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Calvary University  

A virtual platform of quality
higher education, offered
within a Christian context

Faculty of Communication


Academic Writing Skills

A course leading to a qualification in Communication


Assessment Directive

Definition

Assessment can be described as:

The evaluation of learners’ performances and achievement of specified learning objectives through a variety of measures and methods.

Differently put, assessment is about measuring the results of learning so that judgements can be made about a learner’s competence.

Assessment Reading

The section on assessment in the Academic Guide contains important information concerning assessment in general. It is strongly advised that you read this section before continuing.

Assessment Activities

Assessment activities include the following:

  • Self-assessment
  • Four open-book tests (no tests on chapters 17 to 26)
  • Five written assignments
  • Two oral tasks
  • Group Work
  • Keeping a workfile

Self-Assessment

Self-assessment is an important component of learning and is formative and developmental in nature.

Instructions

Complete all the chapter exercises. Some exercises can be completed directly in the textbook where space is provided. The remainder must be done separately and filed in your workfile.

You may want to compare your answers with the professor's answers in the Memorandum for Students and discuss your work with your tutor and fellow students.

Marking

Your academic tutor continuously assesses the work done in your workfile and a final mark for self-assessment activities is awarded at the end of this course.


Tests

The purpose of a test is to assess the retention of factual information, understanding, insight, or ability to reason, developed by you as a result of understanding a particular portion of the course.

Instructions

Refer to the assessment schedule and take the tests as scheduled.

Marking

In order to maintain a set standard of assessment, all tests are prepared centrally by the Faculty.

The following rules apply to the marking of tests:

  • The assessment software programme automatically marks the scheduled tests (see assessment software in the Academic Guide)
  • A test can only be taken once after which the programme locks access to the test
  • Tests which were failed may be repeated once only, with the special permission of the course professor
  • Tests represent 60% of the final grade

Criteria

The following assessment instruments are used in this course:

  • Multiple choice questions
  • True-false questions

Tests are compiled by the website database on a random basis for each individual student. No two tests are alike. The test is written in the students privacy at an appropriate time. Once the student is ready, the test is opened and will stay open only for a specified time. When the student has completed the test or when the time is up, the test is instantly marked. The marks are displayed and stored against the student's name.

Guidelines

Follow the guidelines presented to you in the Study Skills course. Refer to the following chapters of the prescribed textbook (Payne, E. & Whittker, L. Developing essential study skills):

  • Part II: Assessment skills
  • Chapter 12: Examinations

Although the above chapters have a direct bearing on tests, these chapters must be studied in context of the rest of the chapters.

Assignments

The purpose of an assignment is to teach you the art of academic writing and to integrate multiple academic and practical skills. An assignment may be an article, report, or essay through which you demonstrate the ability to integrate academic knowledge.

Instructions

Refer to the assessment schedule and submit the assignments as scheduled.

Assignment 1

Write an essay of between 1500 and 2000 words. Outline one of the following aspects of academic writing skills:

  • Why write?
  • The writing process: laying the foundation
  • Writing a powerful paragraph: building the foundation
  • Writing an effective essay: building a large structure

Assignment 2

Write an essay of between 1500 and 2000 words. Outline one of the following aspects of academic writing skills:

  • Recognizing sentences and fixing fragments
  • Joining sentences through coordination
  • Joining sentences through subordination
  • Joining sentences with pronouns
  • Repairing run-ons and correcting comma splices

Assignment 3

Write an essay of between 1500 and 2000 words. Outline one of the following aspects of academic writing skills:

  • Making subjects and verbs agree
  • Using the past tense and the past participle
  • Using pronouns
  • Using modifiers
  • Making comparisons
  • Being consistent
  • Writing concretely and concisely

    Assignment 4

    Write an essay of between 1500 and 2000 words. Outline one of the following aspects of academic writing skills:

    • Describing a scene
    • Describing a person
    • Writing narration
    • Writing a report
    • Describing a process
    • Writing about causes and effects
    • Classifying information
    • Writing comparisons and contrasts
    • Defining terms
    • Summarizing and responding

    Assignment 5

    Write an essay of between 1500 and 2000 words. Outline one of the following aspects of academic writing skills:

    • Punctuating sentences
    • Checking spelling, apostrophes, hyphens, and capitals
    • Writing the right word
    • Keeping verbs in order
    • Mastering the little words: articles and prepositions

    Marking

    The following rules apply in the marking of assignments:

    • The academic tutor assesses the prescribed assignments
    • Marking takes place by means of the assessment software programme (see section on assessment software programme in the Academic Guide)
    • Assignments represent 15% of the final grade

    Criteria

    Kindly refer to the criteria presented in the Academic Guide.

    Guidelines

    The aim of this course is to provide essential instruction and practice in basic writing skills, and in particular, chapter 4 of the prescribed textbook offer excellent guidelines on writing an effective essay.

    You may also want to follow the guidelines presented to you in the Study Skills course. Refer to the following chapters of the prescribed textbook (Payne, E. & Whittker, L. Developing essential study skills):

    • Part II: Assessment skills
    • Chapter 4: Finding information
    • Chapter 8: Essay writing
    • Chapter 9: Writing reports and dissertations
    • Chapter 12: Examinations

    Although the above chapters have a direct bearing on assignments, these chapters must be studied in context of the rest of the chapters.

    Sources of Reference

    You may use the content of the prescribed textbook to give structure to your assignments. However, your research should include other sources of reference.

    Your assignments must be original (in your own words). Ensure that your research is sufficiently different from the content of the textbook or any other sources of reference, and do not be tempted to plagiarise.

    Please refer to the guidelines for assignments.

    Tasks

    The purpose of tasks as a learning activity is to integrate multiple academic and practical skills by teaching you the arts of oral communication and practical academic work.

    Instructions

    Refer to the assessment schedule and carry out the tasks as scheduled.

    Task 1

    Give a full presentation (talk) of not more than 30 minutes on one of the following topics:

    • Why write?
    • The writing process: laying the foundation
    • Writing a powerful paragraph: building the foundation
    • Writing an effective essay: building a large structure
    • Recognizing sentences and fixing fragments
    • Joining sentences through coordination
    • Joining sentences through subordination
    • Joining sentences with pronouns
    • Repairing run-ons and correcting comma splices
    • Making subjects and verbs agree
    • Using the past tense and the past participle
    • Using pronouns
    • Using modifiers
    • Making comparisons
    • Being consistent
    • Writing concretely and concisely

    Task 2

    Give a full presentation (talk) of not more than 30 minutes on one of the following topics:

    • Describing a scene
    • Describing a person
    • Writing narration
    • Writing a report
    • Describing a process
    • Writing about causes and effects
    • Classifying information
    • Writing comparisons and contrasts
    • Defining terms
    • Summarizing and responding
    • Punctuating sentences
    • Checking spelling, apostrophes, hyphens, and capitals
    • Writing the right word
    • Keeping verbs in order
    • Mastering the little words: articles and prepositions

    Restriction

    You may not select a topic for a task of which the content is included in any of the assignments that you have selected.

    Marking

    The following rules apply in the marking of tasks:

    • The academic tutor assesses the prescribed tasks
    • Marking takes place by means of the assessment software programme on the CU website
    • Tasks represent 10% of the final grade

    Criteria

    Kindly refer to the criteria presented in the Academic Guide

    Guidelines

    The assessment criteria for tasks in the Academic Guide offer excellent guidelines.

    Follow the guidelines presented to you in the Study Skills course. Refer to the following chapters of the prescribed textbook (Payne, E. & Whittker, L. Developing essential study skills):

    • Part II: Assessment skills
    • Chapter 4: Finding information
    • Chapter 11: Presentations
    • Chapter 12: Examinations

    Although the above chapters have a direct bearing on tasks, these chapters must be studied in context of the rest of the chapters.

    Sources of Reference

    You may use the content of the prescribed textbook to give structure to your tasks. However, your research should include other sources of reference.

    Please refer to the guidelines for tasks.

    Group Work

    Group work assesses your abilities and skills to work effectively with others as a member of a team or group and to integrate all main aspects of learning in a real environment.

    Instructions

    As a group, complete the following activities:

    • All the "Collaborative Activities" of each chapter
    • The first exercise of each chapter-ending "Editing for Mastery"

    Note that all group members must agree on the choice of group tasks.

    Marking

    The following rules apply in the marking of group work:

    • The academic tutor facilitates the activities of the group
    • All group activities are presented as a group to the academic tutor
    • The tutor provides the solutions to the "Learning by Doing" section of each chapter
    • The tutor continuously assesses all the work done by you as a member of the group.
    • The tutor collectively assesses the effectiveness of the group
    • Marking takes place by means of the assessment software programme (see section on assessment software programme in the Academic Guide)
    • Group work represents 10% of the final grade

    Criteria

    Kindly refer to the criteria presented in the Academic Guide.

    Guidelines

    Follow the guidelines presented to you in the Study Skills course. Refer to the following chapters of the prescribed textbook (Payne, E. & Whittker, L. Developing essential study skills):

    • Chapter 3: Group working skills
    • Chapter 11: Presentations

    Although the above chapters have a direct bearing on group work, these chapters must be studied in context of the rest of the chapters.

    The assessment of presentations also serves as an excellent guideline to present your work.

    Workfile

    The purpose of the workfile is to assess your work done in private or self-study.

    Instructions

    Keep a workfile of the following work done by you in private study:

    • Your answers to the chapter exercises
    • Your preparation and participation in group activities
    • Copies of your assignments
    • Copies of your written work done in preparation for tasks
    • Any other instructions by the academic tutor

    Marking

    Your academic tutor continuously assesses all the work placed in your workfile. The workfile represents 5% of the final grade.

    Criteria

    Kindly refer to the criteria presented in the Academic Guide.

    Guidelines

    Follow the guidelines presented to you in the Academic Guide.

    Assessment Schedule

    Below is the assessment schedule indicating the scheduling of assessment activities for your course. This will vary according to the number of credits and the number of chapters. Kindly note that the sequence of the assessment activities is important and must be completed as indicated. The following is an example for a course valued at 22 credits. Let us assume the textbook has 20 chapters.

    ASSESSMENT SCHEDULE:

    CHAPTERS (LECTURES) TESTS ASSIGNMENTS TASKS GROUP WORK WORKFILE
    Chapter 1       C
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    o
    u
    s

    A
    s
    s
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    s
    s
    m
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    t
    C
    o
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    t
    i
    n
    u
    o
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    s

    A
    s
    s
    e
    s
    s
    m
    e
    n
    t
    Chapter 2      
    Chapter 3 Test 1    
    Chapter 4   Assignment 1  
    Chapter 5      
    Chapter 6      
    Chapter 7      
    Chapter 8      
    Chapter 9      
    Chapter 10      
    Chapter 11      
    Chapter 12      
    Chapter 13      
    Chapter 14      
    Chapter 15      
    Chapter 16 Test 3 Assignment 3 Task 1
    Chapter 17 No Test    
    Chapter 18 No Test    
    Chapter 19 No Test    
    Chapter 20 No Test    
    Chapter 21 No Test    
    Chapter 22 No Test    
    Chapter 23 No Test    
    Chapter 24 No Test    
    Chapter 25 No Test    
    Chapter 26 No Test Assignment 4  
    Chapter 27      
    Chapter 28      
    Chapter 29      
    Chapter 30      
    Chapter 31 Test 4 Assignment 5 Task 2

    Weights

    Below are the weights assigned to the assessment activities in all courses:

    Tests
    Assignments
    Tasks
    Group work
    Workfile
        60% of final grade
    15% of final grade
    10% of final grade
    10% of final grade
      5% of final grade

    Assessment Hints

    • Study Skills textbook. Follow the guidelines presented to you in the textbook of the Study Skills course (Payne, E. & Whittker, L. Developing essential study skills). Refer to the chapters indicated in the preceding sections.
    • Instructional words used in test, assignments and tasks. It is important to take note of the instructional words and their definitions. In this regard, refer to the prescribed textbook for the Study Skills course. (Payne, E. & Whittker, L. Developing essential study skills) pages 205 and 206. You may also refer to the keywords and their definitions listed in the Academic Guide.

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