Persuasive Essay Prompt and Rubric

Persuasive Essay Prompt and Rubric


In Unit 6 of your textbook, NorthStar 4, you read about the pros and cons of mandatory volunteering. Imagine that your school has proposed a mandatory community service program. Students can choose an organization to volunteer for and are required to give at least five hours of time a month. Students must volunteer after school but will receive academic credit.


You are going to write a persuasive essay explaining your opinion about the volunteering program. Use the vocabulary and grammar you have learned from Unit 6 of your NorthStar 4 textbook.


The goal of this essay is to convince the reader to agree with your position. Remember to include how you feel about the issue in your thesis statement. You should present three strong arguments to support your position in the body of your essay. For these arguments, you will need to provide support in the form of detailed examples, anecdotes, quotes, and statistics. It is also important that you acknowledge the counterarguments that the opposing side would have. Your essay should be 2-3 pages, typed, 12 point font, double-spaced in Times New Roman font.



Your essay, then, should consist of the following:


  1. Introductory paragraph with a hook, connecting information/background information, and a thesis.
  2. Body paragraphs (at least 3 body paragraphs, each with a topic sentence, supporting sentences related to the topic, and a concluding sentence/transitional sentence. Each body paragraph should provide plenty of support for each of your arguments either in favor of or against mandatory volunteering.
  3. Conclusion paragraph that restates the thesis statement and ends with final thoughts using one of the three techniques learned in Unit 6 (see page 185)






















Use this writing rubric that shows you exactly how your paper will be graded:

Persuasive Essay Rubric



  5 Thesis: The essay’s thesis clearly states the writer’s opinion either in support of a mandatory volunteering program or against it.  
  15 Arguments and Support: the author gives three (one per body paragraph) strong arguments for their position and supports those arguments with specific details, examples, anecdotes, quotes, and/or statistics.  
  5 Counterarguments: the author acknowledges the counterarguments presented by the opposing side and refutes the counterarguments by showing why they are weak (not as strong as writer’s argument)  
  25 Total for Content  
  5 Introduction: The opening paragraph catches the reader’s interest by 1) using a hook, 2) connecting the hook to the background information about your topics, and 3) finally leading to a thesis, which clearly states the writer’s position.  
  5 Order: Each body paragraph clearly represents a different argument either in favor of or against mandatory volunteering. There are at least 3 body paragraphs. The organizational pattern of the essay starts with the weakest argument in the first body paragraph to the strongest argument in the last body paragraph.  
  5 Coherence: Paragraphs are linked with references to preceding words or ideas and transitional expressions. The writer has good flow in their writing from one body paragraph to the next.  
  5 Conclusion: The final paragraph restates the thesis and offers final thoughts. The paragraph by telling a relevant story or anecdote, asking a final question that the reader can think about, or making a prediction about the future. The author clearly signals the ending of their essay leaving the reader with thoughts to ponder.  
  20 Total for Organization  
  20 Concessions and Academic Vocabulary: The writer uses concession clauses (adverb clauses) to acknowledge the counterarguments as well as clear and specific academic language to support their arguments. The author also uses vocabulary from the unit.  
  20 Total For Language  
Grammar & Punctuation  
  20 The essay is free from grammatical errors.  The student proof-read (edited) the essay for grammatical problems.  The student read the essay backwards (from bottom to top) to help catch grammatical errors and read the essay out loud.  
  10 The essay is free from punctuation and spelling errors. The student proof-read the essay for proper use of commas, periods, semicolons, capital letters, and spelling.  
  30 Total for Grammar & Punctuation  
Format and Process  
  5 Catchy, unique title & Proper formatting.

Proper MLA formatting – 12pt font, double-spaced, 1”margins

Heading with student’s name, assignment, and due date in the upper left-hand corner of the paper

  5 Total for Format  
  100 Total Points