UG Assessment Criteria

PP&D 4: Intro to Urban Studies

Fall 2015


Midterm Exam Questions



  1. Based on your observations of the Katrina Exhibit, how do you personally interpret Jon Hughes’ photos that were taken months after Hurricane Katrina hit? What do these photos portray in terms of urban space and planning? Based on your interpretations of the photos, do you see any relation to the topics discussed in the two articles assigned for Hurricane Katrina? (Gary Rivlin’s “Why the Lower Ninth Ward Looks Like the Hurricane Just Hit” and The New York Times “Ten Years After Katrina.”) Please explain and cite appropriately.


  1. From the videos and readings, we have seen ways racial and class issues plagued the riots. Similarly, racial and class issues have played a role in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. What are the similarities and differences you see between the riots and the aftermath of the natural disaster? Why are they similar and why are they different? Please explain and cite examples from the class readings and/or articles assigned about Hurricane Katrina to support your argument.


  1. The twentieth anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles civil disturbance recently passed, and the corporate media again routinely portrayed this historic event as a race riot resulting from the acquittal of four policemen who beat up an African-American motorist. The media then systematically commented that the state of ethnic and police-community relations in Los Angeles is much improved today. Case closed. But was this event a race riot? As Professor has argued at the end of it clearly was not a race riot. According to Professor Torres on careful examination, it was an urban rebellion with class and economic foundations. In the final analysis, what was it? Please explain with sources and your own (not Torres’ position) assessment of the so-called civil disturbance. Also based on your analysis what would be reasonable policy and political solutions?



Instructions for Midterm Exam:


You will answer 2 out of the 3 questions provided and turn them in online as a Microsoft Word or PDF document through EEE (post it on the Dropbox created: Midterm Exam) and bring a hard copy (staple all pages together) at the beginning of the class on Monday, November 16.


The following are guidelines we would like you to follow (in addition to the rubric):

  1. Please put your Student ID # on the upper right corner ONLY on the first page (this is important!).
  2. Put your name on the last page (anywhere after the bibliography/references).
  3. Before answering your question, please mention the question you are answering.
  4. All pages should have 1-inch margins.
  5. Use 12 point size font and Times New Roman, Arial or other similar legible fonts.
  6. Each essay for the question you answer should have approximately 750-1000 words (3 to 4 pages), a total of 1500-2000 words for two questions (not including the bibliography).
  7. Make sure to appropriately cite all sources used throughout the paper and provide one bibliography at the end.
  8. All pages need to be double spaced.
  9. Please number all pages at the lower right corner.


Keep in mind that plagiarism of any form is a violation of UCI Code of Student Conduct Section 102.01. All class assignments are expected to be original works submitted by individual students, or if directed by the instructor, by students working in a team (See for more information).

Instructor has provided the attached rubric that will be used to grade the midterm exam by the teaching assistants and with the assistance of Professor Torres.


For any questions regarding the exam, please e-mail the TA’s (Edith:, Mariana: or Professor Torres ( We will also be available during our office hours.






Here’s how the papers will be evaluated:


CriteriaExceptional (A)Good (B)Acceptable (C)Flawed (D)Failing (F)
ContentDiscusses appropriate readings, websites, videos, & class discussions accuratelySame as (A), but quality of argument could be improved or articulated betterDiscusses only the appropriate concepts, but does so inaccurately, or with minor misrepresentationDistorts or misrepresents perspectives; may omit minor as well as key conceptsMisrepresents the perspectives, omits key concepts
SynthesisFinds the connections and contradictions among the various sources, and creates a descriptive framework for integrating these perspectivesSame as (A), though may use an integrative framework presented in class discussions, videos, etc.Same as (B) though may overlook some connections and contradictions. Integrative framework may repeat ideas covered in class.Distorts or misrepresents the points of agreement or disagreement among the perspectives; presents views one at a time, rather than finding points of convergenceSame as (D) with even less information discussed
CritiquePresents the author’s viewpoint in dialogue with the perspectives being studied; shows points of agreement, disagreement, and points still under consideration.

Critique may permeate the paper, may be the organizing principle, or may be offered at the conclusion. May report on additional research investigating specific points of interest.

Same as (A) critique may be presented only after the synthesis of other viewpoints studied. May (or may not) make connections with other concepts studied.Critique appears as the conclusion, may disagree without engaging in or exploring the reasons for disagreement.Resists the information being studied by failing to engage with the substance of the argument; asserts the author’s viewpoint without reference to the readings. Conversely, may simply agree with every reading being studied, showing a failure to recognize differences of perspective.Presents no critique, or the critique may be unfounded, misrepresenting the perspectives under study.
WritingArticulate expression, well organized, grammatically correct, free of spelling or typing errorsSame as (A) overall, may have a few errors of grammar or spellingSame as (B), but not clearly organized and/or not well articulated. Has grammar and spelling errors.Same as (C) and quality of the writing may be obscuring the content. Paper may fall short of length required.Paper may be short, writing quality may be poor, typos and errors of grammar


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