Writing a Cogent Argument
Of the three text types that the Common Core specifi es (informational, ar-gumentation, narrative), it is argumentation that is considered most im-portant. At the elementary level, 30 percent of the writing that students do should express an opinion and give reasons for it. At the middle school level, that proportion rises to 35 percent, and the content is elevated to supporting an argument with evidence. And at the high school level, 40 percent of the writing that students do should support an argument with evidence. The Common Core defi nes argument as that which “includes the ability to analyze and assess our facts with evidence, support our solutions, and defend our interpretations and recommendations with clarity and precision in every subject area” (www. engageny.org). Writing an argument is more than evidence of learning. The process of using higher-order thinking skills (analysis, synthesis, evaluation) to assemble an argument from relevant, reliable facts and anecdotes “dramatically increases our ability to retain, retrieve, apply, and synthesize knowledge” (www.engageny.org).