Teachers present the Writer's Reflection (Portfolio Review) to their students in various ways. Below is Pat Zukowski's presentation of the review process and final essay for English 112.
We will spend the remainder of the semester working through a series of steps that will culminate in your Writer's Reflection. While the steps may seem numerous, each builds on the previous one, making the next step easier and more logical. Moreover, I hope that each step presents a chunk of work that is manageable even at this harried time of year, and we will be using class time to work on this project.
Step 1: Charting the Course of a Fellow Student's Writing
Today I will assign you an author. Your task is to do a close analysis and comparison of that student's work through the publications we have produced this semester. If the student's essays do not appear in the publication, he or she is responsible for giving you a copy of the essays. The essays under study are one, two, three, and the author's choice of four or five. Students will be responsible for giving a copy of the fourth or fifth essay to his or her reviewer.
Areas you might include in your discussion are:
Effectiveness of introductions Diction (word choice) Organization Development Effectiveness of details Content Sensitivity to audience Syntax (sentence structure) Voice
I would also like you to examine the degree to which the author has made consistent improvements in grammar, mechanics, and copy editing of final drafts. Cite (in appropriate format) specific examples from the texts.
You may feel that you should concentrate only on certain specific elements of the student's writing or that elements I have not mentioned apply more fully to the student's writing you are correcting. That is fine as long as you give a meaningful analysis of the student's work as it progresses over the semester.
Your purpose is to indicate to the author problems you have seen addressed successfully and problems you believe to be persisting. You should characterize the overall style of the author, mentioning both strengths to emphasize in future writings and pitfalls to avoid. You could suggest ways that writer has changed from the earlier assignments to the later ones. Identify the most effective paper and tell the author why you believe it to be the most successful.
Your essay should represent a substantial level of analysis and a close reading of the texts. Minimum length should be two typed pages (double-spaced). Your citing of specific quotes from the texts to support points you make is essential.
Please make a Xerox copy of your text. Deliver your paper to your author by the established deadline, with a copy to me.
Doing the above assignment should contribute in two ways to your own Writer's Reflection essay. First, it should be easier to get into the appropriate mode and level of textual analysis with papers you have some distance from. Second, the actual text you will receive from your reviewer should help structure and inform your own discussion of your writing.
Step 2: Reviewing Your Own Individual Paper
We have already done some of this work at other points in the semester in the form of conference preparation and process writings. I see Step 2 as gathering date for your final review by looking at the individual texts you have produced in 112. I would like you to read through each draft of each paper you have written and respond to the following questions:
What central goal did you try to achieve in the paper?
What problems did you tackle in writing the essay? How did you approach these problems? What was successful? What was less successful?
What were your revision strategies? To what degree did you revise from draft to draft? Which draft of each essay contained your most effective revision strategies and why were they effective?
What did you learn by writing the essay? How did you incorporate what you learned into the next essay you wrote?
Length should be approximately 1 typed page (double-spaced) for each essay.
Step 3: The Summative Essay
Now that you have gathered all your data, I would like you to stand back and begin to draw conclusions from what you see. Consider the portrait that emerges of yourself as a writer, using examples from your work in this class to develop your points. Address the following issues:
What have you learned about yourself as a writer, your strengths and weaknesses?
What sort of writing do you enjoy most or find most satisfying or find you are best at?
What sort of writing do you find most difficult or frustrating? Why?
How might you adapt your strengths to future assignments that ask you for types of writing you are uncomfortable with?
What did you learn about your writing through peer response, teacher comments, and the peer analysis you received of your work in the publications?
Consider the advice you can give yourself for the writing you will do in the future. What do you want to remember about your work in 112 this semester? What strategies have you used this semester that you want to remember for your future writing?
Be specific, analytic, and persuasive. Cite particular essays and passages from those essays to illustrate the points you make. The review of individual papers and the summative essay is due at the final conference and represents your final exam. You cannot pass the course without attending your conference fully prepared.
Step 4: Evaluating Your Work
This is your opportunity to express your view on your final evaluation for the course. Criteria for evaluation are exactly what is stated in the syllabus-the quality and quantity of your work in following categories:
Peer Review Level of Revision Journal Writing In-Class and Workshop Writings Class Participation
Also subject to evaluation are the quality of the final draft of each essay and your attendance in the class. Don't forget to factor into your analysis of your performance lateness and absences. If you are uncertain of your number of absences, check with me. Remember that late papers and failure to attend conferences or attending conferences unprepared affect your grade as well. Your evaluation of the quality of your final drafts will be based on a separate folder you will include is your portfolio. We will call this your Quality Portfolio. IN ADDITION to handing in all your work in the three folders we have been maintaining, please copy three final drafts that you believe represent your finest work in the class. You may revise these drafts again and/or do more extensive copy editing on them before you turn them in. Please also explain what it is about these drafts that indicate excellence in your accomplishment.
For each of the criteria listed above, write an explanation of your performance. Make sure you include specific comments about the levels of quality and quantity for each.
Use these explorations to suggest your appropriate final grade. Be sure to make your conclusion persuasive with concrete evidence. This self-evaluation is also due by the final conference.
While you may choose not to hand in your Case Study Review until your conference, I MUST have your whole portfolio of COMPLETED WORK at least 48 hours before our meeting, The portfolio should include all drafts, peer responses, and teacher comments for essays 1-5, your journal, peer-critiques of your published writing, your quality portfolio and comments about the essays contained therein, and all in-class and workshop writing assignments.
Please let me remind you again: If you do not submit your portfolio on time OR if you miss your final conference OR if you come to the conference without the assignments due, you will not pass the course. Your final conference and Case Study Review constitute your final exam. The grade of "incomplete" will not be assigned in this course.