SELF-EVALUATION AND WRITING

Laura Brady, Department of English at West Virginia University.


Self-Evaluation Overview

Erika Lindemann provides overviews of various types of response--including self-evaluation--in her book A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers (3rd ed.; Oxford UP, 1995; Chapter 14, pages 216-45). Here's what she says about self-evaluation:

 

Self evaluation typically requires students to answer questions designed to elicit information about their work. Students submit their answers when they turn in a draft or a final version. Although self-evaluation questions should change with each assignment to reflect the work students are doing, Beaven (p. 143) offers . . .[generic] questions as a starting point. [Cited below]. . . .Self-evaluation benefits teachers as well as students. The answers to self-evaluation questions tell us what concerns students. As they become more aware of what they wanted to do and where a paper fails to realize their intentions, we can offer help . . . . (Lindemann, 237-38)

Standard Questions to Use as Starting Points

  1. How much time did you spend on this paper?
  2.  

  3. (After the first evaluation or set of peer comments) What did you try to improve, or experiment with, on this paper? How successful were you? If you have questions about what you were trying to do, what are they?
  4.  

  5. What are the strengths of your paper? Place a star beside those passages that you think work best in your paper.
  6.  

  7. What passages could be stronger? Place a question mark beside passages where you would like your reader [peer or instructor] to offer advice or corrections. Place a question mark over any punctuation, spelling, usage, etc., where you need help or clarification.
  8.  

  9. What one thing will you do to improve your next piece of writing? Or what kind of experimentation in writing would you like to try?
  10.  

  11. (Optional) What grade would you give yourself on this paper? Explain it.
Alternative: In place of a list of questions, especially as students become familiar with self-evaluation, some instructors prefer to ask students to write a couple summary paragraphs in which they note what they think works well and what areas they think they still need to strengthen.