Working with Your Teacher'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. You should always understand your teacher's comments even if you do not agree with them. Many teachers seek to educate through their comments and can give you important tips for improving your writing or adding to the information you convey.

Sometimes teachers are unaware of various students' desires to improve their writing over their college careers. When this happens, your teacher may not give you enough feedback to plan for improving. Students who wish to improve over time should request such information from their teachers 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?

Mechanics

____  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 on in the next writing project or in the next term?
____  Prewriting techniques
____  Journal keeping
____  Planning my writing
____  Managing my writing projects
____  Researching techniques
____  Organization
____  Writing the first draft
____  Revising
____  Assessing my writing

   Print Checklist   

Although checklists are handy, you may want to keep just an informal journal of your writing progress. Ask your teacher for feedback on how your writing and thinking have improved during the class term and what you should work on improving.