make a cohesive piece of
writing. I’m also not sure if I retained focus in each paragraph and sufficiently supported each
topic sentence. In general, I’m satisfied with my first draft, but I know the essay can be improved
in content, focus, and relooking at my “big ideas.”

3. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your writing. How can you
capitalize on your strengths and improve on your weaknesses in future
essays? (3-4 sentences)

It’s fairly easy for me to draft an essay. I think of my main points and write a paragraph about
each of them, and I try to make the introduction interesting and to sum up my main points in the
conclusion. My weakness, I think, is that I’d like to be finished after my first draft, but I’m
learning that revision and producing multiple drafts is what turns an OK piece of writing into a
solidly academic piece of writing. For future essays, I will take this into consideration as I write
and know that I what I produce the first time doesn’t have to be perfect and that it is during
revision and editing that I can polish my work and say what I want to say in the most effective
way possible.

SCORING APPEARS ON THE NEXT PAGE

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition I

SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE 3
SCORING for Sample Touchstone 3

The sample essay was evaluated according to the Touchstone 3 Rubric, which includes either the Image
Analysis OR Expanded Definition Essay. This particular essay was written using the expanded definition
approach. The rubric evaluates the expanded definition, the working thesis statement, organization, style
and tone, focus, conventions, and responses to the “Think About Your Writing” questions. Each rubric
area is evaluated according to the performance level.

Expanded Definition

The writer has met the criteria established for writing an extended definition. The writer has chosen a
meaningful word and used critical thinking and logical reasoning to expand its meaning. With insight,
thoughtful discussion, and real-life examples, the writer has created a strong rationale for expanding the
definition of the word “intelligence”

Area Score: Advanced

Working Thesis

The essay has a clear and focused thesis: “I believe the definition of “intelligent” should be broadened to
include physical actions as well as intellectual actions.” The thesis is appropriately narrowed and states
the central claim of the essay. However, it should be revised to use more objective language by removing
the phrase “I believe.”

Area Score: Proficient

Organization

The essay has an introduction with a thesis, an adequate number of body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Body paragraphs contain a topic sentence and supporting details. The writer generally uses transitions
effectively within paragraphs, but the order of a few body paragraphs could be revised to improve flow
and some topic sentences can be improved to better reflect the information in the body paragraph.

Area Score: Acceptable

Style and Tone

Generally the writer does use effective style and word choices. However there exist multiple instances in
which the writer uses repetitive sentence types, a non-objective tone, or includes personal observations
which are not effective for informative writing. The writer uses logic and examples to support the thesis
and purpose.

Area Score: Needs Improvement

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition I

SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE 3

Focus

Overall, the writer does a good job including relevant details and making connections between the
working thesis statement and supporting details. However, there are a few sentences which include
personal detail, as noted in the annotations. While they support the thesis, they detract from the focus of
the essay and should be edited.

Area Score: Proficient

Conventions

The writer has made few spelling, punctuation, grammar, usage, or mechanics. The errors made were
minor and did not detract from the essay.

Area Score: Advanced

“Think About Your Writing” Questions
The answers to the questions are thoughtful and insightful. The answers effectively address the question
and either adhere to or exceed the length guidelines. Additionally, the writer appropriately color coded his
thesis and topic sentences.

Area Score: Advanced

TOTAL SCORE: PROFICIENT: 8/10

On the whole, this informative essay does a nice job of exploring an alternate definition for a meaningful
term. The exploration of the term is detailed and well thought out. The writer uses an primarily
informative style while maintaining a clear focus on the topic. Development of the core ideas could be
improved, edits could be made to make the tone more objective and to vary sentence style in a few
paragraphs, and the rearrangement of a few paragraphs would improve the flow and clarify connections
between ideas. Overall, the composition meets the requirements of the prompt and offers a compelling
discussion of the definition of a term.

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