English Composition : Essay: Argument
Lesson 8 Overview
If you’re a student of civil
engineering, you may be
assigned to write reports in
favor of particular
construction techniques or
materials. As a student in
health care services, you
might have to present your
opinion on scheduling, staff organization, or the approach to public
relations. If you’re planning on law school, your education will revolve
around mastering the art of clearly communicating a point of view. Even
if you merely want to write a letter to the editor, you have to know how to
present an effective argument.
That’s why you need to understand not only how to appraise and
criticize an argument, but also create one of your own. Mastering the art
of argument is a challenge that’s not only worthwhile, but necessary in
today’s world. Additionally, it’s sometimes important to be able to refute
someone else’s logic and present effective evidence for your own side.
English Composition (v4) : Lesson 8 : Page 1© 2019 Penn Foster
• Use prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing to write formal, college-
• Distinguish between different patterns of development
• Apply an appropriate pattern of development to a specific purpose and
• Write effective thesis statements
• Develop paragraphs using topic sentences, adequate detail,
supporting evidence, and transitions
• Employ responsible research methods to locate appropriate secondary
• Use American Psychological Association (APA) citation and
documentation style to quote, paraphrase, and summarize secondary
source material and to reference secondary source material correctly
• Apply the conventions of standard written American English to produce
correct, well-written essays
8.1 Use techniques of drafting, evaluating, and creating a
sound written argument
Your project must be submitted as a Word document (.docx, .doc)*. Your project
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will be individually graded by your instructor and therefore may take up to five to
seven days to grade. Be sure that each of your files contains the following
Your student ID number
The exam number
Your email address
To submit your graded project, follow these steps:
Log in to your student portal.
Click on Take Exam next to the lesson you’re working on.
Find the exam number for your project at the top of the Project Upload
Follow the instructions provided to complete your exam.
Be sure to keep a backup copy of any files you submit to the school!
People argue all the time—over what movie to see, what to have for
dinner, whom to vote for. People generally have strong opinions, and
many don’t hesitate to express them. Your friend doesn’t want to see
the same movie you do because he doesn’t like gory horror. Your
partner wants to eat at a restaurant that serves healthy food. Your
coworker won’t vote for any candidate who doesn’t support universal
Your argument essay is an amplified version of those types of
arguments you have with family, friends, and coworkers each day. The
difference is that you’ll be conducting research and using the
information you find to explain a problem and then provide a solution.
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The argument essay is 1,600–1,800 words and must incorporate a
minimum of four secondary sources.
There’s no graded prewriting assignment for your argument essay.
Use prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing to write a formal,
Distinguish among different patterns of development.
Apply an appropriate pattern of development to a specific purpose
Write an effective thesis statement.
Develop paragraphs using topic sentences, adequate detail,
supporting evidence, and transitions.
Employ responsible research methods to locate appropriate
Quote, paraphrase, and summarize secondary source material
correctly and appropriately.
Use APA (American Psychological Association) citation and
documentation style to reference secondary source material
correctly and appropriately.
Apply the conventions of standard written American English to
produce a correct, well-written essay.
Choose one of the following topics. Each topic focuses on a current
English Composition (v4) : Lesson 8 : Page 4© 2019 Penn Foster
problem that many students face.
The high cost of college or student loan debt
The lack of proper nutrition
Low minimum wage
You may narrow the focus of your topic as you see fit.
Purpose and Audience
The purpose of your essay is to identify, define, and analyze the
problem, and then provide a solution to address it. You’ll use the third-
person point of view.
Your audience is made up of your fellow Penn Foster classmates. Many
will agree with you, while others will disagree. You need to present
evidence to support your analysis and solution, and convince your
audience through the strength of your argument and the feasibility of
your solution, to side with you.
You’re required to use a minimum of four secondary sources in your
essay. Use the Research Writing and Citation and Documentation
webinar, Journal Entry 16, and the Argument Essay Research
Worksheet to help start your research and organize your essay.
The required secondary sources are
At least two articles from Penn Foster’s digital library database,
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Gale Academic OneFile Select
At least one nonprofit or government organization (online or print).
Look for website domains .org, .edu, and .gov.
One source that you choose.
Remember that all sources, no matter where they come from, should be
evaluated for accuracy and validity. You may use more than four
sources, but you should avoid using more than six. Borrowing too much
from too many sources will overwhelm your voice in your essay and
negatively affect your grade. It could also lead to plagiarism.
1. Once you’ve chosen your topic, read through the Argument Essay
slideshow and watch the Argument Essay Instructions video. You
should also complete the Argument Essay Worksheet. This doesn’t
need to be turned in, but you should find it helpful.
2. You should develop your thesis statement, choose a method of
organization, create an outline or graphic organizer, and begin
drafting your essay.
As you draft your essay, ensure that you’re incorporating your sources
accurately and responsibly. Remember to include the sources you use
in your essay in your list of references.
You’ll be using APA citation and documentation style to give credit to
3. Begin with an introduction that gives a broad overview of your topic.
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End this introduction with a thesis statement. Your thesis statement
must make your argument and name three supporting reasons.
These reasons must be named in the same order they’re discussed
in the body paragraphs.
4. Each body paragraph must describe one reason, with the exception
of the last body paragraph before the conclusion; this paragraph
must consider your opposition.
5. End with a conclusion that reinforces your thesis statement and
names your three reasons.
Traits of Good Writing Review “Writing a
Paper Using Sources” for a complete
explanation of the rating you earned for
each trait as well as references you can
study to improve your writing skills.
Ideas & Content The writer provided a clear
thesis statement and had a clear stance on
one side of the issue. There is a clear
argument provided with appropriate
supporting details and evidence.
25 23 21 19 17 12 0
Organization There is a clear introduction
with a thesis, body, and conclusion, with
body paragraphs incorporating other
patterns of development coherently.
20 18 17 16 14 12 0
Incorporation of Source Material The
writer used the correct required sources.
The writer used APA format to incorporate
secondary source material accurately and
responsibly. The writer used signal phrases,
parenthetical citation, and provided a list of
15 13 11 10 8 6 0
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Voice The writer interacts with the assigned
audience using appropriate, consistent point
of view, tone, and evidence. The writer
maintains a clear stance on the topic.
10 9 8 7 6 4 0
Word Choice The writer makes correct verb
and word choices, defines any terms that
may be unfamiliar, and conveys a clear
10 9 8 7 6 4 0
Grammar & Sentences The writer used
correct grammar, spelling, punctuation,
and sentence structure. The essay was free
of any typographical errors.
10 9 8 7 6 4 0
Format The writer meets the required length
(1,600–1,800 words) and uses a standard
font and margins. All of the required header
information is present.
10 9 8 7 6 4 0
English Composition (v4) : Lesson 8 : Page 8© 2019 Penn Foster
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