Critical reasoning/Readings/Reading 6
Who is this guide for?
This guide is for students who have completed the OER University course on Critical Reasoning and who now wish to register to study with the University of South Africa (Unisa), and to receive credit for the coursework already completed through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
What is RPL?
RPL is a process which enables prior learning and experience to be acknowledged and evaluated towards recognition in a formal programme of study. Unisa has an RPL department which processes applications on an individual basis. The key assumption underpinning the Unisa RPL process and policy is that students requesting RPL should be able to demonstrate knowledge and competences consistent with the level and exit level outcomes of the course for which RPL is requested. Typically, this will involve completing a portfolio of evidence and/or a challenge assessment under controlled circumstances. Typically the fee for the RPL evaluation is about half that of the fee for the taught course.
Note that you must request RPL for the Critical Reasoning course in your initial application and be prepared to provide the necessary evidence to support the application.
What evidence will be needed?
In the Critical Reasoning Course Guide, we explained the assessment strategy as follows:
|Activities||Certificate of completion for students not pursuing integration into a larger qualification|| Formal accreditation for|
integration into a Unisa
|Quizzes x 2 (auto-assessed; random selection from databank)||Weighting 30%||Weighting 15%|
|Assignment in 2 parts (self- and peer assessed against rubric in wiki process)||Weighting 40%||Weighting 20%|
|Reflection journal (self-assessed against rubric)||Weighting 30%||Weighting 15%|
Successful students will receive a certificate of accomplishment for the course. Students will receive a copy of the assessment results including assessor comments. Successful students will receive 12 credits duly recorded on the student's academic transcript at the University of South Africa provided satisfactory evidence is provided of course completion (weighted at 50%) AND provided applicants successfully complete a proctored challenge assessment weighted at 50%.
As taught at Unisa, the Critical Reasoning course assessment strategy comprises a coursework component in the form of assignments and a venue-based, invigilated examination.
In your engagement with the OER University course, you kept a journal and completed a number of tasks both offline and online. You need to collect all that evidence in one place. If you kept a digital journal and drafted your online postings/blogs in your journal before putting them online, you should already have all the evidence that you need of your engagement with the course, in a format that can easily be sent for verification by email.
If you kept a hard copy journal as well as your online postings, you will need to print copies of your online postings to add to your hard copy journal so that you have a complete record of your engagement with the course. You could then scan the document so that it can be attached to an email or you might need to post it, preferably by registered post.
Your journal must include:
1. Evidence of your engagement with activities in the core Readings
2. Your answers to the two Quizzes together with evidence of any discussion you had with fellow students which may or may not have caused you to change your original answer
3. Copies of the two argumentative essays that you worked on:
a. The essay that you initiated and finalised but where the body was developed by your peers; and
b. The essay you wrote in full with copies of the feedback you received and your reflection on the process.
In addition to providing evidence of your coursework, you will most likely also be asked to undergo a challenge assessment. Currently challenge assessments comprise venue-based, invigilated examination papers offered in examination centres around the world. However, Unisa is also exploring a range of non-venue-based approaches to summative assessment so a wider range of options may become available in time.
What would a challenge assessment look like?
In the activities you completed for this course, we asked you to do two kinds of things:
1. Demonstrate your knowledge and competence in recognising and evaluating different kinds of arguments and common errors of reasoning; and
2. Construct arguments, in the form of essays, which demonstrate your ability to reason critically.
You can therefore expect a challenge assessment to comprise one or both of these kinds of activities.
How can I prepare for a challenge assessment?
You need to revise the course materials and practise your essay-writing skills.
1. To help you with the former, we include here two additional quizzes that you can use for self-assessment purposes.
2. To help you with the latter. We include a rubric that you can use to self-assess your own practice essays. (You could adapt it to incorporate additional aspects you considered important form the guidelines you developed collaboratively in Topic 5.)
|Column A: Argument type||
Column B: Argument structures
A Modus ponens
(i) If P then Q
| B Invalid form of the Modus tollens
|| (ii) If P then Q |
|C Denial of the consequent|| (iii) If P then Q |
|D Affirmation of the consequent|| (iv) If P then Q |
Read through the following passage and answer the five questions which follow. Each sentence has a letter after it, which are referred to in the questions that follow.
“A communist state is necessarily a failure! (a) Wherever the work force is institutionalised there can be no hope of either entrepreneurial development or of personal financial gain or advancement. (b) The possibility of individual expression is removed.(c) All people are viewed as identical workers of the state. (d) People hence become stuck as machines serving the greater machinery of the state. (e) Human greed – so despised by communists in capitalism – leads to dictators rising. (f) So, I ask you, have you ever met a happy person from a formerly communist country? (g) It seems fairly obvious that no communist party should be supported. (h)”
Carefully read the following argument, and then answer the following 5 wuestions which directly concern it.
“... woman is more compassionate than man, more easily moved to tears, at the same time is more jealous, more querulous, more apt to scold and to strike. She is, furthermore, more prone to despondency and less hopeful than the man, more void of shame or self-respect, more false of speech, more deceptive and of more retentive memory. She is also more wakeful, more shrinking, more difficult to rouse to action, and she requires a smaller quantity of nutriment” (Aristotle, in “The History of Animals”, Book IX, 1).
A rubric for assessing academic essays
(Adapted slightly from Murray and Johanson 1989:iv; DoE 2003:47).
|Class||Mark||Content||Form||Language and vocabulary||Style|
|Outstanding||80%+||Excellent critical and conceptual analysis. Subject matter comprehensively and accurately presented. Well argued. Relevant reading effectively incorporated.||Excellently organized and presented. Argument concisely and systematically developed with a very well-thought out introduction and conclusion.||Standards of spelling, punctuation, vocabulary use and grammar are extremely high. Mistakes are rare. Handwriting is easily legible/word-processed documents are free of basic errors.||Use of language is entirely appropriate to context, function and intention.|
|Meritorious||70%+||Good critical and conceptual analysis. Subject matter effectively covered and accurately presented. Well argued. Relevant reading effectively incorporated.||Well organized and presented. Argument concisely and systematically developed with a well-thought out introduction and conclusion.||Standards of spelling, punctuation, vocabulary use and grammar are good. Few errors occur. Handwriting is legible/word-processed documents are mostly free of basic errors.||Use of language is appropriate to context, function and intention.|
|Satisfactory||60%+||Rather more descriptive than critical and conceptual. Although the analysis may lack clarity in parts, the student understands the subject matter fairly well. Evidence of relevant reading but not always effectively used.||Fairly well organized and presented. The writing is coherent and ideas are developed, but not always concisely or systematically. The report has an introduction and a conclusion but they may not be well integrated with the body of the essay.||Standards of spelling, punctuation, vocabulary use and grammar are reasonably accurate. Few errors occur. Handwriting is legible/word-processed documents are mostly free of basic errors.||Slight limitation of style and mastery of appropriate idiom.|
|Adequate||35-41||Perfunctory and largely descriptive. Understanding of subject matter is incomplete. Little evidence of reading.||Organization and presentation acceptable. An attempt has been made to develop an argument but is rather unsystematic and sometimes contains redundant and/or irrelevant material. An attempt has been made to write an introduction and conclusion but they may bear little relation to the body of the report.||The report is intelligible but contains a fair number of errors in spelling, punctuation, vocabulary and use and grammar. Handwriting is legible/word-processed documents may have some basic errors.||Use of style and conveyance of tone is present but not consistent.|
|Partially achieved||50%+||Perfunctory. Almost entirely descriptive. Narrow in conception. Little evidence of understanding of reading. Contains inaccuracy. May have misinterpreted the task.||Organization and presentation poor. Little attempt has been made to develop an argument. There is redundant and/or irrelevant material. The introduction and conclusion, if they exist at all, are weak.||The report is not always intelligible. There are frequent errors of spelling, punctuation, vocabulary use and grammar. Handwriting may be difficult to read/word-processed documents may not be well formatted.||Stylistically poor and frequently inappropriate.|
|Inadequate||49% and below||Very little evidence of understanding or of reading. Contains serious inaccuracies. May have misinterpreted the task.||Organization and presentation very poor. No attempt has been to develop an argument. Much redundancy and irrelevant material. Often no introduction or conclusion.||The report is frequently unintelligible. There are many errors of spelling, punctuation, vocabulary use and grammar.||Stylistically very poor and frequently inappropriate.|
|Fail||0||1. Plagiarism or 2. Task not done or 3. Has disregarded the task entirely.|