Final Exam Essay (Final Exam, Part II)
Assignment Instructions and Grading Rubric
Select a media text — for example, film, television show, advertisement, video game, song,
magazine, newspaper, internet site, etc. — and write a four- to six-page double-spaced (1,000 –
1,500 word) critical analysis of your selected media text that utilizes any one or a combination of
the theoretical perspectives explored in class (Marxist, organizational, pragmatic, rhetorical,
cultural, psychoanalytic, feminist, queer, reception, sociological, erotic, or ecological analysis). It
is better to choose from a small number of theoretical ideas that you explore in depth rather than
taking a cursory approach.
There are two key aspects to doing well on the essay:
1. Show you can apply specific media studies theories/concepts. Citing/quoting from the
textbook is a good idea to show that you’re doing that. Papers that do not cite specifics from the
textbook will not score well.
2. In-depth analysis with close examination of media examples scores better than broadly written
Let these two aspects be your guide in what you choose and how much you choose to analyze.
At a minimum, your essay should include:
1. A one-paragraph introduction in which you:
a. introduce your media text;
b. comment upon its significance as an object of study
c. formulate a clear and concise thesis statement that identifies what your selected mass
mediated text is doing, how it is doing it, and why it matters – “So what?”
2. A thoughtful and detailed analysis of your text using relevant principles discussed in class.
The goal of this section is to combine theory and astute critical observations effectively. This is
the body of your paper and should constitute the largest portion. Papers that do not cite
specifics from the textbook will not score well.
3. A critical conclusion in which you briefly reflect on the implications of your analysis. This
might include speculating about the role your text plays in political affairs, processes of
socialization, or contemporary culture generally.
The essay is worth half of the final exam score, or 25% of final grade, and will be graded
holistically on a 100-point scale.
|Task||Select a mass mediated text, research it, and write a four- to six-page double-spaced (1,000-1,500 word)
critical analysis of the text that utilizes any of the 12 theoretical perspectives explored in class (Marxist,
organizational, pragmatic, rhetorical, cultural, psychoanalytic, feminist, queer, reception, sociological, erotic,
or ecological analysis). You may choose 1-3 different media studies theories that are appropriate for
analyzing your chosen media text. Papers that are substantially short will be penalized.
|Evaluation||Papers are evaluated and assigned a numerical score based on their overall effectiveness in accomplishing
the assigned task. All aspects of your paper are considered, including quality of thesis claim, depth of analysis
and argumentation, application of required media studies theories, and quality of writing and organization.
The check boxes are intended to provide general guidance on the effectiveness of various aspects of your paper
while recognizing that no checklist can adequately address the specifics of individual papers. Papers are
evaluated as a whole and must excel in all areas to score at the A or A+ level. Two boxes checked in the same
category indicate the assessment lies between the descriptions or contains attributes of each.
|Introduction||Lacking – Begins as an assignment response, assumes readers are already familiar with the context and
purpose of the paper, or does not provide sufficient context or explanation of paper’s purpose
Adequate – Offers sufficient context and explanation of purpose but does not articulate an issue,
provide a strong sense of “so what?”, or move to answer the question “who cares?”
Successful – Engages readers and effectively familiarizes them with the context and purpose of the
paper while also providing a compelling reason for them to keep reading; A or A+ papers set up a
particularly interesting agenda
|Claim or Thesis||Lacking – Paper does not offer a claim or thesis
Adequate – Paper offers an acceptable and generally supportable, though somewhat generic, claim
Successful – Paper provides a precise , supportable, and intellectually interesting claim or thesis
|Organization||Lacking – Paper offers little structure, paragraphs lack topic sentences or do not function as logical
units, or paragraphs drift through ideas and/or opinions without providing focus, purpose or support
Adequate – Paper is structured through paragraphs that generally orient readers and guide them
through the discussion
Successful – Paper is well structured through focused, logically organized paragraphs that use topic
sentences and transitions to specifically orient readers and guide them through the discussion
and Use of Media
|Lacking – Paper is largely descriptive with little or no analysis or argument, paper does not draw on
media studies theories, or paper describes media studies theories without applying them in support of
an analytic argument
Adequate – Paper offers general analysis and argumentation that draws on media studies theories
but does so in a somewhat perfunctory, generic or less in-depth manner
Successful – Paper offers specific analysis and argumentation that draws on and engages media
studies theories with convincing in-depth insight
|Lacking – Quotations and/or paraphrasing of media studies theories is absent, imprecise or without
clear purpose; quotations are dropped in and not integrated with the prose of the paper
Adequate – Quotations and/or paraphrasing of media studies theories support the general
argument of the paper and are integrated with the prose of the paper
Successful – Quotations and/or paraphrasing convincingly used to support the argument of the
paper and are well-integrated, with clear distinction between the theories used and the ideas of the
|Quality of Writing||Lacking – Quality of writing is inadequate for effective communication at the university level. Writing
Centre and English Language Development Centre recommended. http://ctl.utsc.utoronto.ca/
What the Grades Mean:
A level = Excellent in every respect, including originality and focus of claim with clear sense of issue or “so what?”,
organization and expression of thought, depth of analysis and discussion, and insightful application of media studies theory.
B level = Good B-level papers are good and largely successful but not as strong as A-level papers
C level = Okay Meets requirements of the assignment but not as strong as B-level papers;
D-level = Poor Meets requirements of the assignment at a minimal level;
F-level = Failure. Papers do not meet the basic requirements of the assignment, or have major problems with the quality of
Notes for Success:
1. Give your paper an appropriate academic title. Excellent titles state the subject of the paper and give readers an idea of
what the argument will be about.
2. Follow APA or MLA citation mechanics. You must cite any source you use, including the textbook for the course,
Introduction to Critical Media Studies. You do not need to cite from lectures.
3. Include a References or Works Cited page listing ALL sources.
4. Do NOT cut-and-paste material from the internet without attribution. This is plagiarism and is subject to an Academic
Integrity investigation. You may quote or paraphrase from internet materials, but you must do so properly by
acknowledging the source.
5. Turnitin.com: “Normally, students will be required to submit their course essays to Turnitin.com for a review of textual
similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will allow their essays to be included as source
documents in the Turnitin.com reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism.
The terms that apply to the University’s use of the Turnitin.com service are described on the Turnitin.com web site”.