Working with Your Instructor’s Comments and Grades

As a writer, you should identify areas for improvement in your writing so that you can present your ideas more clearly. Even if you disagree with your instructor’s comments about your writing, you should always understand them. Many instructors seek to educate through their comments and can give you important tips for improving your writing or adding to the information you convey.

Sometimes instructors are unaware of various students’ desires to improve their writing during their college careers. When this happens, your instructor may not give you enough feedback to plan for improving. Students who wish to improve over time should request such information from their instructors and keep a journal for developing an improvement plan. For example, your journal may include a checklist for what you have learned about writing.

Sample Personal Checklist for Improvement
Assessing My Writing This Term
Planning Phase
  Have I learned to write a clear and focused thesis statement?
  Do I understand how the intent and purpose of my writing reflect my audience?
  Do I know how to provide sufficient information?
  Am I planning my assignments with enough time to be successful?
  Do I use assessment checklists for my writing?
Researching Phase
  Am I learning how to conduct research for information to support my own research thesis?
  Is my research methodical and thorough?
  Do I keep accurate notes about quotations, paraphrases, summaries, and bibliographical information?
Organizing Phase
  Am I learning organization techniques and improving them?
  Does my organization reflect my critical thinking strategy?
  Does my content flow logically?
Drafting Phase
  Is my style readable and coherent?
  Is my tone expressive and consistent?
  Am I able to plan a first draft with time to plan improvement?
  Am I developing and using a revision strategy?
  Have I improved in the overall mechanics of writing?
  Am I learning a variety of formats for my writing?
Plan to Improve
   What will I work to improve in the next writing project or in the next term?
  Prewriting techniques
  Journal keeping
  Planning my writing
  Managing my writing projects
  Researching techniques
  Writing the first draft
  Assessing my writing
Print Checklist


Although checklists are handy, you may prefer to keep an informal journal of your writing progress. Ask your instructor for feedback on how your writing and thinking have progressed during the term and what you should work to improve.

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