ISSA Proceedings 2002 – Evaluation Of Secondary Students’ Written Argumentations. Problems And Proposal Of An Evaluation Procedure.

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logo  2002-1Abstract
This proposal combines the critical standards we use when assessing argumentations in every day life and the formal and structural criteria we generally use assessing students’ writing, integrating not only the linguistic clues and rhetorical aspects of the text but the logical and epistemological features as well. Such a tool is indispensable to appraise consistently the progresses of the students’ argumentative writing and to compare the relative effectiveness of different approaches to the instruction in writing argumentation. It would also facilitate the students’ metacognitive awareness on the distinctive characteristics of good arguments.

To assess the progresses of secondary school students writing argumentations, and evaluate the consequences of an intended educational intervention, we should elaborate a holistic method for the assessment of their argumentative text that would help us to evaluate the progress of the students through the time and the efficiency of different teaching methods. It would help too the students, to be aware of the features of a good argumentation and to improve their performance as writers and critical readers of arguments.
In every day situations we evaluate argumentations applying more or less consciously, and with more or less precision, the instructions that can be found in many of the manuals of Critical Thinking (Ennis 1995, Helpern 1996, Hoaglund 1995 and), Informal Logic (Walton 1989) or in the Pragma-dialectical approach (Van Eemeren 1992, 2002). Although differences exist among these proposals of evaluation of the arguments, in function of the conception of the argumentation, the type of normative constrains considered, and the differences relatives to the goals of each theory. We can accept that most of the time the form in which we evaluate, for instance, an opinion essay published in the newspaper follows roughly the steps that could be enforced by many of these models. This mode of evaluating arguments is based on the combination of common sense and education.
Outside the school context, to evaluate an argumentation means to see if it convinces us to the point of changing our beliefs, to modify our value system or to pursuit its proposals. Usually we don’t worry about its rhetorical quality, unless we don’t include under that idea the detection of some trick, dedicated to hide or distort relevant ideas for the justification or the rejection of the claim. In other words, if we don’t share the extended prejudice that considers rhetoric as a quibblers’ art, not dedicated to convince through a more attractive and appropriate presentation of our ideas, with the purpose of a better communication, but just to persuade the audience at any price. Neither, in general, we worry too much about the spelling or the grammatical correction of the message, but only about its intelligibility. This doesn’t mean that the rhetorical and grammatical quality of a text, or the order in which the ideas have been disposed, don’t play any role in the exchange of the ideas in a dialogue or in the persuasiveness of a text. The risk of an argumentative text rhetorically deficient, wrong structured or with grammatical incorrectness is to fail engaging the readers’ attention, generating a shortcut in the communication. Therefore, we should not undertake the teaching of written argumentation without considering these components.

Usually, in Primary and Secondary School, the argumentation is taught in the classes of language as a specific type of text, and the students write argumentations as exercises of composition. In first language classes, – Spanish in Spain – and more remarkably in second language learning classes, when the teacher evaluates an argument written by the students, the appraisal take usually a different orientation. Here the linguistic correctness, the global and local coherence of the text, the variety of the vocabulary and the suitability of the linguistic register to the audience come to play a privileged role, leaving the teacher’s opinion about the strength of the arguments or even its verisimilitude in a second place.
Although certainly this type of tasks is requested with much less frequency than it would be desirable (Voss, Perkins & Segal 1991: VIII), when the students in some circumstances have to respond to open ended questions, which have more than a possible answer, as “Should the purchase and sale of heroine be legalized?” they usually feel uneasy, and very often complain that they doesn’t understand how the teacher can evaluate a personal opinion. The teacher’s habitual answer is that the evaluation doesn’t depend on the particular answer to the question, but rather, on the justification of the student’s position. Anyway, when a text of this type is evaluated, the same teacher does not assess the text written by the students with the same criteria he or she would use to evaluate a letter to the editor. In this last case, instead of the orthographic and grammatical quality, that usually is accurate and don’t play any role, what is really considered is the logical traits and the strength of the reasons. At school things are quite different, very often the teacher will become satisfied with the existence of some arguments, because many students consider unnecessary any effort of justification beyond the reference of one or two reasons in favor of their thesis. Very often, when they feel certain of something, after giving one or two reasons, they don’t see the necessity of further justification. Certainly, in an argumentation it is not necessary the conclusion to be logically valid; argumentation differs from inference and the rules that regulate the soundness of an argumentation are field dependent (Toulmin: 1958). The school context determines a special situation in which usually, the required logical rigor and epistemological quality of the premises change with the age of the students, and the limitations in their access to the knowledge on the discussion topic.

The argumentative discourse is complex, and the criteria of good argumentation are context dependent (Santos & Santos 1999). Students that are not able to produce a satisfactory text, or to participate appropriately in a debate, are however capable in every day situations of defending quite adequately their points of view. The failure of these students in front of the task proposed by the school, doesn’t necessarily imply an inability to defend its ideas, and symmetrically the failure of the students when criticizing a text appropriately, doesn’t imply that they can be easily brainwashed. The situation in the school is artificial and the students often are exclusively concerned with the grades, so, they write trying to anticipate the teacher’s demands. “The analysis of the way in which the argumentative discourse function in the school environment would require a “psycho-sociological” analysis of these circumstances; the real concern is maybe to demonstrate that one is competent through a successful performance, and therefore, to produce an argumentative discourse whose finality is not convince that one is right but, to convince that one knows how to argue” (Golder 1996: 13).
We could imagine that the teacher who will evaluate the argument, is for the students the personification of Perelman´s universal auditory, composed by the elite, the scientists or the most reasonable judge (Perelman 1958). If things were so, the arguments written by the students should undergo the highest standards of rationality but, in fact, the situation is very different. To begin with, the habitual practice of the students during most part of their school life consists on the understanding and memorization of the contents of the curriculum and the later oral or written account of them without too much elaboration. The information is summarized to facilitate the memorization, and the students sometimes, refer in their recitations or writing reports to aspects that had been left implicit in the textbooks or in the teacher explanations. Only seldom, they are requested to express their own opinions. This school environment determines in the students a special epistemological attitude: the students more than the confrontation of its own ideas with the universal auditory try to imagine the professor’s point of view and adopt it as the truth, in the same way they do on the more common tests of learned knowledge. The goal is not a defense of its points of view, but an argument that fulfills the requirements demanded by the professor and, above all, defends the “right” thesis.
To change this attitude in addiction to the multiple choice or short answer-test, intended to measure knowledge, we should include in our teaching practice open-ended questions that promote the personal reflection and the critical understanding of the contents.
“The school learning, based on clear and undisputed questions, that the students should understand, memorize and express, doesn’t always favor the development of the abilities related with the argumentation. Nevertheless the school should offer situations, that serve the students to practice and learn argumentative strategies, that can be hardly acquired through the family and informal linguistic uses, not only in the language classes, but in all the disciplines and especially in the different spaces of the school environment that allow the students to defend their points of view” (Cros and Vilá: 1995: 53).
To achieve this goal the explicit teaching of writing and criticizing argumentation has to play a broader role in the different subjects of the curriculum.

The design of the writing argumentative text instruction around the curriculum of Secondary School requires a conception or model of argumentation that integrate all the components of the argumentation as it occurs in real life situations and specially in the school. The aim of this argumentation model of is twofold facilitate the integration of the oral and written argumentation in the design of the curriculum and enhance the metacognitive awareness of the students about the features of the argumentative writing. This conception needs to include: a definition of argumentation, a classification of the multiplicity of structures or schemata in which argumentation can be found and elicited, unexpressed premises and claims, the type of arguments, the strength of different kind of arguments, the ways to adapt the voice of the text to the readers, the different ways to negotiate with the audience, the linguistic tools we can use to order the ideas, introduce reasons, claims, restrictions, rebuttals and other constituents of argumentation, the fallacies and some metacognitive rules to regulate the process of writing. The model should be interdisciplinary and adapted to the Secondary School environment and secondary school students.
The pieces for this model of argumentation should be taken from the different approaches to the study of the argumentation. The formal logic must have at least a negative paper in the determination of it. A difference of that occurs in inference the argumentation soundness or validity are not a requisite, but even accepting the limits of the formal logical approach to explain argumentations, we have to admit that contradiction should be avoided and if there are inferences in an argumentation they should be sound. From the informal logic and the critical thinking and pragma-dialectical perspectives we would use the analysis of the structure of the argumentation, the importance of the context, some epistemological consideration about, the argumentation’s requirements: relevance, sufficiency, acceptability, the strength of the arguments, implicit elements of argumentation and the study of the most common fallacies. The most important hint from the classic and new rhetoric, speech communication theories, and didactic of the language approaches is the need to adapt our text to the audience. We need to have in mind the audience in all the stages of the writing process: collecting, planning, translating and reviewing. (Kellogg 1994: 26). We can structure all these components of any sound argumentation around two poles: justification and negotiation (Golder 1996).

If we accept that the main goal of the argumentation is persuasion, even rational persuasion as in the new rhetoric (Perelman 1958), it seems that rhetoric should play the principal role in our model. However, I think that, although integrating the rhetoric, we need to emphasize the dialectical essence of the argumentation. Our goal as educators can’t be training the students to defend with reasons whatever standpoint (even encouraging them to use reasons instead of violence or other unacceptable means). We aim the students to consider argumentation as a fundamental path to seek for the knowledge, to test their own beliefs and to find together the better available answer.
“Only if knowledge is seen as the product of a continuing process of examination, comparison, evaluation, and judgment of different, sometimes competing, explanations and perspectives does argument become the foundation upon which knowing rests. Knowledge is never complete or finished, but rather remains open to further argument” (Kuhn 1991: 200). This epistemological attitude that we can characterize as critical, should guide the classroom activity if we aim our students to enhance it.

The traditional way of teaching doesn’t see the need of the argumentation because considers the truth as unchangeable, and the task of the students is just to learn it. Very often, the students feel comfortable in such environment and adopt this epistemological attitude that Kuhn (1991) names absolutist. In the opposite side, we find between the students the multiplist or relativist epistemological point of view (Kuhn 1991). For relativist students argumentation is superfluous, because contradictory standpoints can be regarded as truth for different persons as consequence of different experiences. So, they postulate the simultaneous existence of different truths. They infer from the right of defend any standpoint, the equivalence of any idea, and they can memorize anything they have to, even if they have the opposite point of view, without feel the necessity of change their minds. The risk of emphasizing persuasion instead of knowledge is to promote indirectly this epistemological attitude.
The critical attitude, which we see as the goal of school, can be better understood if we integrate it in the constructivist theory of learning.
“When designing curriculum, constructivist teachers organize information around conceptual clusters of problems, questions and discrepant situations, because students are more engaged when problems and ideas are presented holistically, rather tan in separate, isolated parts” (Brooks, J. G. and Brooks, M. G. 1993: 46).
The students must take the responsibility of their own learning through a process of reasoning in order to find the answers to these questions. These processes of science learning and explaining it to others involve a considerable amount of argumentation (Kuhn 1992).

One of the components or outcomes of the proposed model of argumentation should be a tool to assess the students’ argumentations that integrate all these inputs that we receive from the different approaches to the argumentation. The elaboration of such evaluation procedure presents several difficulties. The arguments can bee seen as good or bad, sound or unsound, valid or invalid, strong or weak more or less convincing or plausible, and the diversity of views difficult the accomplishment of a comprehensive criterion of evaluation. It is possible to evaluate different aspects of an argument independently. Although this can be useful in the context of an experimentation centered specifically in some aspect of the argumentation and can complement the comprehensive view of the text, a tool that integrate the different sides related before in a holistic evaluation of the argumentative text is a necessity, so much from a theoretical point of view as for practical purposes.
The comparison among different approaches of teaching to write argumentations to students of secondary school has not been sufficiently investigated (Fulkerton 1996). The absence of evaluation formula is clearly an obstacle to establish that comparison; “the issues related to the criteria for good argument have not yet been properly addressed by research that takes a more empirical stance on argumentation. Researches assumptions in this aspect tend to remain unspoken and implicit in current empirical research” (Santos and Santos 1999: 75).
If a model overlooks some aspects of the argumentation its presence or absence won’t influence the appraisal of the text. So, for example, the absence of rhetorical traces directed to introduce an apparent dialog with the audience (negotiation) won’t be considered as a serious defect by an evaluation carried out from the perspective of the Informal Logic that will be centered in the soundness of the argument, namely, in the analysis of the truth or falsehood of the premises and in the deductive validity of the argument or in the strength of the inductive argument used to justify the conclusion (Hoaglund 1995: 197). In the other side, a rhetorical valuation will be centered in the evaluation of the different traces indicative of negotiation present in the text and the adaptation of the arguments to the audience. The persuasiveness of an argument relies on the audience. From a rhetorical point of view, an example emotionally narrated, can be much more persuasive regarding a certain audience than the result of an investigation rigorously performed. However from critical or epistemological point of view, a study that has gathered information from a representative sample provides much bigger support to the conclusion that a single case.

Usually the different proposals of holistic assessment of the arguments written by students in the school setting differentiate three argument levels:
1. Preargumentative text.
2. Basic argumentative Text.
3. Elaborated argumentation.

The distinction between the two first levels is common to the different approaches of the written argumentation. In the first level are placed the texts without claim, or with a claim that is ambiguous or it is inadequately expressed, when there are contradictory standpoints or if it is a standpoint but no argument is advanced to defend it. The basic argumentation is the enthymeme, or rhetoric syllogism, that consists in one unique argument relevant to sustain the claim related with it by an unexpressed premise. The further classification of the arguments in the second or third level depends fundamentally on the role that the two cited components of the argumentation: justification and negotiation play in the model of reference.

One of the ways of elaboration of the evaluation procedure emphasizes the rhetorical aspects of the argument: the existence of negotiation indicators like modal verbs, counterarguments or the employ of different linguistic resources destined to give the reader the sensation of being participating in an imaginary dialog. This position can be found overall in the textbooks of the language classes for Secondary School and in the publications inspired in the didactic of the langue (Dolz 1996, Dolz & Pasquier 1996). The second approach remarks the other pole of the argumentation, the justification from an informal reasoning point of view. Acceptability, truth, relevance, sufficiency and consideration of alternative positions (Johnson 2000: 143) would be the focus in a such analysis; questions about the strength and adequacy of the arguments in order to establish the truth, or at least the verisimilitude of the claim, and the consideration of both sides of the issue will be checked (Means and Voss 1996: 142). Usually these approaches start the teaching of argumentation analyzing arguments -the critical thinking textbooks are conspicuous examples of that- and the teaching of writing and evaluation criteria of the students own writing take the same way used to criticizes the text used in the prior analysis of text from the newspapers an other sources. The same procedure can be found in the Pragma-dialectic (Van Eemeren 1999)

A conspicuous example of the first point of view I mentioned above, is the proposed for Golder:
Level 1: No standpoint (therefore, discourse non argumentative).
Level 2: A non-justified standpoint.
Level 3: A standpoint justified by only one argument.
Level 4: A standpoint justified by two non-related arguments (tabular arguing), each one represents by itself a justification of the defended standpoint (it is enough separately to justify the position).
Level 5: A position justified by two interconnected arguments. In fact, it can be a restriction-specification relation, a rebuttal, or counterargument; in short, an argument that takes into account the other possible speeches.
(Golder 1996: 164).

The first two levels constitute the preargumentative text, second to fourth are basic argumentations and “only the argumentations located in the 5th level can be considered like truly elaborate argumentations. Let’s note that in this model, the use of counterargumens is not the only mean to make operate the dialogical dimension of the argumentation; the negotiation can also be attain by less abrupt procedures, as the restriction or the specification that, while limiting the range of the arguments, open at the same time a space of negotiation to the interlocutor” (Golder 1996: 164).

It is remarkable that there isn’t any reference to the epistemological quality of the premises, or the logical soundness of the reasoning process. The only requirement may be that the arguments have to support anyway the claim. But not every argument gives the same support to the standpoint. This scale was used to study the development of the argumentative skills and can be used to score the Elementary School children’s writings. But, the relative generalization of the elaborated argumentation is achieved when the 14-15 years old students arrived to Secondary School. (Schnewly 1988, Golder and Coirier 1994, Golder 1996) After this age we don’t expect almost preargumentative texts and the way we should evaluate the students’ texts need to be more sophisticated. We find different degrees of success in every one of the rough levels we have considered so far. The question is not alone the existence or not of negotiation but its quality, and the assessment of the justification of the claim. It is necessary to determine the relevance, the strength of the arguments, its internal relationship and the discard of alternative claims, that is, the grade of justification of the claim, in the same way we do outside the school context. At the same time we need to consider different grades of achievement of the rhetorical quality of the argumentation, the adequacy of the voice to the reader, and the complexity of the negotiation with the audience, which would play a decisive role in the persuasive strength of the text.

We can find a precise example of the second perspective in the evaluation scale of “development” of arguments, adapted from the Toulmin’s model of argumentation, and proposed by Stuart Yeh:
Development, Organization, Focus, and Clarity
Level 1: No single identifiable primary claim or proposal (which might be: “In this essay I will argue that the arguments for X are inconclusive…”).
Level 2: Definite, well-qualified claim or proposal unsupported by identifiable premises connected to the claim by a warrant.
Level 3: Definite claim supported by a weak premise and warrant; overlooks stronger arguments, important objections or alternatives.
Level 4: Definite claim. Strong but undeveloped reasons: Reader must infer subarguments for premises and warrant, and against objections or alternatives.
Level 5: Definite claim supported by strong, developed arguments. Clarity could be enhanced through definition, elaboration, illustration, explicit connections, and conciseness.
Level 6: Starts with a clear statement of problem, importance, and definite, well-qualified claim or proposal. Chooses and develops one or two strongest supporting arguments, stating and defending each premise with evidence or examples and. if not obvious, how it supports the claim. Responds to major objections and alternatives and the arguments on which they are based. Conclusion punctuates the argument. Each section and paragraph is clearly, if not explicitly, related to thesis. Arguments given one by one; generally one point per paragraph, without repetition, in a logical order, and weighted by importance. Key terms, ideas, and connections are defined, elaborated, and illustrated to avoid misinterpretation. Little knowledge is presumed. Sentences build on each other through connecting words or ideas. Wording is clear, concise, and consistent. (Yeh 1998: 140)

The objective of the study of Yeh was to analyze the relative importance of three different factors in secondary teachers’ holistic assessment of the arguments written by the students. Besides the “development” scale Yeh defines other two scales: “voice” that refers to the degree of maturity of the voice (credibility or emotional appeal) of the text and “conventions” that makes reference to the correction in the use of the words, the grammar, punctuation and spelling. His investigation concludes the strongest influence in the evaluation was the “development” (including organization, focus and clarity) followed by adherence to conventions. The influence of voice in the scoring was significant, but smaller. In this research, “the three factors explained roughly two-thirds of the variance in holistic ratings of argumentative essays” (Yeh, 1998: 145). The influence of the rhetorical aspects, “voice” seems, according to the study to be in interdependence relationship with the first scale. It is however, remarkable that the “development, organization, focus and clarity” scale is much more developed in this study that the other two. And it is possible that this fact influenced in some grade the outcome of the research. The grade of the maturity of the voice (from no voice to mature voice defined as appropriate) doesn’t integrate all the inputs that the didactic of the langue (Dolz 1996 Cros & Vilá 1995) considers under the idea of negotiation.

In sum, one difficulty to evaluate argumentations written by secondary students is that in the evaluation of the quality of the argument, the usual logical and rhetorical perspectives are contaminated with the assessment of the text from a formal perspective: orthographic, grammatical, syntactic correction and the precision in the use of the words; beyond the mere correction in the use of the language, the style, the appropriateness of the vocabulary, etc. modifies considerably the quality of the writing and in some circumstances the persuasive capacity and, even the relevance of an argument can be darkened by a poor writing. Anyway, the conventional evaluation of a writing composition in secondary schools is strongly directed to correct these aspects of the writing. Therefore, an argumentative text that receives a good mark in the school may have a weak justification and the negotiation may be deficient if there aren’t errors in spelling, it is coherent and the grammar is sound.

Secondary students suffer, often, of lack of general writing skills that make difficult the task of writing argumentations. The teaching of writing argumentations needs often to be complemented with the teaching of general writing skills to be fruitful. Reciprocally, the teaching of specific features of argumentative writing may help in the attainment of general writing skills.

The holistic evaluation procedure I try to define in this paper, in my opinion, would not only facilitate the research about competitive approaches to the teaching of argumentation, but the designs of the curriculum and the students’ cognitive awareness of the process of writing argumentations.
“If teachers do not emphasize important functional relationship and the structural requirements for writing argumentative essays, both in their teaching and in their assessment criteria, we cannot expect students to know what it means to write clear, focused, organized, well-developed arguments” (Yeh 1998: 145). The teacher revision of the students’ argumentative essays must include remarks about the features of that type of text in order to facilitate the metacognitive understanding of the task. The students could accomplish an improvement in their metacognitive awareness as well, using this evaluation guideline to evaluate their mates’ writing. They should be asked to make suggestions to rewriting the text as a form of enhance their metacognitive control of the process of writing. A student can sometimes write a good argumentation without be cognitively aware of the requirements of the task. But students only can know that their argument is adequate or make improvements in their own essays, if they are aware of the requirements of a good argumentation. Competent argumentative reasoning requires, first and foremost, the ability to reflect on one’s own thinking as an object of thought. In the absence of this ability, one’s belief are utilized as basis for organizing and interpreting experience, but only by mean of this second order, reflective thinking ability can one think about evaluate, and hence be in position to justify these beliefs”. (Khun 1991: 14)
The reference of a precise and explicit evaluation procedure may help the students’ reflection on their own thinking. The goal of the metacognitive thinking about writing argumentation is to facilitate the advance from a knowledge-telling to more complex knowledge-transforming procedure of writing. (Bereiter and Sacardamalia 1987).

The evaluation procedure we propose here intends a holistic assessment of the argumentation that integrate mainly the inputs of the dialectical and the rhetorical conception of the argumentation and secondarily the spelling and the grammatical adequacy of the text. There are some correspondences between the requirements of the two points of view. The need of the use of counterarguments, of integrating the audience’s views, as condition for a “elaborated argumentation” level, correlates with the need of discarding other possible alternatives from a critical epistemological point of view. More and More both viewpoints are seen as complementary (Zarefsky 1996, Santos and Santos, 1999, Van Eemeren 1999a). Nevertheless, the relative role that each of them must play is under discussion.

From a pedagogical point of view both views are to be teach together, more remarkably in the teaching of writing than in the teaching of the critical analysis of arguments. In the first place because rhetorical and dialectical argumentation require the same cognitive skills (Kuhn 1991). A restriction to the claim, using a modal verb, for instance, can be made to be polite, as a way to negotiate with the audience, or as consequence of an epistemological necessity, because the writer cannot ensure a universal assertion. In the second place, because in every day discussion it is usual the shift from one to the other. The questioning of an argument involves usually a lot of reflection about the truth, the likeness, the relevance of the reasons and the soundness of the inferences even in situations of uncertainty or discussions about values or politic decisions, and the acceptance by the audience of a premise in a dialog close the need of warrant it, even in a discussion about facts or in a scientific debate.
This procedure differs from the usual “A to D” or “0 to 10” school grades. The criteria of acceptability of the students’ writing change with the age. In the firs years of Secondary School we expect at least basic argumentation, and elaborated at the end of the Secondary; the educative goals and the minimal requirements in every school grade must be different. Arguments may be rewritten and improved without pass to the next level, that is especially so for the last level of the proposed scale. An argument scored in the 18th level may be criticize and it would be possible to improve all the aspects of the text: the justification, adding new reasons, the negotiation, adapting the text better to the audience, and the style, for instance, rearranging the arguments to facilitate its understanding.

Evaluation of Secondary School students’ argumentations
Level I. Preargumentative text
1. No proposal or standpoint, or it is ambiguous or insufficiently expressed.
2. Various incoherent or contradictory standpoints asserted together.
3. Clearly expressed standpoint, but without arguments to justify it, or the adduced arguments are irrelevant to support the standpoint. (Vg: petitio principii, ignoratio elenchi)

Level II. Basic argumentation
4. A definite standpoint justified by only one argument. May be followed by some irrelevant arguments.
5. Many unrelated arguments (1) in favor of the claim with a weak justification (2) as result, without negotiation traces, (3) and  inadequate expression, misspellings or lack of global and/or local coherence (4).
6. Many unrelated arguments in favor of the claim with a weak justification as result Without negotiation traces, or  inadequate expression, misspellings or lack of global and/or local coherence.
7. Many unrelated arguments in favor of the claim, with a weak justification as result. With negotiation traces, coherence, and proper expression and spelling.
8. Many unrelated arguments in favor of the claim with a reasonable justification (5) as result, without negotiation traces, and the expression is inadequate or there are misspellings and lack of global and/or local coherence.
9. Many unrelated arguments in favor of the claim with a reasonable justification as result, without negotiation traces, or the expression is inadequate or there are misspellings and lack of global and/or local coherence.
10. Many unrelated arguments in favor of the claim with a reasonable justification as result. With negotiations traces, coherence, and proper expression and spelling.
11. Many unrelated arguments in favor of the claim with a strong justification (6) as result, without negotiation traces, and the expression is inadequate or there are misspellings or lack of global and/or local coherence.
12. Many unrelated arguments in favor of the claim with a strong justification as result, without negotiation traces, or the expression is inadequate or there are misspellings or lack of global and/or local coherence.
13. Many unrelated arguments in favor of the claim with a strong justification as result, with negotiation traces, global and locally coherent, and with proper expression and spelling.

Level III. Elaborated argumentation.
14. Many unrelated arguments in favor of the claim generating a strong justification of the standpoint. Manifest presence of negotiation, (7) but lack of coherence between the ideas: the ideas appear juxtaposed somewhere disorganized and/or the expression is inadequate.
15. Many favorable interrelated strong arguments in favor of the claim based on data or examples and related explicitly to the conclusion, generating an argumentation deductively correct or inductively strong. Manifest presence of negotiation. Some errors in the order or the coherence between the ideas or an occasionally defective writing.
16. Many favorable interrelated strong arguments in favor of the claim based on data or examples and related explicitly to the conclusion, generating an argumentation deductively correct or inductively strong. Manifest presence of negotiation. The writing is coherent, accurate and almost error free.
17. Many favorable interrelated strong arguments in favor of the claim based on data or examples and related explicitly to the conclusion, including the rebuttal of some possible arguments against the standpoint or the critic of other alternatives. Explicit presence of counterargumentation and other forms of negotiation indicators, appropriate voice adapted to the audience, but with presence of some errors in the order and coherence between the ideas, or an occasionally defective writing.
18. Many favorable interrelated strong arguments in favor of the claim based on data or examples and related explicitly to the conclusion, including the rebuttal of some possible arguments against the standpoint or the critic of other alternatives. Explicit presence of counterargumentation and other forms of negotiation indicators, appropriate voice adapted to the audience. The text is coherent and the writing is accurate and error free.

1. Unrelated arguments: the premises appear as an enumeration of reasons. They are unwarranted and not supported by data, examples or other reasons.
2. Weak justification: there are some relevant but weak arguments, insufficient to justify the thesis like examples, anecdotic data, etc. Overlooks salient alternatives and arguments, sometimes with some unreliable arguments, or fallacies.
3. Negotiation traces: use of expressions like “in my opinion”, “I believe” or similar. Although other possibilities are not considered, these expressions leave open the door to the existence of other alternatives.
4. Global coherence: The extent to which the individual sentences of such text help to develop its topic. Local coherence: the relative frequency with which a sentence is an elaboration of one that precedes it. (Wright and Rosemberg. 1993: 152).
5. Reasonable justification: The reasons, still independent with each other, taken together make, at least in absence of a thorough analysis of the issue, the standpoint plausible.
6. Strong justification: Even if the arguments are unrelated the standpoint receives a strong support, the arguments overview different favorable sides of the problem and the result is persuasive and epistemologically consistent.
7. Manifest presence of negotiation: different forms of expressing the disputable character of the standpoint, and presence of elaborated ways of negotiation with the audience: concessions, use of modal verbs, restrictions to the conclusion, denial of ideas that could be in the mind of the audience but without dealing explicitly whit them, that is without counter-argumentation

In the first place justification is considered, in the second place negotiation and finally the style, the order, the coherence and the correction of the writing. The three components are necessary to write a good argumentation and should be teach and evaluate in a comprehensive manner.

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