Assessing your writing requires discipline, patience, and self-examination at every stage. In addition, you must understand the process of writing a paper to know what you must evaluate. To assess your writing, you have to evaluate both your writing process and your written product, using a list of selected criteria. But assessment is not simply answering yes to a series of questions on a checklist; it is having reasonable and logical responses to the significant questions that prove you understand how to write an assignment competently. Each time you write an essay assignment or a research paper, you become more skilled at understanding the writing process and how it works for you.

Each of you may have different uses for this chapter. For example, some of you may use it to check your final papers before submitting them. The checklists here offer you a means of discussing your writing with your instructors. Others of you may wish to develop a writing-improvement plan. In any case, the checklists in this chapter are meant to supplement the other checklists in this guide.

This chapter provides some guidance for evaluating your writing and checklists to help you isolate the significant elements at different stages of writing. If you aren’t sure what these stages are or when they occur, review the relevant sections in this guide. This chapter also describes how you may grade your own writing.

  • How can you be a better writer at each stage of the writing process?
  • What are the criteria for grades on papers?
  • How can you grow as a writer, even when you’re not writing assigned papers?

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