American Experience

Semester Final Exam

The final exam for this course is designed to offer you the opportunity to demonstrate your skills as a reader and writer. Your semester final exam will also explore the meaning of two essential questions:

• "How do writers create truth through fiction?"

• "What is the American dream?"

In the context of this exam, you will read a non-fiction article related to the semester's essential question of your choice. This article will serve as a critical lens through which you will reflect on literary works you encountered this semester.

Here’s how the exam will be structured and how you should prepare for this exam:

Demonstration of Reading Skills

What’s being assessed here?

• Student’s ability to independently and critically analyze/interpret literary “texts”. ("Texts" will include literary works from the semester as well as literary works selected for this exam specifically.)

• Student’s ability to interpret the essential question in the context of selected literary works.

How should you prepare for this part of the exam?

• Use your completed semester portfolio to review this semester's literary works and your response to those works.

• As you review, consider how these works relate to one of the essential questions.

Demonstration of Writing Skills

What’s being assessed here?

• Student's ability to create an essay which communicates an effective and insightful answer to the selected essay question/prompt while demonstrating a clear and coherent progression of ideas which reflect an in-depth and sophisticated understanding of literary works.

• Student's ability to introduce, place in context and parenthetically cite the required number of supporting passages from selected literary works and further reveal precisely how and why passages provide support.

• Student’s ability to complete the full writing process and create an essay which reflects strong idea development, clear organization, precise word choice, appropriate voice/tone and a thorough understanding of conventions.

How should you prepare for this part of the exam?

• Review your digital portfolio and look for errors you commonly make in the writing process. Be sure you know how to fix these errors. Click here for help.

• Review your portfolio and look for your strengths. Try to find out which brainstorming process, which revision process and which editing process worked best for you. You will have time to write and then revise your essay.