Synthesis (AP Exam)

Synthesis is the use of a combination of ideas/sources to form an argument.

Strategies for Synthesis

Keep in mind that synthesis is using the sources to support your own individual argument, not arguing an opinion from the sources themselves, you need to create your own and incorporate the sources to support your argument. Use multiple sources to support your claims, not evaluating source by source. Cite sources by their corresponding letter like (Source A). For this essay, you will have 55 minutes total, allowing 15-20 minutes solely for reading and annotating the source packet.

Think about topic/prompt

  • Consider strong opinions
  • Brainstorm preliminary thesis
  • Think about what you want/need to know before arguing

Read and analyze sources

  • Identify claim, data, and warrant
  • Annotate things that support/oppose your initial thoughts
  • Analyze charts and graphs

** Interpret data
** Consider implications of data
** Identify mechanism by which data proves claim

Finalize thesis

  • Give thought to the complexity of the issue- consider a qualified thesis
  • Consider positions you could take —> what you want to argue, and why
  • Consider how your thesis fits with the sources —> can you find sources to back up your claim?
  • Converse with the sources —> revisit sources with your finalized thesis in mind

** How do the authors respond?
** Plan for refutations, adjust thesis as needed

Claim- I wear a coat
because
Data- It's cold outside
and
Warrant- Coats keep me warm
due to
Backing- Insulated material
Qualifier- Unless
Rebuttal- There's a hole

Develop argument

** Deductive
** Abductive
** Inductive
** Argument from analogy
** Thought experiment
** Reductio ad absurdum
** Abduction/Inference

Scoring
The score should reflect a judgement of the essay's quality as a whole. Remember that students had only 15 minutes to read the sources and 40 minutes to write; the essay, therefore, is not a finished product and should not be judged by standards appropriate for an out-of-class assignment. Evaluate the essay as a draft, making certain to reward students for what they do well.

All essays, even those scored 8 or 9, may contain occasional lapses in analysis, prose style, or mechanics. Such features should enter into the holistic evaluation of an essay's overall quality. In no case may an essay with many distracting errors in grammar and mechanics be scored higher than a 2.

9- Essays earning a score of 9 meet the criteria for a score of 8 and, in addition, are especially sophisticated in their argument, thorough in development, or impressive in their control of language.

8- Effective
Essays earning a score of 8 effectively develop a position. They develop their position by effectively synthesizing at least three of the sources. The evidence and explanations used are appropriate and convincing. Their prose demonstrates a consistent ability to control a wide range of the elements of effective writing but is not necessarily flawless.

7- Essays earning a score of 7 meet the criteria for the score of 6 but provide a more complete explanation, more thorough development, or a more mature prose style.

6- Adequate
Essays earning a score of 6 adequately develop a position. They develop their position by adequately synthesizing at least three of the sources. The evidence and explanations used are appropriate and sufficient. The language may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but generally the prose is clear.

5- Essays earning a score of 5 develop a position. They develop their position by synthesizing at least three sources, but how they use and explain sources is somewhat uneven, inconsistent, or limited. The argument is generally clear, and the sources generally develop the student's position, but the links between the sources and the argument may be strained. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but it usually conveys the student's ideas adequately.

4- Inadequate
Essays earning a score of 4 inadequately develop a position. They develop their position by synthesizing at least two sources, but the evidence or explanations used may be inappropriate, insufficient, or less convincing. The sources may dominate the student's attempts at development; the link between the argument and the sources may be weak; or the student may misunderstand, misrepresent, or oversimplify the sources. The prose generally conveys the student's ideas but may be less consistent in controlling the elements of effective writing.

3- Essays earning a score of 3 meet the criteria for a score of 4 but demonstrate less success in developing a position. They are less perceptive in their understanding of the sources, or their explanation or examples may be particularly limited or simplistic. The essays may show less maturity in their control of writing.

2- Little Success
Essays earning a score of 2 demonstrate little success in developing a position. They may merely allude to knowledge gained from reading the sources rather than citing the sources themselves. These essays may misread the sources, fail to develop a position that evaluates, or substitute a simpler task by merely summarizing or categorizing the sources or by responding to the prompt tangentially with unrelated, inaccurate, or inappropriate explanation. The prose of these essays often demonstrates consistent weaknesses in writing, such as grammatical problems, a lack of development or organization, or a lack of control.

1- Essays earning a score of 1 meet the criteria for the score of 2 but are undeveloped, especially simplistic in their explanation and argument, weak in their control of language, or do not allude to or site even one source.

0- Indicates an off-topic response that receives no credit, such as one that merely repeats the prompt.

Indicates a blank response or one that is completely off topic.

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