ENGAGING WITH POLITICS ASSESSMENT ITEM
This assessment item requires students to select a political issue of interest. This can be a local, state, or federal issue. There are two components to this assessment.
The first component requires you to provide short answer responses (approx. 250 words each) to the following questions:
1. What is the issue, how did you find out about it, and what sources did you use to research it?
2. Which level/s of government is involved? (e.g. local, state, or federal government) and which would you target primarily if you wanted to be heard on this issue? Why?
3. Identify the Members of Parliament and/or Ministers with whom you would raise this issue. Are they members of the Government or the Opposition? Who would you target primarily? Why?
This component of the assessment will be marked on accuracy, quality of sources identified and used, and clarity of written expression. In total, this component is worth 15%
The second component of this assessment item requires students to draft a letter to the person you have identified as the primary person with whom to raise the issue (in question 3 above). The letter should take the following form:
A concise summary of the current position and an overview of the problem
In this introductory section, you must provide a brief summary of the issue andbriefly explain how the problem arises in context (e.g. the history of the matter, the legal or policy position currently, etc…)This section should contain a strong opening statement of your argument (supported by relevant sources) – e.g. do
you agree/ disagree with the current position?
This should be the first (and perhaps second) paragraph of your letter
Critical analysis of the problem
This forms the body of your letter. In this section, you need to analyse the issues to identify how/where areas of weakness or injustice arise. You will need to research the issue and use appropriate sources to support your analysis. Do not just describe the issues – analyse the strengths or weaknesses in the system that contribute to or overcome the problem.
This should be the body of your letter and should be about 2-3 paragraphs in length 10 marks
Recommendations for reform.
You should provide a recommendation for reform or a solution to the problem you’ve raised. Your recommendation should be well-grounded and achievable. This is the closing paragraph of your letter.
In total, your letter should be approximately 1250-1500 words in length 5 marks
Structure, writing, and referencing
Your letter should be tightly structured and well-written. It should be free of grammatical/spelling mistakes, and correctly referenced with a reference list. 5 marks
Total marks for this component 25 marks
In total, the assessment piece is worth 40 marks (40%).
The number of sources you will need depends on the issue chosen and the scope of the analysis you choose to conduct. As a rule of thumb, I would expect to see at least three (3) good quality sources being used to support your argument. Please use the APA referencing style.
STYLE AND FORMATTING:
The letter should follow the structure provided in the table above. You may use headings and sub-headings as appropriate, and should use a formal letter format (e.g. addresses, proper salutation and closing etc).The letter should be typed in 12 font and with at least 1 ½ line spacing. Your writing style must be appropriately formal and academic – your letter should contain a reasoned argument, not passionate declarations or hyperbole. You may write in first person as appropriate to a letter, but keep the tone formal. Do not use colloquialisms, and support your work with references wherever necessary.
Word length for both components together is 2,000 words (excluding references). You need to be careful in how you allot words for each section. Plan and structure your assignment with care. Show the word count of each component on your paper (excluding references). Assignments should be no less than 1800 words, and no more than 2500 words. (I am more generous with the upper word limit than usual on this assessment piece in order to reflect the diversity of issues that may be chosen).
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