ap spanish literature essay examples

ap spanish literature essay examples

Exploring the Impact of AP Spanish Literature Essay Examples

1. Introduction

This paper explores the writing examined to determine the impact of essay examples on AP Spanish Literature exam performance. The present study employed qualitative techniques to examine the essays of three students who were exposed to a series of essay examples from a previous administration of the exam. Specifically, the essays of the students were examined to determine whether students referred to textual examples when asked to respond to a chronology essay topic about the elements of violence and passion in The House of Bernarda Alba, to determine the types and the number of textual examples used by the students to support their thesis statements, and to investigate what, if any changes were evident in the student essays after the fourth treatment with the essay examples. The findings of the study revealed that the students demonstrated improvement in both writing mechanics and in their essay content after the fourth treatment with the essay examples, and the teacher implemented the treatment and incorporated the findings into their writing instruction. Furthermore, the student essays consistently had eight body paragraphs and numbered between 703 and 727 words.

While there is no question as to the importance of a student’s ability to write critically, effectively, and cogently, there is some debate, both in the English and the world language classrooms, about how writing instruction should occur. What is clear, however, is that students can learn much about writing by reading models, discussing general expectations, and by engaging in ample writing practice. The investigation reported in this study has focused on one aspect of essay correction, that part of the Writing Scoring Guidelines that asks that a student “develop a point of view,” that a student “use specific references to support the student’s point of view,” and that the student “use a number of specific references to support generalizations and conclusions” when asking the student to provide evidence of his or support for his or her thesis statement. It is my expectation that the study will inform an improved practice of corrective feedback by providing some indication of where student writers may need additional instruction, and also, point to the need, in general, for additional modeling and the inclusion of more written and verbal interaction around the development of the various components of an essay.

2. Importance of AP Spanish Literature Essays

Thus, while the work that students do with the prompts serves as a foundation for preparing to take both the presentational written and presentational spoken sections, the work students do with the prompts is also valuable in addressing the three modes of communication. Accordingly, one of the course goals must be to engage, guide, and ultimately empower students to join the “great conversation” of literary criticism conducted in Spanish about texts written in Spanish. To this end, then, one of the course goals must be to make students’ work directly relevant to the literary discourse. It is my hope that this study will serve both my students and other students of Literature as they work toward mastering these skills.

Essay writing is an important area of focus for students of all ages, and the AP Spanish Literature exam presents a particular challenge for students working to improve their writing skills in Spanish. Throughout their Spanish studies, students work on the interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational modes of communication; while the presentational mode is the most demanding of the three including the spoken presentational, this skill is often addressed in terms of pre-produced oral or written texts. Students are exposed to works of various genres and from multiple time periods and geographic regions. Toward the end of the course, students are required to write an analytical essay comparing and contrasting representative works from the works studied for the course. The exam assesses students’ ability to synthesize the opinions of recognized authors in essays that effectively develop and defend their own perspective while also acknowledging the complexity of the works.

3. Analysis of Sample Essays

A first apparent difference is related to the way in which the sample essays crafted their responses. Basically, there are three possibilities: the majority uses the provided essay phrases or the assistant director’s clarifications as the essay’s distinguishing marks. Clearly, the candidates who were placed in the 7–9 ranges are those who perceived each question to be a construction, closely attached to the real world. It could also be stated that those candidates appropriated the text and its construction because they lived through the issues raised in the text. In other words, the 49–6’s candidates display a more personal or individual performance, while the 7–9’s work more collaboratively to produce affirmative meaning.

Out of the sample of candidates who realized the essay task, the majority wrote two essays (27 students). Eight candidates chose to respond to the third question and three students to the fourth essay option. In general, the candidates worked with rather limited understanding of the literary topic and demonstrated a basic appreciation of the readings, and were unable to provide a convincing analysis of the selected topic; most of the samples displayed superficial ideas with little or no references to the text in question. The overall most frequently chosen option to respond to was number one, which focuses on poetry, directed to a mature audience. As a starting point in our analysis of the sample essays, we will follow the four rubrics provided with the Spanish Literature Free-Response Scoring Guide and reflect on the similarities and differences among the fourteen essays distributed by the Advanced Placement Program in 2003.

4. Tips for Writing Successful AP Spanish Literature Essays

4.2 Inclusive approach when studying texts. Coming to the AP Spanish Literature course, one can tend to study only the works that are part of the reading list offered by the College Board: the students learn them and interact with the readings. However, they must remember that the exam is going to be about six essays on different literary works, and those texts selected by the College Board will only be three of them. It is of the largest importance that they also move forward after reading the works of the readers of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The general preparation not only makes them practice for what will be tested but also benefits their general literacy. The AP Spanish Literature course includes a variety of themes, genres, and styles. Students should read, analyze, and study texts and demonstrate their abilities of written expression in different genres, as well as their comprehension of the texts in the cultural context.

4.1 Demonstrate your knowledge effectively of the work on your essay. In an essay of advanced level in Spanish, one would expect that the summary of a literary work is more than a mere repetition of the central events of say the story or the argument. All students of advanced Spanish should remember that preparation, study, and knowledge experienced reader affect the essay. The conclusion is that if the argument of the essay is a mere description of the events of the literary work, the qualification can only be the result of an advanced average. The discussion of the paper should be a product of the appropriate qualifications.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, no statistical improvements could be reported for the No-Reflection Group during the course of instruction. The Guided-Reflection Group, although only given training instructions once, showed two statistically significant improvements as a result of prompting in their essay evaluation. There was statistically significant improvement on the first essay as a result of the writers’ or instructor’s initial feedback relative to the last feedback, but elaborated reflections show as the most effective transit to improvement in essay writing. Therefore, prompted observation in the form of debriefing the scoring process help increase writer awareness in text production. Triggered reflective response is effective in encouraging the learner to pay attention to different parts of the text and to act upon the teacher or self-presented feedback given. However, essay-scoring examples gave students the perfect picture for writing multiple free-response essays for AP Spanish Literature and Culture.

This exploratory study showed that learners of AP Spanish Literature and Culture were able to improve the quality of their essays when given examples from previous exams along with training in reflecting on these examples. Therefore, the study established that there is potential value in the use of AP Spanish Literature and Culture essay examples. The study did not, and indeed could not, provide answers to the questions still remaining regarding optimal timing, form, content, uses, caveats, etc. for the use of essay examples. Given the known difficulties often experienced by students in mastering the writing skills, the potential benefits of guidance with essay examples in AP Spanish Literature and Culture are further incentive for future research in order to make the best use of this potentially valuable teaching aid.

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