DCSIMG

Writing Portfolio Assignments

The following assignments are required for a complete Writing Placement Portfolio: 

You are also welcome to include an optional Creative Work.  

Consider going through your schoolwork for resources for assignments, as many of the criteria for these assignments are things you may have already done in class. 

Please note:  All of your assignments should be clean, clear copies with no grades assigned or teacher’s comments included.

Writer’s Memo

This memo, addressed to the Writing Placement Portfolio Program, is the first thing the Portfolio Committee will read.  You should use this Writer’s Memo to introduce your portfolio, telling your readers anything they should know about the assignments your portfolio contains.

Tips for drafting the Writer’s Memo

Things to consider:

  • Purpose: Since the purpose of your Writer’s Memo is to introduce your portfolio, you will want to be careful to address each assignment as an individual text.  In addition, consider how you might introduce yourself as a writer in relation to the assignments in your portfolio.
  • Audience: The Portfolio Placement Committee is the audience for your portfolio, thus you will want to pay special attention to the language used and how you present each piece.  Given that the Committee did not assign the drafts and essays included in your portfolio, you may consider using this memo to offer any specifics needed to read and assess each assignment.
  • Genre: Your Writer’s Memo should be formatted within the genre of memo or letter, with just enough information provided for introduction.  Do not weigh the strength of your portfolio in the memo, but rather, consider it as a necessary part of the whole portfolio.
  • Attitude: Finally, consider the type of attitude you will use in drafting your Writer’s Memo.  While the purpose of your portfolio is for placement assessment, you do not want to overwhelm your readers with arguing why you should be placed in one class over another.  Let your writing stand for itself and use this memo only an introduction.

Download a PDF of Writer's Memo tips»

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Research Paper

This essay should be persuasive and research-based, the culmination and final product of an involved process of research, critical thinking, source evaluation, organization, and composition.  You will need to establish your credibility, understand your audience, and support your claims with appropriate evidence.  You will need to include the proper citations with your draft using a standard citation style such as MLA or APA. 

Tips for writing a Research Paper

Things to consider:

  • Purpose: Ask yourself the purpose of your Research Paper.  Remember that this paper is to represent your ability to do research and present those ideas cohesively.
  • Audience: You will also need to decide on the audience for your research.  By choosing an audience for your paper (one that is indirectly addressed in your writing), you will be able to focus on how to organize and structure your draft.  You need to have a target audience that is to be implied as you convey your research data.
  • Genre: This draft should be formatted as a traditional academic research paper, presenting your research through the form of the traditional mode of academic style.  This genre will represent what you know about writing within academic contexts.
  • Attitude: Finally, consider the type of attitude you will use in drafting your Research Paper.  Your tone will be in direct relation to the topic you choose, so choose your issue wisely.  Keep in mind that the attitude you convey through your writing will directly affect how your audience responds to your research.

Consider this structure:

  • Introduction Paragraph:  basic analysis of topic to be covered.
  • Thesis statement:  typically a one-sentence statement that explains the purpose of your paper. It often appears in the introduction, and ideally it will be the last sentence of the introductory paragraph.
  • Supporting arguments:  do the arguments back up your thesis?  Are your paragraphs coherent?
  • Sources:  are they credible sources?  Are the in-text citations cited?
  • Conclusion:  do you summarize the thoughts that were addressed in your paper?  Did you make sure that new information was not introduced?
  • Work(s) Cited page:  are the sources listed alphabetically?  Are the sources cited correctly? 

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Text Analysis

This textual analysis should be an examination of a text, an essay or an article and the manner in which it coveys its author’s ideas to the reader.  An analysis paper can provide an interpretation of a piece of literary work, but is not limited to such work.  You will need to include the proper citations with your draft; MLA is the format in which you should cite your sources.

Tips for writing a Text Analysis

Things to consider:

  • Purpose: Ask yourself the purpose of your Text Analysis.  Is there a particular event that has caused the text to be written?  If it’s a journal article, for example, it may be to further research in the field as opposed to an op-ed piece from a newspaper, which is informational and structured around subjective opinion. Focusing on the specific purpose of the text will help keep your ideas well structured.
  • Audience: Be specific in realizing the audience of the text you are analyzing. In order to fully understand the persuasive moves made by a text, you must have a good sense of exactly who the audience is.  Consider if the text has been successful in reaching the intended audience.
  • Genre: Because texts can be presented in several different forms, an understanding of the genre of the text you are analyzing will help you present your ideas through a clear and concise argument.
  • Attitude: Finally, consider the type of attitude you will use in drafting your Text Analysis.  If the text you are analyzing is something you enjoyed, your attitude might be presented differently than if you are analyzing a text you did not like.

What to include in your analysis:

  • Date of text:  Include when the text was published.
  • Author(s):  Be sure to list all authors involved with publication of the text.
  • Summary of the text: Keep it short! Be careful not to bury your analysis in too much summary.
  • The Why: Address why the text was written and for what purpose.
  • Evidence: Claims for your arguments should be supported by evidence from the text.
  • History: Any historical context the reader may need to know to understand the text and your analysis.
  • Questions: Include any question(s) the author has left unanswered in the text.

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Descriptive Essay

The Descriptive Essay is a style of writing where the author describes a person, place, or thing to the reader.  The goal of this type of writing is to make the described item so vivid that it is as if it is sitting before the reader.

Tips for writing a Descriptive Essay

Things to consider:

  • Purpose: Ask yourself the purpose of your Descriptive Essay.  You’ll be telling a story as this is often a narrative, but also consider what you are trying to do with your story.
  • Audience: You will need to decide on the audience for your essay.  By choosing an audience for your essay, you will be able to focus on how to organize and structure your draft.
  • Attitude: Finally, consider the type of attitude you will use in drafting your Descriptive Essay.  Keep in mind that the attitude you convey through your writing will directly affect how your audience responds to your story.

As you begin drafting your essay:

  • Collect your thoughts:  First figure out what person, place, or thing you want to describe.  Then, start listing out words to describe that topic.  Soon the thoughts will flow.
  • Use your five senses:  what does the object look, smell, feel, taste, or sound like?  Describe these points first and elaborate from there.
  • Use vivid language:  when describing a flower, words like elegant and beautiful will attract your reader more than words like pretty or nice.  Word choice can make or break your descriptive essay.
  • Order your topics properly:  you want to make sure that your paragraphs are ordered in such a way it gives the paper a nice flow and makes it easy to read.  For instance, if you are writing about a pizza, you want to fully describe what it looks like before jumping to what it might taste like. 

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Optional Creative Work

For this optional submission, you are welcome to submit any type of creative work: comic book, advertisement, podcast, blog, video game, graphic novel, song, painting, website, photograph, scrapbook, magazine article, poetry, journal article, collage, short story, newspaper article, social media postings, sculpture, zine, dance piece, etc.—you decide; there are no limits.  You will want to be careful in choosing your Optional Creative Work; don’t just submit something to have a piece to add to your portfolio, as this text should demonstrate your ability to work outside of academic structures.

Tips for drafting a Creative Work

Things to consider:

  • Purpose: Ask yourself the purpose of your Creative Work.  Is there a particular event that has caused the text to be written, performed, presented, etc.?  Focusing on the specific purpose of the text will help keep your ideas well structured.
  • Audience: Be specific in realizing the audience of the Creative Work.  In order to fully understand the persuasive moves made by a text, you must have a good sense of the audience.  Consider if the text has been successful in reaching the intended audience.
  • Genre: Because texts can be presented in several different forms, an understanding of the genre of the text you are creating will help you present your ideas through a clear and concise argument.
  • Attitude: Finally, consider the type of attitude you will use in drafting your Creative Work.  If the text you are creating is about a topic you enjoy as a hobby, for example, your attitude might be presented differently than if you are creating a text for an issue you are trying to change.

Download a PDF copy of the Optional Creative Work tips»

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