The development of learning

Short Essay Paper #4
1. For the 4th and final short essay paper, the student should choose one of the following civilizations (Agricultural Village Societies: Igob and Iroquois, The Ottoman and Safavid Empire, and The Aztec and Incan Empires) to describe the world in the 15th century. Each student should introduce a thesis that argues why this particular or pair of civilizations best illustrates the qualities, conditions, and lives of peoples in that century based examples and evidence drawn from that culture and the larger world described in chapter 12 of the textbook. In essence, each student must use this civilization to answer the question: What was the world like in the 15th century?  
2. The essay should include a student name, school identification number, brief title for the essay, (example: “Iroquois and Igbo: Farming and the Family in the 15th Century) and should be between three and five pages in length double-spaced. Please use conventional margins and 12 point font with Times New Roman font.  Examples from the textbook should be cited using in-text parenthetical citations (example: Strayer and Nelson, p. 320-322. The lecture videos can be cited as follows (A. Miller, Lecture Notes, 2020). Any outside sources not provided by the instructor must be cited using a full Chicago style citation that includes author, title, publisher, date, etc. It is also strongly discouraged unless discussed beforehand with the instructor.  Working with a writing center or the class tutor is strongly encouraged and should be communicated to the instructor.
3. Grades and evaluation of the student essay will be done according to the rubric provided in the online classroom. Critical to the highest grades will be an original and creative thesis that makes exhaustive use of analytical reasoning and historical evidence. All work for the first essay should be turned in via email to the instructor: [email protected]




Development and Support




Essay is based on a clear, argumentative, and original thesis that goes beyond ideas discussed in class or assigned readings.

Essay provides compelling and accurate analysis of evidence to convince reader of main argument. Demonstrates command of interpretative and conceptual task required by assignment.

Essay includes well-chosen examples, persuasive reasoning applied throughout the entirety of the paper, and evidence is explicitly tied to the thesis.

Essay contains an introduction, body, and conclusion section. Introduction states the main argument and historical significance of the topic. Conclusion revisits the thesis with supporting points derived from body paragraphs. Essay moves easily from one paragraph to another and has fully developed paragraphs.

Author communicates effectively and with technical proficiency. Words are chosen carefully and meaning is conveyed accurately and with tone of authority.


A clear, specific thesis, central to the essay.

The student uses necessary analysis to convince the reader of the key argument. Demonstrates a solid understanding of interpretative and conceptual task required by assignment.

The student uses all necessary and appropriate historical evidence, explains reasoning clearly, and develops core argument.

Essay has introduction, body, and conclusion sections. Clear transitions and development of coherent ideas in unified paragraphs. Struggles either in introduction or conclusion to state thesis or historical significance.

Good command of the English language, with the occasional spelling error, run-on sentence, or inappropriate stylistic choice (colloquialisms or mixed metaphors).


A general and descriptive thesis.

Analysis is a bit vague and descriptive. Fails to consider key criteria or confront important historical concepts as outlined by the assignment.  A few errors of fact, confusion of interpretation, or tendency toward narration are present.

One or more of the following is incomplete: use of evidence or explanation and clarity of reasoning. In addition, there may be insufficiently articulated ideas or unsupported generalizations.

Essay has some awkward transitions and/or weak paragraphs not clearly connected to one another.

For the most part sentences are grammatically correct and clearly written, but some awkward sentences, imprecise use of words, or vagueness of meaning brought on by passive voice.


Vague or Irrelevant Thesis.

Inadequate command of course material and failure to answer questions from the prompt.

Undeveloped ideas, little to no evidence provided using course materials, and numerous errors in reasoning or oversimplifications of historical examples.

Organization is too simplistic, relies on vague summations, and moves from one topic to another without explicitly stating connection.

Major grammatical problems such as subject-verb agreement, obscure pronouns, and sentence fragments. Symptoms of poor communication such as slang, colloquialism, or repeated inexact word choices.


No discernible thesis.

Failure to understand class materials. Essay is not a response to the assignment.

Misinformation, little to no evidence from the past, and vague generalizations.

No transitions and incoherent paragraphs.

Unreadable, paper full of grammatical errors and other symptoms of poor communication.