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Sample Essay - Score of 6

Though America has suffered through times of massive economic distress


where government intervention was necessary in maintaining the peoples
spirit, America was founded by individuals at town meetings, behind their
ploughs, or in peaceful petition. In todays relatively stable society, people
should feel empowered to make changes and solve problems because
countless reforms began at the grassroots level. If people need inspiration or
proof, they need only to look to the progressives or the Steimetz twins, who
rid the beaches of cigarette butts with their activism.
In the early 1900s, American government had been congealed into a state
of corruption and inaction by the powerful lobbyists of the industries. In this
Gilded Age, the disparity between rich and poor were astonishingwhile
Vanderbilt became a millionaire, millions of factory workersmostly
immigrantslived in squalor and ate insalubrious food. At this same time,
the progressive movement sought to rectify these injustices. Jane Addams,
for example, started a settlement house for women workers, where she not
only provided child care and financial support, but also campaigned for the
abolition of child labor and the creation of laws to protect workers safety.
The actions of hundreds of others like her eventuly led to reforms in city
governmentthe referendum, the city council ran by experts, not lobbyists,
etc. All these reforms originated at the movement of the individual.
However, movement by individuals does not have to spread nationwide to be
effective. In the state of Connecticut, two teenagers who passionately cared
for the environment effected state laws to make littering of cigarette butts
illegal on beaches. The teens began with simple cleanup campaigns with
friends and family but realized that more action couldand shouldbe
taken. Thence, they began to make trips to state legislature in addition to
trips to the beachinstead of collecting butts, they rallied support.
Eventually, a law was passed to make their sentiments permanent
however, the impetus started in the minds of two teenagers.
Government is powerful and well-intentioned, but the sordid mechanics of
politics often obstruct problem solving. Individuals, however, are not so
hampered. In a country where rights not enumerated (explicitly given to the
federal govt) are for the people, people should see individual action as a
right AND responsibility.
Score Explanation
Demonstrating outstanding critical thinking, this essay effectively and
insightfully develops a point of view (In a country where rights not
enumerated . . . are for the people, people should see individual action as a
right AND responsibility), using clearly appropriate examples from history
and current events to support the position. Well organized and clearly
focused as it discusses people who were empowered to make changes and
solve problems, the response displays clear coherence and smooth
progression of ideas (In the state of Connecticut, two teenagers who

passionately cared for the environment effected state laws to make littering
of cigarette butts illegal on beaches. . . . Eventually, a law was passed to
make their sentiments permanent). The essay also exhibits skillful use of
language, using a varied, accurate, and apt vocabulary, and meaningful
variety in sentence structure is evident (Government is powerful and wellintentioned, but the sordid mechanics of politics often obstruct problem
solving). This essay demonstrates clear and consistent mastery and receives
a score of 6.