Editorial Letter Evaluation Criteria
These are the questions that I will ask myself as I evaluate your editorial
letters. These are the only elements that I will base your grades on:
Successful Strategies (from class)
- Does your letter get to the point and develop its argument quickly?
- Does your letter use vocabulary and written style that is appropriate
for its audience?
- Do you convey the ethos of someone who is seriously invested
in the issue, has carefully considered all sides of the argument, and
has come to their conclusions in a deliberate manner?
- Do you suggest a possible solution for any problems you address?
- Do you incorporate research to bolster claims (and your ethos
as a person knowledgable and qualified to speak about your topic)?
- Do you use commonplaces that your audience will find compelling?
Less-than-succesful Strategies (from class)
- Does your letter try to do too much in the allotted space?
- Is your letter too wordy?
- Does your letter have bad gramar or speling?
- Does it seem as if you simply have an "axe to grind"?
- Does your letter lack a single, easily-accesible point?
- Does your letter fail to reference the conversation that it is contributing
to, or the specific articles that it is responding to?
- Do you avoid commonplaces that can potentially alienate all or part
of your audience?
- Is the topic of your letter kairotic (timely and relevant to
your letter's audience)? Does your issue spring from stories or conversations
already presented in the paper?
- Are the topic you have chosen and the position you espouse likely to
offer you a reasonable chance of success in moving your audience?
- While offering you a reasonable chance of success, is your rhetorical
situation nonetheless challenging?
- Do you pose your argument in a way that is convincing to the audience
using modes of persuasion that are familiar and effective to them?
- Does your self-reflexive essay indicate that you are aware of the rhetorical
choices that you made, and the reasoning behind those choices? Is the
reasoning behind your rhetorical choices sound? Have you acted consistently
with this reasoning?
- Are you able to selectively use the suggestions of others to improve
your letter? Similarly, are you able to turn a critical eye to your own
work and revise accordingly?
- Do you know your audience? Are you able to make and support predictions
about how your audience will approach and react to your letter?