“Beginning writers sometimes assume that invention means merely brainstorming…invention gets writers past their initial ideas and propels them beyond their personal opinions. It is the genesis of good writing and powerful argumentation. Because the goal of argument is to reveal a new way of seeing a topic (hence persuading people to rethink their positions and beliefs), good invention strategies are the key to success.” ~Inventing Arguments (13-15) An additional resource for this lesson clarifies the basic purpose of an evaluative essay, which is to judge something according to a set of criteria. For example, a writer might apply criteria or standards to like things to determine which is the most effective. In this timed writing, you will evaluate three of your argumentative writings from this class: your diagnostic essay and Essays 2-3. The purpose is twofold: to identify the most important argumentative skills that you sharpened or acquired this term and to show how these skills changed or shaped your understanding of formal argument. Your target audience consists of incoming students who are new to argumentative writing and can benefit from your challenges and successes writing argument. As you brainstorm, use these questions to guide your thinking about what makes a good argument and how you used the tools of argument in your essays: What specific skills or strategies are most important when writing to argue? (In other words, briefly state what characterizes a good academic argument.) How have your uses of these skills or strategies changed over the duration of the course? For example, maybe you didn’t realize the full importance of compelling counterarguments and rebuttals when you wrote your diagnostic essay. Maybe you didn’t know to include these elements at all. Think beyond your earned grades. In other words, for your self-evaluation, you needn’t measure your efforts according to your essay scores. This is but one approach to the assignment. Be sure to focus on what you observe regarding changes in your writing. PROMPT: In an essay of 3-4 pages, or about 700-1000 words, evaluate your progress as an argumentative writer. In the essay introduction, include a focused thesis that establishes three important skills, or criteria, for good argumentative writing. Use the body paragraphs of your self-evaluation to show how well you applied these skills to the three argumentative essays that you completed for this class. Expand, explain, and illustrate your claims and points with specific details from your writings. In the essay conclusion, rank your essays, identifying the most and least effective arguments. Your target audience consists of incoming students who are new to argumentative writing and can benefit from both your successes and your struggles writing argument. Don’t be afraid to highlight weaknesses in your writings. Your self-evaluation should provide a balanced account of your argumentative journey. Remember to work through all of the stages of the writing process. Your final document should be a polished, reasonably revised and edited essay that targets a specific audience.