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English 101 Self Reflection Essay

ENGL 101: Teaching Suggestions for Self-Assessment

There are two key reasons for the reflective letter in the portfolio:

  • First, it demonstrates to students that they have a measure of control over the assessment process. If the first item the rater sees is a statement from the student, introducing the rater to and guiding him/her through the collection, then the student can believe that writing is about communicating, that the process is designed to take account of the student's needs, that the process is therefore designed to be fair.
  • Second, the reflective piece provides valuable information that helps raters make reliable judgments. This information ranges from procedural data about assignments, expectations, and so on, to substantive information about the student's abilities as a writer, her metacognitive awareness as a writer, etc.

    -- Bill Condon, WSU, assessment of Highline's Portfolio Process, Spring 1999

***Be sure to let your students know that this letter is not the place for them to gush about what a wonderful teacher you have been nor is it the place for them to convince you that they deserve that "4.0." They should instead focus on analyzing and contextualizing the essays they've included in the portfolio for the portfolio reader(s).

Teaching suggestions to promote self-assessment

  • On the day they turn in their final drafts, have your students write what they like about the draft and what they would change if given another day. They might write this on the back of the draft, on a cover sheet, or in their journal.
     
  • After you turn back essays with your comments and a grade, have students write an assessment of what their strengths and weaknesses were. They might also write what they would change about the essay if they were to include it in the portfolio.
     
  • Midterms are approaching: have your students write a mid-quarter self-assessment. What do they see as the strengths and weaknesses in their writing at this point in the term?
     
  • Have students save all of the above so they have some material to help them write their reflective letter at the end of the quarter.
     

Sample reflections

We suggest that if you show a sample letter do it on the overhead, instead of giving your students hard copies of the letter(s). Believe it or not, some students do tend to plagiarize the sample letter. The models are not intended to be prescriptive or examples of a "perfect" letters; instead, it should give you and your students a general idea of what they might produce in response to the prompt.

To HCC Writing Faculty:

 

            As part of the course requirement in writing 101, I have prepared this portfolio to help demonstrate my writing ability.  This portfolio consists of two of the essays I have written this quarter � an exploratory essay and a rogerian essay.  Once you�ve read my essays, you will begin to formulate your opinion of where I as stand as a writer and my area of strengths and weaknesses, but let me first give you my perspective.

            To begin, I would like to discuss my areas of strength using my exploratory paper.  This particular paper best illustrates my strength in organization, maintaining focus, and using relevant support and evidence.  First of all, the paper is well organized because the introduction and conclusion creatively tied the essay together and each paragraph is focused around an individual point.  Furthermore, the uses of transitions are effective which helps tie individual points together.  Secondly, the essay is clearly focused around the claim; everything I have included in the essay helps contribute to my message.  Finally, my supports and evidences are strong because there are a variety of support (quotes, examples, details, etc).

            Now, let me discuss my areas of weakness using both papers.  I believe that many of my weaknesses come into play when I am revising my papers.  One weakness is the lack of ability to further elaborate on the support and evidence by thinking critically.  I may have a good support but I can always strengthen it by being more concrete and vivid.  Another weakness is the use of sentence variety.  I noticed that the majority of the sentences are very long throughout the essays � which tend to make the essay �dull�.  The last, but most important, weakness I will mention is the tone of voice.  This is probably one of the major areas I need to improve on.  I have to be more careful with my word choice and keep my audience in mind when writing my paper.

            With all that said, as I move forth to the next level of writing, one of my goals is to improve my writing skills.  One way I have done to improve my writing is by thinking more critically about my ideas whenever I revise my paper.  I don�t just look at grammatical error, but instead I look for ways to make my sentences more effective and concise.  Nevertheless, I hope that this strategy will continue to help me improve my writing even further on in the future. 

 

Sincerely,

********************************************************************************

 

 

To my Portfolio Graders at Highline:

           

            My portfolio is compiled of an in class write up, an Exploratory paper, and a Rogerian argument paper.  My Rogerian and Exploratory both deal with the controversial topic of genetically modified foods.  My Rogerian paper shows how well I can do the research and sympathize with the opposing side.  My Exploratory paper shows how well I can spruce up a paper, given helpful hints from my peers and teacher, plus repeated attempts. 

            In both my papers I have a clear and strong focus with some good evidence.  I use a couple of good examples in the Rogerian paper for the opposing side and in my Exploratory paper I support other points of view as well as my own.  With my papers I really wanted to inform my audience of all the details because I feel that genetically modified foods are misunderstood.  My thoughts are usually jumbled and although I got my introduction and conclusion out pretty well I feel that my transitions need work.

            Whenever I�m writing a paper I tend to write what comes to mind and it�s always unorganized at first.  I go back to rearrange my thoughts and tend to forget to throw in fancy words.  My language maturity isn�t too high and I have a habit of keeping my sentences simple. Once I have my peers edit my paper and my teacher has gone over it I am comfortable enough with my paper to change it up and throw in some words to add flair. 

Writing has never come ease for me; I enjoy math and science much more.  When I started Writing 101 I expected it to be my hardest class with my worst grade but I worked hard on and came up with good papers, maybe not great but they�re good.  Having a topic that means something to me makes writing easier for me and I enjoyed writing these papers this quarter.

 

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            Dear portfolio committee:

 

Learning is a continuum, especially writing, because it needs practice.  The more I practice, the better I become.  No one was born to be a writer.  As an English as a second language (ESL) student, I took this advice from my writing 101 instructor at the beginning of the course seriously.  In class, I practice writing by learning how to summarize essays from the text book, and then give my opinions about the reading.  Also, journals and projects are part of the class assignments every week to aid me to success in the writing field.

 

Through these exercises-- as you can see from my attached essay �What is love? Baby, don�t hurt me�--I have many good ideas, and examples to support my arguments about love.  I have done well at �Focus� to hook the readers into my essay by using sources such as dictionary, song lyrics, and quotes.  Plus, I am able to provide evidence of the 4 W�s--Who, What, Where, and When--to establish a solid proof of my essay. 

 

Besides many strengths, I also have some weaknesses that all of the ESL students have such as grammar and composition since the grammar is far different from my native tongue.  Putting ideas into words, complexity, and linguistic maturity are my struggles, but I am trying to improve those areas in order to become a better writer.  Even though my tone is not as strong and persuasive, I always try to use different styles to entertain the readers.

 

I am taking this opportunity to show you my ability to write even with the strengths and weaknesses.  I know that writing 101 course will not only help me to become a good writer in class but in the real world, especially in the work place. 

 

Thank you for your time reading my letter and essay.  Hope you enjoy my writing.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

 

Back to ENGL 101 Exit Assessment

Below we offer two examples of thoughtful reflective essays that effectively and substantively capture the author's growth over time at California State University Channel Islands (CI). We suggest that you write your own essay before reading either of these models-then, having completed your first draft, read these over to consider areas in your own background that you have not yet addressed and which may be relevant to your growth as a reader, writer, or thinker.

Any reference to either of these essays must be correctly cited and attributed; failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and will result in a failing grade on the portfolio and possible other serious consequences as stated in the CSUCI Code of Conduct.

View the examples

View Sample Reflective Essay #1

View Sample Reflective Essay #2

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View CI's Student Writing site

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