Writing assignment #3
The writing prompts in this assignment are based on the course materials for this unit. Consider each prompt carefully and organize an essay in response. Each essay will be graded against the rubric on this page. Study the cells of the rubric carefully as you prepare to write. An essay that is unsatisfactory in content, reasoning and writing will receive 0 points. A response that is excellent in all three categories will receive 8 points.
Unsatisfactory Below Average Acceptable Excellent Content The essay illustrates poor
understanding of the course material by (1) failing to address or incorrectly addressing the relevant content; (2) failing to identify or inaccurately explaining/defining key concepts/ideas; (3) ignoring or incorrectly explaining key points/claims and the reasoning behind them; and (4) incorrectly or inappropriately using terminology.
The essay illustrates rudimentary understanding of the course material by: (1) mentioning, but not fully explaining, the relevant content; (2) identifying some of the key concepts/ideas (though failing to fully or accurately explain many of them); (3) using terminology, though sometimes inaccurately or inappropriately; and (4) incorporating some key claims/points, but failing to explain the reasoning behind them (or doing so inaccurately).
The essay illustrates solid understanding of the course material by correctly: (1) addressing most of the relevant content; (2) identifying and explaining most of the key concepts/ideas; (3) using correct terminology; (4) explaining the reasoning behind most of the key points/claims; and (5) (where necessary or useful) substantiating some points with accurate examples.
The essay illustrates exemplary understanding of the course material by thoroughly and correctly: (1) addressing the relevant content; (2) identifying and explaining all of the key concepts/ideas; (3) using correct terminology; (4) explaining the reasoning behind key points/claims; and (5) (where necessary or useful) substantiating points with several accurate and original examples.
Reasoning The essay reflects substandard or poor reasoning by: (1) failing to synthesize the material or doing so inaccurately; (2) failing to make connections between ideas/claims/points or doing so inaccurately; and (3) failing to evaluate the issue or problem.
The essay reflects basic reasoning by: (1) synthesizing some of the material, though remains vague and undeveloped; (2) making a few connections between ideas/claims/points, but ignoring or inaccurately connecting others; (3) evaluating the issue/problem at a very basic/superficial level; and (4) ignoring assumptions and implications.
The essay reflects fairly strong reasoning by: (1) synthesizing material, (2) making appropriate connections between some of the key ideas/claims/points; (3) accurately evaluating the issue/problem; and (4) identifying ad discussing key assumptions and/or implications.
The essay reflects expert reasoning by: (1) synthesizing material; (2) making connections between relevant ideas/claims/points; (3) presenting an insightful and thorough evaluation of the relevant issue or problem; (4) identifying and discussing important nuances in the relevant material; and (5) identifying and discussing key assumptions and/or implications.
Writing The essay does not communicate ideas/points clearly due to: (1) inappropriate use of terminology and vague language; (2) reliance on disjointed and incomprehensible thoughts and clauses; and (3) lack of recognizable organization.
The essay is often unclear and difficult to follow due to: (1) some inappropriate terminology and/or vague language; (2) ideas sometimes being fragmented, wondering and/or repetitive; and (3) poor organization.
The essay is mostly clear as a result of: (1) appropriate use of terminology and minimal vagueness; (2) minimal number of tangents and lack of repetition; and (3) fairly good organization.
The essay is clear, and concise as a result of: (1) appropriate and precise use of terminology; (2) absence of tangents and coherence of thoughts; and (3) logical organization of ideas and thoughts.
Given the size of this class, it will not be possible to hand grade these written assignments with specific comments. Instead, they will be assessed point values using the rubric. This is, unfortunately, the reality that we find ourselves in as class sizes get larger and faculty get
stretched thinner. However, you can rest assured that I intend to err on the side of lenience as I grade. If you disagree with your grade on any writing assignment you can appeal the grade to me. If you appeal a grade, I will then hand grade your assignment and compute a new grade based on this manual assessment. If I hand grade your assignment the grade imposed will be final. Your grade might go up; it might stay the same; it might go down. If I take the time to hand grade an assignment, I do not intend to err on the lenient side, so make sure you have a good case if you plan to invoke the appeal process. Generally speaking:
An “A” essay:
• Answers all parts to all questions in the writing prompt • Incorporates pertinent and detailed information from both class discussion and assigned
readings (whenever applicable), providing needed evidence. • Maintains focus/avoids being sidetracked by tangents • Presents all information clearly and concisely and in an organized manner • Does much more than merely restate the question and offer a brief response • Avoids distracting grammar/spelling/etc. problems
An “F” essay:
• Addresses the specific central question asked in part, but does not relate directly to the question or does not address all required elements
• Does not adequately incorporate information from class discussion and assigned readings, and may rely on unsupported statements or generalities
• Sometimes strays from the specific topic • Presents information in a manner that is sometimes unclear, and/or has significant
organization problems • May merely restate the question and offer a brief, undeveloped response • May contain a few or a significant number of distracting grammar/spelling/etc. problems
Use the link provided on Canvas to turn in your assignment in Microsoft word (.docx) format. I must be able to load and edit your document natively in Word. No late papers will be accepted. The link is the only acceptable way to turn in your writing assignment. Don’t email assignments via attachments.
1. In this class, we used marijuana as a case study for the sociology of deviance. States vary considerably in their approach to marijuana. In this essay, I want you to outline the marijuana policy you would implement if you were king or queen of Florida. Make sure you outline a comprehensive policy. You should deal with: (1) medical marijuana, (2) edibles and THC content, (3) growing and distribution, (4) other aspects of marijuana policy that interest you. You should also consider the arguments that critics would make against your policy. What would these critics say, and how would you rebut them?
I don’t care at all what kind of policy you outline. If you want to have a legal model like Colorado, fine. If you want to put people in prison for simple possession like Singapore, that’s fine too. I just want you to demonstrate that you are aware of the issues, and that you can construct a coherent, logical policy based on what you’ve learned. The lectures, readings and videos will help you construct your arguments. You should reference these while you write. If you want to do outside research, you can use any sources you think are important or relevant. Using outside sources is not necessary, but if you use them, then you need to cite them correctly and compose a bibliography. (8 points)
2. Consider the following scenario:
David is fifteen years old. His father left when he was an infant, and he is being raised by his mother. His mother is a loving parent, but David’s family faces economic challenges. Since his mother has only her high school diploma, she has difficulty finding work that will pay the bills and provide health insurance. She works long hours, and can’t provide the kind of supervision she would like. David’s older brother has been in trouble with the law since his early teens. He smokes marijuana, and he introduced David to alcohol and marijuana. David has always had trouble in school. The school has repeatedly suggested that he should be tested for a learning disability, but David’s mother doesn’t have the money to pay a psychologist. He was held back in the 4th grade, and he is in danger of dropping out. His mother worries that he will fall in with the wrong crowd. Lately, David has been telling his mother that he must be dumb, because everyone in school seems to grasp things that he struggles to learn. Just last week, David was arrested for shoplifting. He has a court date next week.
Based on this scenario I want you to:
1. Analyze and explain David’s behavior from the standpoint of differential association theory. Which aspects of David’s story would be most salient for a scholar using differential association as means to understand David’s situation?
2. Now analyze and explain David’s behavior from the standpoint of control theory. 3. Finally, analyze and explain David’s behavior using the labeling perspective.
Draw liberally on the readings and the lectures in all of your responses. Be thorough and use the elements in David’s scenario to demonstrate that you understand the theories. (8 points)
3. Review the social structure theories we studied from March 25 through March 29, and the social process theories we studied from April 1 through April 5. What are the essential differences between social process and social structure theories? Compare and contrast the basic features of these two types of theories. Which of the social structural theories of crime appeals to you the most? Why? Which of the social structural theories appeals to you least? Why? Which of the social process theories appeals to you most? Why? Which appeals to you least? Why? Draw heavily on the readings and material from the lectures so that I know that you are familiar with the various theories. (8 points)
4. This semester you have been introduced to deviance and social control, with a specific emphasis on crime and the criminal justice system. Take a moment to write an essay about the most interesting thing you learned this semester. Why did you find it interesting? How has it affected the way you view deviant behavior? I also want you to take a moment and write about something you learned in class that you didn’t know before. What did you learn? How has it affected you? (1 point wrap up essay. No rubric.)