Practice Essay Proof Reading Checklist

Posted on Jun 5, 2012 in TOK

Swinging - Photo by A. Clark

I hope you are feeling confident that your essay is coming together well. For those of you who have stopped in to see me some of this will be review but it is worth going through it to make sure you haven’t missed anything. You will have until the end of the 90 min class on June 6 to complete and submit your essay to (Class ID = 5182821) and shared to me via google docs. See this video if you are unsure of how to add a class to your account

Part 1)  Check to make sure you haven’t strayed from the assignment. Here it is from the TOK Blog.

Mini Essay in grade 11
 (approx. 600 – 750 words)
Undertaken in grade 11, this year’s topics will be based on the following previous questions:

1) To what extent is truth different in at least two of the following: mathematics, the arts or ethics?

2) Mathematicians have the concept of rigorous proof, which leads to knowing something with complete certainty. Consider the extent to which complete certainty might be achievable in mathematics and at least one other area of knowledge.

3) “The knowledge that we value the most is the knowledge for which we can provide the strongest justifications.” To what extent would you agree with this claim?

4) When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

You can find the TOK essay criteria here.

About the word count:

The word count on this assignment is helpful but also presents some challenges. It is helpful in that you should feel like you are able to keep track of the logical flow of your entire essay fairly easily and rely on only 2 or 3 cited (see D.2) examples. This means your paragraphs need to be focused but the research your essay requires may be pretty brief.  The challenge in comparison to a longer essay is that you must use the words you do have very effectively to adequately address the question.

Part 2) Check list for the essay criteria

Criteria A:

A.1 Have you clearly stated the knowledge issue you will address in your essay? A good place to do this is often the last sentence of your introduction. You can even say, “The knowledge issue I will address in this essay is…”(Note: In your final essay next year you may want to address more than one but I wouldn’t try that in the short practice essay).

A.2 Have you made certain that each of your following paragraphs is used to address your knowledge issue and that your connections to your main argument are clear?

A.3 Have you provided answers to your knowledge issue and your title in your conclusion at the end of your essay?

Criteria B:

B.1 Is your own perspective acknowledged and viewed in relation to the perspective of others? Your counterclaims can provide a great opportunity to do this.

B.2 Do your examples show individual thought? Don’t use the common cliches about “2+2 = 4” or “once the world was thought to be flat but is now known to be round”. The research you are doing for you extended essay can be useful in bringing in less commonly known examples.

Criteria C:

C.1 Do your examples go beyond mere description? This means you have to analyze examples in the context of your knowledge issue. If you look at this website (ignore the horrid color scheme) you will see that it will be helpful to make sure your treatment of the examples goes beyond Level I of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

C.2 Can you put your finger on a sentence or two that clearly addresses a counterclaim? If not, you cannot score higher than a 4 in this criteria.

C.3 Have you identified the implications of your overall conclusion (argument)? In you conclusion you should make it clear why what you’ve said matters or whether or not your conclusion is applicable in other areas of knowledge.

Criteria D:

D.1 Is your thinking organized with one point leading logically to another or do your ideas wander haphazardly sometimes leading nowhere or repeating previous themes? If the latter is more what is happening, you should re-organize your paragraphs to tighten up your writing.

D.2 Do you have source citations to back up your factual statements? You should have source citations for this essay. Without source citations you cannot score higher than a 2 in this criteria.

D.3 Have you met the word count of 600-750 words? I will accept essays from 575-775 as meeting the approximate word count. If your word count is outside of that range you will not score higher than a 4 in this criteria. (Note: Your final essay next year doesn’t allow for the 25 over/under as I have here).

Seriously, these are the 11 must-do’s of the TOK essay or maybe the “code” to crack into the higher scores of the essay. Now go through the above points one by one to make sure you do a great job with this assignment. Don’t fall victim to the classic mistakes. – AC




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