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Hi! I'm Toni, your writing TA. I am excited to work with you. We can get started by you providing me with the assignment you are working on or you can ask me questions about my process and what I do. :) How would you like to begin?
Identify the author's main idea, argument, or thesis. Explain the author's line of reasoning by identifying the claims used to build the argument and the connections between them. Evaluate the effectiveness of the evidence the author uses to support the claims made in the argument.
Great, you've outlined a comprehensive assignment that focuses on critical reading and analytical writing. Now, could you please share the essay you've written in response to this assignment? Once I have your essay, I'll be able to help you with the analysis and provide feedback on your work.
Peter Levine's argument is that the United States should lower its voting age from 18 to 17 in order to promote informed voting, expand the national electorate, and, in turn, strengthen the nation's democracy as a whole. Levine builds his argument that the US should lower its voting age to 17 by presenting the notion that high schools could encourage informed voting, utilizing specific examples in which younger voting ages have benefitted democracies and by examining the benefits of a lower voting age that could potentially be enjoyed by the United States. He first makes the claim that lowering the voting age would allow high schools to educate their students on how to be informed voters and create a cultural norm in American youth that encourages voting. Levine argues that because “voting is habitual,” the US could see higher turn-out rates in areas where “a majority of students believed that they should vote.” Not only will more people vote if the age limit is lowered to 17, Levine argues, but more informed people would also participate in elections because schools would have the opportunity to improve their students' “knowledge of the Constitution, the political system and current issues” prior to an election. These claims made by Levine are supported by his inclusion of specific examples in which lower voting ages have encouraged democratic participation. He notes that when Scotland lowered its voting age to 16, the “turnout in that age range was high.” This greatly contrasts his example of California, which, in the 2014 elections, saw a turnout of only “5.2 percent of eligible 18-year-olds.” He also notes the example that, when allowed to preregister at age 17, young voters were more likely to vote. A reform that encouraged students to branch out from simply voting blindly (if at all) and actually “broadened the youth electorate…to include more Republican voters.” Finally, Levine explains the impact that a lowered voting age could have on the US specifically. He claims that it would allow an opportunity to connect “civil learning in schools to an important act of citizenship,” which would in turn “boost informed participation in our democracy” long term, thus allowing the voices of us the youth to make American “policies and institutions better.” Levine effectively utilizes credible evidence to support most of his claims, though there are some areas that lack credibility. His use of quote [sic] research conducted by political scientists such as that of Eric Plutzer, Mark Franklin, and John Holbein and Sunshine Hillygus was appropriate because Levine's argument centered around politics. As these sources were all experts in their field of political science, they were perfectly in position to support Levine's argument with their research and claims that proved “voting is habitual,” having the voting age of 18 may have been the “sole reason voter turnout has declined,” and that a lower age could potentially “broaden the youth electorate.” Levine's inclusion of examples from Scotland, Maryland, and Iowa were also effective as they supported his argument with historical evidence of successful attempts at lower voting ages. Finally, Levine's use of claims by college professors David E. Campbell, Daniel Hart, and Robert Atkins was somewhat effective because, as college professors, they're around young adults (the young voting demographic) all the time. However, because they are not proven to be experts in the political field and because there is no cited proof of their claims, their credibility to speak on the matter was lacking. Overall, however, Levine's evidence was both effective and credible with relative consistency throughout the argument.
**Thesis Analysis:** Peter Levine's thesis is that the United States should reduce the voting age to 17. He posits that this will lead to more informed voting, a larger electorate, and ultimately strengthen American democracy. He supports this thesis by asserting that high schools could play a pivotal role in voter education, cites examples of successful lower voting ages in other regions, and discusses the potential benefits for the U.S. in terms of civic engagement and informed participation. How accurate or inaccurate did you find my paraphrase of your underlying argument?
great
**General Suggestions:** As you refine your essay for publication, there are a few areas you should consider revisiting. Firstly, ensure that you have thoroughly analyzed each claim made by Levine and the evidence he uses to support these claims. Assess whether his reasoning is logically sound and whether the evidence is both relevant and sufficient to back up his arguments. Additionally, it would be beneficial to examine any potential counterarguments to Levine's thesis and address them within your essay. This would not only show a deeper understanding of the subject but also strengthen your analysis by showing that you have considered multiple perspectives. Lastly, pay close attention to the credibility of the sources used by Levine. You've pointed out that some evidence may lack credibility; it would be insightful to discuss further why this is the case and how it affects the overall argument. Did you find any of my suggestions confusing or would you like to move on to look at each paragraph more closely?
how should i address counter arguments?
Addressing counterarguments is a critical part of strengthening your essay and demonstrating comprehensive understanding. Here are some suggestions for how you can incorporate counterarguments into your analysis: 1. **Identify Potential Opposition**: Think about who might disagree with Levine's argument and why. What reasons might they have for maintaining the voting age at 18? 2. **Research**: Look for articles, studies, or expert opinions that provide reasons against lowering the voting age. These sources will give you material to work with in your essay. 3. **Acknowledge the Counterargument**: Introduce the opposing viewpoint in your essay. This shows that you're aware of different perspectives and are not simply ignoring them. For example, "Critics of lowering the voting age argue that..." 4. **Explain the Counterargument**: Give a fair explanation of the opposing view, presenting it as strongly as possible. This could involve discussing concerns about maturity, civic knowledge, or the impact on electoral outcomes. 5. **Refute or Rebut**: After presenting the counterargument, offer your response. You might refute it by demonstrating that it is based on incorrect assumptions or rebut it by showing that your argument is stronger even if the counterargument has some validity. For instance, "While it is argued that 17-year-olds may lack the maturity for voting, research shows that civic education can bridge this gap effectively." 6. **Integrate Evidence**: Support your response with evidence, just as you would with your main argument. Use data, expert opinions, or logical reasoning to show why the counterargument doesn't undermine Levine's thesis. 7. **Concede When Appropriate**: In some cases, you might find that the counterargument has valid points. It's okay to concede this, but then explain why the overall balance of evidence still supports Levine's position. Remember, by addressing counterarguments, you're not only strengthening your own position but also showing that you can engage thoughtfully with complex issues. Would you like to move on to a detailed text analysis of your essay now?
yes please
Text Analysis: To provide detailed feedback, let's break down your essay into its constituent paragraphs. **Paragraph 1: Introduction and Thesis** Strengths: - "Levine builds his argument..." was effective because it clearly states the author's main argument and sets the stage for your analysis. - "Levine argues that because 'voting is habitual'..." effectively captures Levine's claim and introduces the reader to one of the key reasons for lowering the voting age. Areas of Improvement: - "These claims made by Levine are supported by his inclusion..." can be improved if you specify which claims are supported by the examples. This helps in maintaining a clear line of reasoning throughout the essay. - You might consider starting the essay with a hook or a broader context to engage readers before delving into Levine's argument. **Paragraph 2: High School's Role and Informed Voting** Strengths: - "Not only will more people vote if the age limit is lowered to 17, Levine argues, but more informed people would also participate..." efficiently relays Levine's dual focus on quantity and quality of voters. - The discussion on schools' roles in improving students' knowledge is a strong point because it supports the argument for lowering the voting age with a practical solution. Areas of Improvement: - "These claims made by Levine are supported by his inclusion..." could be improved by directly connecting the evidence to the specific claims they support for a tighter argument structure. - Consider adding a sentence that critically evaluates the feasibility or potential challenges of schools effectively educating students about voting. **Paragraph 3: Evidence from Other Democracies and Pre-registration** Strengths: - "He notes that when Scotland lowered its voting age to 16, the 'turnout in that age range was high'" is a strong point as it provides concrete evidence from another country's experience. - "A reform that encouraged students to branch out from simply voting blindly..." effectively conveys the potential positive impact of an informed youth electorate. Areas of Improvement: - "Levine's inclusion of examples from Scotland, Maryland, and Iowa were also effective..." can be improved if you explore more deeply how these examples specifically support Levine's claims. - When mentioning specific examples, such as Scotland's voting age, it would be beneficial to include more detailed statistics or outcomes to bolster the evidence. **Paragraph 4: Potential Impact on the U.S. Democracy** Strengths: - The point about connecting "civil learning in schools to an important act of citizenship" is effective because it ties educational initiatives to practical civic engagement. - The discussion on how lowering the voting age could "make American 'policies and institutions better'" is compelling as it suggests tangible benefits to the nation's governance. Areas of Improvement: - "Finally, Levine explains the impact that a lowered voting age could have on the US specifically..." can be improved by critically analyzing how realistic and significant Levine's predicted outcomes are. - Consider discussing potential criticisms of the idea that lowering the voting age would automatically lead to better policies and institutions. **Paragraph 5: Evaluation of Credibility of Evidence** Strengths: - "Levine effectively utilizes credible evidence to support most of his claims..." is good as it acknowledges the strength of Levine's evidence. - The critical analysis of the credibility of some sources, such as the college professors, is a strong point because it adds nuance to your evaluation. Areas of Improvement: - "His use of quote [sic] research conducted by political scientists..." can be improved by correcting the typo and providing clarity on what research was used. - When discussing the credibility of evidence, it would be helpful to suggest how Levine could strengthen his argument by either providing additional evidence or clarifying the qualifications of the sources. If any of the text seems dense or could be better organized, consider restructuring it for clarity and flow. Reflections: 1) What parts of this feedback make the most sense to you? 2) What parts of this feedback do you have questions about or disagree with? After hearing your thoughts, we can discuss how to revise your essay or move on to scoring, depending on your preference. Thank you!
move on
Scoring: Now, let's evaluate your essay based on the provided criteria. **Developing an Argument (0-3pts)**: I would give your argument development a **3 out of 3**. You have a clear and falsifiable thesis and articulate a progression of ideas that logically support it. **Understanding and Analyzing Argument (0-6pts)**: You've done a thorough job of explaining the author's line of reasoning, identifying claims, and explaining the connections between them. Your understanding and analysis score would be a **5 out of 6**. There's room for improvement in integrating counterarguments, which could provide a more comprehensive analysis. **Evaluating Sources and Evidence (0-6pts)**: You evaluate the relevance and credibility of Levine's evidence well, but there is room for a more in-depth examination of the strength of each piece of evidence. I would score this section a **4 out of 6**. **Communicating Information and Ideas (0-5pts)**: Your essay is clear and well-organized. However, there are minor issues with syntactic incoherence and the potential for more specific language and evidence. You receive a **4 out of 5** here. Your cumulative score is **16 out of 20**. This is a strong score, reflecting a well-constructed essay with some areas for improvement to reach the highest standards of published writing. Would you like to revise your essay further based on the feedback, have a conversation about potential revisions, or are you satisfied with the work as it stands? You're welcome to come back for more guidance at any time. Be friendly!
By Adrian Antao, High School English Teacher

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