Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan

Description

You are tasked with creating portions of a continuity of operations (COOP) plan to cover contingencies for a complex disaster scenario affecting your organization, community, jurisdiction, or host country. Use any emergency preparedness plan as the basis for your design or evaluation of the continuity of operations plan.

Your tasks:

Write portions of a full COOP plan that addresses a crisis/disaster scenario that develops over time and changes phases from threat to actualization.

• Give background information concerning the source of the threat (for natural hazards include the source, intensity, direction, speed, etc.; and for human induced threats describe the perpetrators or the nature of the accident with all the relevant information) (sources may include a hazard mitigation plan and/or THIRA [Threats and Hazards Identification and Risk Assessment]).1

• List the titles and brief explanation of the parties involved in response activities and the stakeholders.

• Delineate the roles, responsibilities, and resources required for the creation and implementation of an effective plan.

• You should also draw upon the laws, bylaws, regulations, and procedures that underlie the concept of the event and response/planning operations.

• Address all of the issues that require effective response involving life safety and short-term recovery. This requires the knowledge of risks, hazards, emergency management, and homeland security doctrines; plus plan and exercise development doctrine, including project/program management.

1 FEMA’s THIRA guide, CPG-201 (2nd Ed., Aug. 2013), can be found at https://www.fema.gov/threat-and-hazard-identification-and-risk-assessment

In the initial stages of learning about and designing continuity of operations plans, your most valuable resources will be found on-line or in published textbooks. Later in the program you will learn how to generate your own templates for designing or evaluating continuity plans to do some of these same functions.

In this project, you are a new member of a state or local emergency management agency that designs, creates, and offers services to design continuity of operations plans. Your project is to actually design portions of the plan for your area of responsibility. 2

Possible Scenarios (choose one, or fabricate and describe your own)

1. Sixty percent of your workforce is home, sick, having been stricken by a pandemic flu event.

2. Sixty percent of your city/county (850,000 people) is without power for 6 days, caused by a recent episode of severe weather.

3. Your local government management and information technology system (networks, computer systems) are unavailable due to a computer virus. This virus could be caused by a cybersecurity attack on your systems.

Deliverables

1. Before you begin performing some tasks let’s locate some published resources to assist your task: a. Conduct a literature search and review. You are looking for information on continuity of operations (COOP) planning.

b. Questions to ask while investigating resources: i. Are there federal legal requirements mandating continuity of operations plans?

ii. Are there state and local legal requirements mandating continuity of operations plans?

iii. Do grant programs mandate a certain level of continuity of operations plans?

c. Find on-line public resources. i. http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx (Do a search on COOP)

ii. http://www.dtic.mil/ (Do a search on Continuity of Operations)http://www.fema.gov/

iii. http://www.vaemergency.gov/em/training

iv. http://www.vaemergency.gov/em/training/hseep (Homeland Security Exercise & Evaluation Program) (Also see Federal HSEEP information at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/32326)

v. https://hseep.dhs.gov/pages/1001_HSEEP7.aspx

vi. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Continuity Assistance Tool (CAT) (http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/86286) (This is probably your most valuable resource)

vii. Others (Find other resources) (Example: National Security Presidential Directive-51/Homeland Security Presidential Directive-20 (NSPD-51/HSPD-20) National Continuity Policy

d. Find private sector resources and/or consultants. i. http://www.wittobriens.com/go/doc/2000/1580499/

ii. http://www.allhandsconsulting.com/go/services/business-continuity-planning

iii. http://homelandsecurity.gpstrategies.com/ (See Planning: COOP/COG on the left side)

3

iv. Others (Find other resources)

2. Next, let’s review the different types of plans and plan components.

 a. Understand the differences between continuity of operations (COOP) and continuity of government (COG) plans and principles.

b. Understand the differences between operational plans, administrative plans, and critical operating systems and procedures.

Deliverable 1:

Go to FEMA-EMI website and take the following three courses, then take the Final Exam for each, and upload a copy of the certificate of completion to the dropbox provided under the Individual Assignment folder. If you have previously completed any of these courses, there is no need to retake them—just submit proof of completion.  DON’T DO CERTIFICATE

IS-546.a: Continuity of Operations (COOP) Awareness Course http://www.training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-546

IS-547.a: Introduction to Continuity of Operations (COOP) http://www.training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-547

IS-921.a: Implementing Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-921

3. Now that you are comfortable with some of the basics and theory behind continuity planning processes and plans, it is time to identify stakeholders to the planning processes. Possible stakeholders include but are not limited to:

a. Public safety officials

 i. First responders; career and volunteer

ii. Command staff

iii. Administrative staff

iv. Fire/EMS/Rescue

v. Law enforcement

vi. 911 call takers and dispatchers

vii. Mutual aid partners

viii. Emergency management/homeland security personnel

ix. Others?

b. Local elected officials and staff

c. Other local government operating agencies

d. Citizens-at-large

e. Community leaders

f. Business community professionals

g. Hospitals/health care

h. Equipment vendors

i. Others?

4. Know the purposes and objectives of continuity of operations plans and programs:

a. Prepare for known threats, hazards, and to reduce vulnerabilities

b. Test capabilities for redundancy and resilience i. Equipment

ii. Systems

iii. Facilities

iv. Plans

v. Personnel

5. Understand the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Continuity Assistance Tool (CAT) (found at www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/86286):

6. Know the various functions and processes to be considered/protected/covered in a continuity plan: a. Warning and alert notification systems and processes; including message content.

b. Communications i. Crisis communications with publics and stakeholders

ii. Routine

iii. Interagency, intra-agency, and interoperability considerations

iv. Damage Assessment

v. Public Assistance

vi. Individual Assistance

vii. All Emergency Support Functions (ESF’s)

viii. Continuity of government and operations

ix. Others?

Deliverable 2:

Additionally, depending on the type of the scenario chosen, you may wish to take one or more of the relevant FEMA-EMI Independent courses from the list below to familiarize yourself with the context of the disaster (Note: FEMA-EMI Independent Study courses are continually being updated or retired—one or more of these courses may no longer be available when you try to access it. The full course list may be accessed at: https://training.fema.gov/is/crslist.aspx?all=true.

IS-3: Radiological Emergency Management

IS-5.a: Introduction to Hazardous Materials

IS-301: Radiological Emergency Response

IS-302: Modular Emergency Radiological Response Transportation Training

IS-15.b: Special Events Contingency Planning, Training for Public Safety Agencies

IS-319: Tornado Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff

IS-320: Wildfire Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff

Deliverable 3:

1. Outline the steps of developing a continuity of operations plan.

2. Design portions of a sample continuity of operations plan addressing your chosen or fabricated scenario.

The design criteria include:

1. Were objectives of the plan clear and measurable?

2. Was the event adequately predicted requiring the plan execution/implementation? (Look at the planning and design process leading up to the event.)

3. Was the scenario predicted, realistic?

4. Did the plan cover documented vulnerabilities or threats? Did it cover target capabilities?

5. Did the plan adequately ensure continuity of enough capabilities and investments?

6. Were the proper stakeholders involved in the planning process?

7. Were there any significant gaps in the planning or process?

8. Was there an exercise to test the plan?

9. When the plan was enacted, was an immediate Hot Wash and an After Action Review conducted; were outcomes measurable; were corrective actions taken?

10.Did the plan coordinate and align to support issues like planning, mitigation, response, and recovery?

11.Other analysis/evaluation issues and components?

Submit your products (Two separate MS Word documents, 12-pt Times New Roman font, 1” margins, double-spaced) with the following naming convention:

1. COOP Outline: Lastname_Firstname_LD5-2_COOP-Steps

2. COOP Plan: Lastname_Firstname_LD5-3_COOP-Plan

While there is no specific page limit for the COOP Outline and your sample portion of a COOP Plan, these are not intended to be lengthy papers. The COOP Outline might require 2-3 pages, while the segment of a sample COOP Plan might require 4-6 pages as a projected estimate. You may follow any model or template that you find from the 6

FEMA-EMI courses or other sources, but please don’t simply copy-and-paste content. .

Deadline

The due date for the completed assignment, including certificates of completion for FEMA-EMI IS courses, the outline of steps for developing a COOP plan, and the section of a sample COOP plan, is the end of Week 5 on Thursday night 9:pm eastern time, March 2, 2017.

There are separate droboxes under the Individual Assignment folder for submitting both parts of the completed paper, and for submitting copies of certificates of completion for the FEMA-EMI IS courses. 

Your grade for the individual assignment will be based on a number of criteria:  demonstrated understanding of concepts; skill in synthesizing, analyzing, and evaluating information; proper use of references (if used); and writing skills. It will comprise 15% of your final overall course grade.

Excellent:  95-100%

Content and Preparation

  • Demonstrate superb level of comprehension of the subject matter.
  • Provide superb synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of information; demonstrate superior independent thinking.
  • Offer highly relevant and convincing evidence and/or examples to support observations and inferences.
  • Be highly accurate and comprehensive, fully responsive to both major and minor aspects of the assignment.
  • Adhere to all guidelines for content.
  • Completed required FEMA-EMI Independent Study courses (for Option #2).

References and Citations (When Used)

  • Fully credit all sources of information, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.
  • Fully support the content and fully appropriate to the topic.
  • Are of exceptional quality, such as peer-reviewed scholarly articles.
  • Exceed the number of required references (when stated as an instruction).
  • Consistently use the correct and required format (APA).

Writing: Organization of Information

  • Present a highly logical sequence of ideas; flow smoothly and exhibit smooth transitions.
  • Provide very clear and concise statement of the significant elements, key ideas, and issues; clearly and consistently document ideas and assertions.
  • Always stay “on track” and remain focused.
  • Exhibit a highly effective organization and design of paragraphs and sentences; ideas and words are well chosen, paragraphs have topic sentences, etc.

Writing: Grammatical

  • Contain few if any errors in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, or spelling; be consistently well written.
  • Express ideas in an extremely clear manner to the reader; never be vague or incomplete.
  • Achieve an excellent balance of how much to say: concise when needed, explanatory when needed.
  • Use a highly appropriate tone; separate very clearly the objective from the subjective (opinions).
  • Be of the required length (other criteria, especially quality rate much higher than this).

Good: 90-94%

Content and Preparation

  • Demonstrate good to very good level of comprehension of the subject matter.
  • Provide good to very good synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of information; demonstrate good independent thinking.
  • Offer relevant and convincing evidence and/or examples to support observations and inferences.
  • Be highly accurate and comprehensive, fully responsive to both major and minor aspects of the assignment.
  • Adhere to all guidelines for content.
  • Completed required FEMA-EMI Independent Study courses (for Option #2).

References and Citations (When Used)

  • Fully credit all sources of information, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.
  • Support the content and appropriate to the topic.
  • Are of good to very good quality, such as peer-reviewed scholarly articles.
  • Meet or exceed the number of required references (when stated as an instruction).
  • Consistently use the correct and required format (APA).

Writing: Organization of Information

  • Present a highly logical sequence of ideas; flow smoothly and exhibit smooth transitions.
  • Provide very clear and concise statement of the significant elements, key ideas, and issues; clearly and consistently document ideas and assertions,
  • Always stay “on track” and remain focused.
  • Exhibit a highly effective organization and design of paragraphs and sentences; ideas and words are well chosen, paragraphs have topic sentences, etc.

Writing: Grammatical

  • Contain few if any errors in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, or spelling; be consistently well written.
  • Express ideas in an extremely clear manner to the reader; never be vague or incomplete.
  • Achieve an excellent balance of how much to say: concise when needed, explanatory when needed.
  • Use a highly appropriate tone; separate very clearly the objective from the subjective (opinions).
  • Be of the required length (other criteria, especially quality rate much higher than this).

Proficient: 85-89%

Content and Preparation

  • Demonstrate proficient level of comprehension of the subject matter.
  • Provide proficient synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of information; demonstrate independent thinking.
  • Offer relevant evidence and/or examples to support observations and inferences.
  • Be accurate and comprehensive, responsive to both major and minor aspects of the assignment.
  • Adhere to all guidelines for content.
  • Completed required FEMA-EMI Independent Study courses (for Option #2).

References and Citations (When Used)

  • Credit all sources of information, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.
  • Support the content and appropriate to the topic.
  • Are mostly of good quality, such as peer-reviewed scholarly articles.
  • Meet the number of required references (when stated as an instruction).
  • Mostly consistent in use a citation format, though not necessarily APA’s format.

Writing: Organization of Information

  • Present a logical sequence of ideas; flow smoothly and exhibit smooth transitions.
  • Provide a mostly clear and concise statement of the significant elements, key ideas, and issues; clearly document ideas and assertions.
  • Generally stay “on track” and remain focused.
  • Exhibit a proficient organization and design of paragraphs and sentences; ideas and words are mostly well chosen, paragraphs have topic sentences, etc.

Writing: Grammatical

  • Any errors in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, or spelling are minor; writing is consistently proficient.
  • Express ideas in a clear manner to the reader; meaning is rarely vague or incomplete.
  • Achieve a solid balance of how much to say: concise when needed, explanatory when needed.
  • Use an appropriate tone; separate clearly the objective from the subjective (opinions).
  • Be of the required length (other criteria, especially quality rate much higher than this).

Somewhat Proficient: 80-84%

Content and Preparation

  • Demonstrate a proficient level of comprehension of the subject matter for the majority of the assignment.
  • Provide synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of information for the majority of the assignment; demonstrate independent thinking.
  • Offer some evidence and/or examples to support observations and inferences; the evidence and/or examples are mostly relevant.
  • Be accurate and mostly complete / responsive to both major and minor aspects of the assignment.
  • Adhere to most guidelines for content. 
  • Completed most of the required FEMA-EMI Independent Study courses (for Option #2).

References and Citations (When Used)

  • Credit most sources of information, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.
  • Support the content and appropriate to the topic.
  • Are mostly of acceptable quality, such as peer-reviewed scholarly articles.
  • Meet the number of required references (when stated as an instruction).
  • Citation format both in the text and the reference list not necessarily in APA or any other recognized format.

Writing: Organization of Information

  • Ideas presented in a somewhat logical sequence; may or may not have proficient transitions between ideas.
  • Usually but not always provide a clear statement of the significant elements, key ideas, and issues; usually but not always document ideas and assertions.
  • Generally stay “on track” and remain focused.
  • Exhibit a somewhat proficient organization and design of paragraphs and sentences; ideas and words are somewhat well chosen, paragraphs have topic sentences, etc.

Writing: Grammatical

  • Needs more editing to fix moderate errors in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, or spelling; writing is somewhat proficient.
  • Express ideas in a somewhat clear manner to the reader; meaning is at times vague or incomplete.
  • May achieve a balance of how much to say: concise when needed, explanatory when needed.
  • Use an appropriate tone; the objective from the subjective (opinions) not always clearly separated.

Be close to or meet the required length (other criteria, especially quality rate 

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 Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan

Description

You are tasked with creating portions of a continuity of operations (COOP) plan to cover contingencies for a complex disaster scenario affecting your organization, community, jurisdiction, or host country. Use any emergency preparedness plan as the basis for your design or evaluation of the continuity of operations plan.

Your tasks:

Write portions of a full COOP plan that addresses a crisis/disaster scenario that develops over time and changes phases from threat to actualization.

• Give background information concerning the source of the threat (for natural hazards include the source, intensity, direction, speed, etc.; and for human induced threats describe the perpetrators or the nature of the accident with all the relevant information) (sources may include a hazard mitigation plan and/or THIRA [Threats and Hazards Identification and Risk Assessment]).1

• List the titles and brief explanation of the parties involved in response activities and the stakeholders.

• Delineate the roles, responsibilities, and resources required for the creation and implementation of an effective plan.

• You should also draw upon the laws, bylaws, regulations, and procedures that underlie the concept of the event and response/planning operations.

• Address all of the issues that require effective response involving life safety and short-term recovery. This requires the knowledge of risks, hazards, emergency management, and homeland security doctrines; plus plan and exercise development doctrine, including project/program management.

1 FEMA’s THIRA guide, CPG-201 (2nd Ed., Aug. 2013), can be found at https://www.fema.gov/threat-and-hazard-identification-and-risk-assessment

In the initial stages of learning about and designing continuity of operations plans, your most valuable resources will be found on-line or in published textbooks. Later in the program you will learn how to generate your own templates for designing or evaluating continuity plans to do some of these same functions.

In this project, you are a new member of a state or local emergency management agency that designs, creates, and offers services to design continuity of operations plans. Your project is to actually design portions of the plan for your area of responsibility. 2

Possible Scenarios (choose one, or fabricate and describe your own)

1. Sixty percent of your workforce is home, sick, having been stricken by a pandemic flu event.

2. Sixty percent of your city/county (850,000 people) is without power for 6 days, caused by a recent episode of severe weather.

3. Your local government management and information technology system (networks, computer systems) are unavailable due to a computer virus. This virus could be caused by a cybersecurity attack on your systems.

Deliverables

1. Before you begin performing some tasks let’s locate some published resources to assist your task: a. Conduct a literature search and review. You are looking for information on continuity of operations (COOP) planning.

b. Questions to ask while investigating resources: i. Are there federal legal requirements mandating continuity of operations plans?

ii. Are there state and local legal requirements mandating continuity of operations plans?

iii. Do grant programs mandate a certain level of continuity of operations plans?

c. Find on-line public resources. i. http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx (Do a search on COOP)

ii. http://www.dtic.mil/ (Do a search on Continuity of Operations)http://www.fema.gov/

iii. http://www.vaemergency.gov/em/training

iv. http://www.vaemergency.gov/em/training/hseep (Homeland Security Exercise & Evaluation Program) (Also see Federal HSEEP information at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/32326)

v. https://hseep.dhs.gov/pages/1001_HSEEP7.aspx

vi. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Continuity Assistance Tool (CAT) (http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/86286) (This is probably your most valuable resource)

vii. Others (Find other resources) (Example: National Security Presidential Directive-51/Homeland Security Presidential Directive-20 (NSPD-51/HSPD-20) National Continuity Policy

d. Find private sector resources and/or consultants. i. http://www.wittobriens.com/go/doc/2000/1580499/

ii. http://www.allhandsconsulting.com/go/services/business-continuity-planning

iii. http://homelandsecurity.gpstrategies.com/ (See Planning: COOP/COG on the left side)

3

iv. Others (Find other resources)

2. Next, let’s review the different types of plans and plan components.

 a. Understand the differences between continuity of operations (COOP) and continuity of government (COG) plans and principles.

b. Understand the differences between operational plans, administrative plans, and critical operating systems and procedures.

Deliverable 1:

Go to FEMA-EMI website and take the following three courses, then take the Final Exam for each, and upload a copy of the certificate of completion to the dropbox provided under the Individual Assignment folder. If you have previously completed any of these courses, there is no need to retake them—just submit proof of completion.  DON’T DO CERTIFICATE

IS-546.a: Continuity of Operations (COOP) Awareness Course http://www.training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-546

IS-547.a: Introduction to Continuity of Operations (COOP) http://www.training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-547

IS-921.a: Implementing Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-921

3. Now that you are comfortable with some of the basics and theory behind continuity planning processes and plans, it is time to identify stakeholders to the planning processes. Possible stakeholders include but are not limited to:

a. Public safety officials

 i. First responders; career and volunteer

ii. Command staff

iii. Administrative staff

iv. Fire/EMS/Rescue

v. Law enforcement

vi. 911 call takers and dispatchers

vii. Mutual aid partners

viii. Emergency management/homeland security personnel

ix. Others?

b. Local elected officials and staff

c. Other local government operating agencies

d. Citizens-at-large

e. Community leaders

f. Business community professionals

g. Hospitals/health care

h. Equipment vendors

i. Others?

4. Know the purposes and objectives of continuity of operations plans and programs:

a. Prepare for known threats, hazards, and to reduce vulnerabilities

b. Test capabilities for redundancy and resilience i. Equipment

ii. Systems

iii. Facilities

iv. Plans

v. Personnel

5. Understand the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Continuity Assistance Tool (CAT) (found at www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/86286):

6. Know the various functions and processes to be considered/protected/covered in a continuity plan: a. Warning and alert notification systems and processes; including message content.

b. Communications i. Crisis communications with publics and stakeholders

ii. Routine

iii. Interagency, intra-agency, and interoperability considerations

iv. Damage Assessment

v. Public Assistance

vi. Individual Assistance

vii. All Emergency Support Functions (ESF’s)

viii. Continuity of government and operations

ix. Others?

Deliverable 2:

Additionally, depending on the type of the scenario chosen, you may wish to take one or more of the relevant FEMA-EMI Independent courses from the list below to familiarize yourself with the context of the disaster (Note: FEMA-EMI Independent Study courses are continually being updated or retired—one or more of these courses may no longer be available when you try to access it. The full course list may be accessed at: https://training.fema.gov/is/crslist.aspx?all=true.

IS-3: Radiological Emergency Management

IS-5.a: Introduction to Hazardous Materials

IS-301: Radiological Emergency Response

IS-302: Modular Emergency Radiological Response Transportation Training

IS-15.b: Special Events Contingency Planning, Training for Public Safety Agencies

IS-319: Tornado Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff

IS-320: Wildfire Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff

Deliverable 3:

1. Outline the steps of developing a continuity of operations plan.

2. Design portions of a sample continuity of operations plan addressing your chosen or fabricated scenario.

The design criteria include:

1. Were objectives of the plan clear and measurable?

2. Was the event adequately predicted requiring the plan execution/implementation? (Look at the planning and design process leading up to the event.)

3. Was the scenario predicted, realistic?

4. Did the plan cover documented vulnerabilities or threats? Did it cover target capabilities?

5. Did the plan adequately ensure continuity of enough capabilities and investments?

6. Were the proper stakeholders involved in the planning process?

7. Were there any significant gaps in the planning or process?

8. Was there an exercise to test the plan?

9. When the plan was enacted, was an immediate Hot Wash and an After Action Review conducted; were outcomes measurable; were corrective actions taken?

10.Did the plan coordinate and align to support issues like planning, mitigation, response, and recovery?

11.Other analysis/evaluation issues and components?

Submit your products (Two separate MS Word documents, 12-pt Times New Roman font, 1” margins, double-spaced) with the following naming convention:

1. COOP Outline: Lastname_Firstname_LD5-2_COOP-Steps

2. COOP Plan: Lastname_Firstname_LD5-3_COOP-Plan

While there is no specific page limit for the COOP Outline and your sample portion of a COOP Plan, these are not intended to be lengthy papers. The COOP Outline might require 2-3 pages, while the segment of a sample COOP Plan might require 4-6 pages as a projected estimate. You may follow any model or template that you find from the 6

FEMA-EMI courses or other sources, but please don’t simply copy-and-paste content. .

Deadline

The due date for the completed assignment, including certificates of completion for FEMA-EMI IS courses, the outline of steps for developing a COOP plan, and the section of a sample COOP plan, is the end of Week 5 on Thursday night 9:pm eastern time, March 2, 2017.

There are separate droboxes under the Individual Assignment folder for submitting both parts of the completed paper, and for submitting copies of certificates of completion for the FEMA-EMI IS courses. 

Your grade for the individual assignment will be based on a number of criteria:  demonstrated understanding of concepts; skill in synthesizing, analyzing, and evaluating information; proper use of references (if used); and writing skills. It will comprise 15% of your final overall course grade.

Excellent:  95-100%

Content and Preparation

  • Demonstrate superb level of comprehension of the subject matter.
  • Provide superb synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of information; demonstrate superior independent thinking.
  • Offer highly relevant and convincing evidence and/or examples to support observations and inferences.
  • Be highly accurate and comprehensive, fully responsive to both major and minor aspects of the assignment.
  • Adhere to all guidelines for content.
  • Completed required FEMA-EMI Independent Study courses (for Option #2).

References and Citations (When Used)

  • Fully credit all sources of information, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.
  • Fully support the content and fully appropriate to the topic.
  • Are of exceptional quality, such as peer-reviewed scholarly articles.
  • Exceed the number of required references (when stated as an instruction).
  • Consistently use the correct and required format (APA).

Writing: Organization of Information

  • Present a highly logical sequence of ideas; flow smoothly and exhibit smooth transitions.
  • Provide very clear and concise statement of the significant elements, key ideas, and issues; clearly and consistently document ideas and assertions.
  • Always stay “on track” and remain focused.
  • Exhibit a highly effective organization and design of paragraphs and sentences; ideas and words are well chosen, paragraphs have topic sentences, etc.

Writing: Grammatical

  • Contain few if any errors in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, or spelling; be consistently well written.
  • Express ideas in an extremely clear manner to the reader; never be vague or incomplete.
  • Achieve an excellent balance of how much to say: concise when needed, explanatory when needed.
  • Use a highly appropriate tone; separate very clearly the objective from the subjective (opinions).
  • Be of the required length (other criteria, especially quality rate much higher than this).

Good: 90-94%

Content and Preparation

  • Demonstrate good to very good level of comprehension of the subject matter.
  • Provide good to very good synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of information; demonstrate good independent thinking.
  • Offer relevant and convincing evidence and/or examples to support observations and inferences.
  • Be highly accurate and comprehensive, fully responsive to both major and minor aspects of the assignment.
  • Adhere to all guidelines for content.
  • Completed required FEMA-EMI Independent Study courses (for Option #2).

References and Citations (When Used)

  • Fully credit all sources of information, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.
  • Support the content and appropriate to the topic.
  • Are of good to very good quality, such as peer-reviewed scholarly articles.
  • Meet or exceed the number of required references (when stated as an instruction).
  • Consistently use the correct and required format (APA).

Writing: Organization of Information

  • Present a highly logical sequence of ideas; flow smoothly and exhibit smooth transitions.
  • Provide very clear and concise statement of the significant elements, key ideas, and issues; clearly and consistently document ideas and assertions,
  • Always stay “on track” and remain focused.
  • Exhibit a highly effective organization and design of paragraphs and sentences; ideas and words are well chosen, paragraphs have topic sentences, etc.

Writing: Grammatical

  • Contain few if any errors in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, or spelling; be consistently well written.
  • Express ideas in an extremely clear manner to the reader; never be vague or incomplete.
  • Achieve an excellent balance of how much to say: concise when needed, explanatory when needed.
  • Use a highly appropriate tone; separate very clearly the objective from the subjective (opinions).
  • Be of the required length (other criteria, especially quality rate much higher than this).

Proficient: 85-89%

Content and Preparation

  • Demonstrate proficient level of comprehension of the subject matter.
  • Provide proficient synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of information; demonstrate independent thinking.
  • Offer relevant evidence and/or examples to support observations and inferences.
  • Be accurate and comprehensive, responsive to both major and minor aspects of the assignment.
  • Adhere to all guidelines for content.
  • Completed required FEMA-EMI Independent Study courses (for Option #2).

References and Citations (When Used)

  • Credit all sources of information, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.
  • Support the content and appropriate to the topic.
  • Are mostly of good quality, such as peer-reviewed scholarly articles.
  • Meet the number of required references (when stated as an instruction).
  • Mostly consistent in use a citation format, though not necessarily APA’s format.

Writing: Organization of Information

  • Present a logical sequence of ideas; flow smoothly and exhibit smooth transitions.
  • Provide a mostly clear and concise statement of the significant elements, key ideas, and issues; clearly document ideas and assertions.
  • Generally stay “on track” and remain focused.
  • Exhibit a proficient organization and design of paragraphs and sentences; ideas and words are mostly well chosen, paragraphs have topic sentences, etc.

Writing: Grammatical

  • Any errors in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, or spelling are minor; writing is consistently proficient.
  • Express ideas in a clear manner to the reader; meaning is rarely vague or incomplete.
  • Achieve a solid balance of how much to say: concise when needed, explanatory when needed.
  • Use an appropriate tone; separate clearly the objective from the subjective (opinions).
  • Be of the required length (other criteria, especially quality rate much higher than this).

Somewhat Proficient: 80-84%

Content and Preparation

  • Demonstrate a proficient level of comprehension of the subject matter for the majority of the assignment.
  • Provide synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of information for the majority of the assignment; demonstrate independent thinking.
  • Offer some evidence and/or examples to support observations and inferences; the evidence and/or examples are mostly relevant.
  • Be accurate and mostly complete / responsive to both major and minor aspects of the assignment.
  • Adhere to most guidelines for content. 
  • Completed most of the required FEMA-EMI Independent Study courses (for Option #2).

References and Citations (When Used)

  • Credit most sources of information, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.
  • Support the content and appropriate to the topic.
  • Are mostly of acceptable quality, such as peer-reviewed scholarly articles.
  • Meet the number of required references (when stated as an instruction).
  • Citation format both in the text and the reference list not necessarily in APA or any other recognized format.

Writing: Organization of Information

  • Ideas presented in a somewhat logical sequence; may or may not have proficient transitions between ideas.
  • Usually but not always provide a clear statement of the significant elements, key ideas, and issues; usually but not always document ideas and assertions.
  • Generally stay “on track” and remain focused.
  • Exhibit a somewhat proficient organization and design of paragraphs and sentences; ideas and words are somewhat well chosen, paragraphs have topic sentences, etc.

Writing: Grammatical

  • Needs more editing to fix moderate errors in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, or spelling; writing is somewhat proficient.
  • Express ideas in a somewhat clear manner to the reader; meaning is at times vague or incomplete.
  • May achieve a balance of how much to say: concise when needed, explanatory when needed.
  • Use an appropriate tone; the objective from the subjective (opinions) not always clearly separated.

Be close to or meet the required length (other criteria, especially quality rate 

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