I teach online at an open enrollment institution, which means I get students at all levels of writing ability. Many of them are solid writers with a good understanding of the different steps of the writing process. But I also have students who are just learning to write at the college level. Either they’ve have been out of school for a while or they’re newly minted high school graduates with little experience writing anything other than some kind of standardized writing test.
Rather than make assumptions about what my students might know, I try to demystify the writing process and break it down into individual steps. By forcing them to slow down the process and focus on each step, we can improve the process and, ultimately, the end product.
Below is a self-evaluation that I use with my students. You are welcome to adapt the questions to fit the needs of your courses and students.
Essay 1: Self-Evaluation
Instructions: You are asked to fill this out with responses based on your work toward planning, drafting, and revising Essay 1. For the multiple-choice questions, simply highlight your response. For the long-answer questions, please type your extended responses, offering a direct answer and your justification.
1. Describe your writing process for this essay. For example, did you go through the conventional steps of prewriting (brainstorming, freewriting, listing, mapping, etc.), planning (whether by an outline or otherwise), drafting, getting feedback from others, and revising, or did you take another approach? You might include comments here about how your writing occurred (with pen and paper? on your phone/tablet/other iThing? in a lab?) and also when it occurred (spread out over ten days vs. the night before?).
2. Evaluate your writing process for this essay. What worked well for you? What is something you might do differently next time? What would possibly be improved by this change?
3. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the easiest and 10 being the hardest, how difficult was this essay for you to write? What aspects of the assignment were easy for you, and what aspects posed challenges?
4. Summarize others’ response to the essay. What, in their view, were some of its strengths? What areas did they identify for potential improvements?
5. What changes did you make to your essay as a result of feedback from others (peers, friends and family, or your professor)? Be specific about which lines or passages were most significantly revised.
6. Using a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, evaluate your written product; that is, how well did the essay turn out in your view? Was it successful? Based on your evaluation of the final draft, what are its strong points? Where could it continue to be improved?
For more on writing assignments, read Writing Assignments: A Self-Assessment for Faculty.
Deidre Price, PhD, is the Interim Director of Learning Technologies at Northwest Florida State College. Since 2003 she has served as professor of English at NWFSC, where she teaches online and hybrid writing courses.
Reprinted from the supplemental materials for Effective Writing Assessment in the Online Classroom, an online seminar from Magna Publications, 2017.