Course Content
Chapter 3: Writing Mechanics Help
Chapter 12: Teaching Writing
Chapter 23: Teaching Reading
College English Composition: Help and Review
About Lesson

Definition and Importance

Writing is a process. As a writer, we spend our time developing our topics, writing a thesis, and shaping our point of view. We write to present to an audience, and we hope that our audience accepts our ideas and that these ideas inspire them.

Because writing is a process, we should take time to assemble all parts correctly. What steps do you take when putting together furniture? You read the manual, follow each step, stop along the way to try something new, and then sit back and admire your work. Writing follows a similar style. When writing, you also follow steps and you also should sit back and admire the work. Not just admire it, but learn from it. This step of learning from your writing is self-assessment.

Self-assessment is important because it can improve our writing, editing, and critical thinking skills. It allows us to review our strengths and weaknesses as a writer to see how we can continue to grow. Not just that, but it can also develop stronger writing habits that can improve our work.

Self-assessment is an important step for any writer to take. Let’s now discuss the different ways that you can practice self-assessment in your own writing process.

Self-Assessment During Writing

We can separate self-assessment into two different categories: during and after writing.

When you practice self-assessment during your writing you are thinking and rethinking about your paper. We have all experienced the frustration of writing before. You know that moment when you are staring at the blank screen, deleting, starting over, and then getting more and more angry? This can be avoided by taking a moment to reflect on the process you are using and what could be done differently. If you improve the writing process, the writing of the paper becomes easier.

There are several ways that you can self-assess your writing while you are working.

First, use a journal. Keep track of what works in your writing, what did not work, and what you have done well. You can even save your old papers to review them. Let’s see this in action with a student named Ken. Ken keeps a journal of his writing by dividing the page in half. On each side he creates a column. On one side he writes the comments and questions that he has about his process. On the other side, he answers these questions and underlines in his paper where these were supported.

Second, keep a log. This works best during your drafting stage. When you draft, you are probably working through several different papers. Keep these papers and keep track of how you improved or changed your work. Write down these ideas, so you can continue to improve them in your writing.

Finally, use the rubric. Your instructor should give you a rubric at the beginning of the assignment that will show you how your paper will be graded. Reference it to find common problems that you may have. Not just that, but use the rubric in your revising. You can use the checklist in your work and ask yourself, What can I do to improve?

Self-Assessment After Writing

Remember earlier when we discussed how writing is a process? This process does not end with a graded paper. Rather you should take the opportunity to learn about your process and style when your paper is finished.

Self-assessment after writing takes place when you ask yourself questions about the paper and process that you used.

Begin this step by asking yourself questions about you as a writer:

  • What kind of writer are you?
  • What do you feel are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What steps do you take as a writer?

Then ask yourself questions about the assignment:

  • How do you feel about the assignment?
  • How did you approach the topic and paper?
  • What could you have done differently?
  • Who was the audience? Did you do well reaching the audience?

Finally, ask yourself questions about how you could improve your writing:

  • What was something you did well?
  • What was something you could improve?
  • How did people react to your paper?

By asking yourself these questions and others, you are working towards not only improving your writing, but also your critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is analyzing and evaluating your paper. This is ultimately the goal of self-assessment. When you finish analyzing your paper, you should be able to see how you have grown as a writer and in what ways you can continue to improve.

Lesson Review

Writing is one of the main ways that we communicate. When we write, we are developing a relationship with our audience through our thesis, details, and point of view. We are also following a process to develop our own writing styles. Part of this process is to practice self-assessment, evaluating and learning from your own work. Self-assessment in writing is important because it will help improve your writing, editing, and critical thinking skills.

You can practice self-assessment during or after your writing. When you practice during, you are thinking and rethinking your paper. The goal of this step is to see how you are writing your paper and what you can do to improve your process. Some ways you can try to do so are: keep a journal, keep a log, or review the rubric. You can also practice self-assessment after your paper is graded and returned to you. In this step, you will ask yourself questions about the kind of writer that you are, what steps you followed to create your paper, and how you can improve your paper and writing in the future.

By using self-assessment, you are practicing critical thinking, which is the process of analyzing and evaluating. This will help you improve and grow as a writer.

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