An Introduction to Student Feedback
Below you will find links to student writing which were turned in during the Fall 2017 semester. In responding to student writing, I try to point out one or two elements where the student writing was strong or showed promise, the area on the paper that could be improved to the greatest impact on the strength of the paper, and a constructive overview of the work as a whole.
After students have submitted a paper and received both a grade and my feedback, students then have the opportunity to revise and resubmit any assignment for a revised grade. I do this to stress revision as part of the writing process. While I did not require students to submit a revision for a re-grade, most students took advantage of the opportunity at least once. As a whole, students who submitted a revised paper submitted a substantially stronger writing sample.
Due to the confidential nature of student grades and the potential issues surrounding publicly releasing work that does not belong to me, identifying information about students has been redacted, and the files themselves are marked private in my Google Drive.
I can see that you’ve developed your thinking as both a writer and a student over the years. I’m sure you’ve realized by now that even if you do end up with a “math job” you’ll still be writing about your job and to your coworkers and that writing can be a tool rather than a suicide implement. The biggest issue with this paper is the lack of concrete details, but I can see that providing them for something that happened a while ago can be difficult, especially since you might not have realized that you didn’t hate writing anymore until well after your feelings had changed. There might not have been for your an ah-ha moment if the change was very gradual. In that case, I would advise you describe in more detail your angry sixth-grade self at his desk, scribbling away. Describe the room, yourself, your feelings, things you remember about doing your classwork. You could then contrast this against a writing assignment you had later when you realized it wasn’t as awful as you remembered. Just remember to be specific. The assignment for this paper was 2-3 pages, and if we take out the extra-wide spaces between your paragraph, it falls a little short, but extra concrete details would flush this out nicely and go along way in illustrating your point about your growth as a writer.Personal Essay Revision Sample
Much improved. You are very solid on crafting an argument and supporting it with points. There are a couple of opportunities here for improvement as far as descriptive details. A personal essay is just a story about yourself, so you’re a character. The place you’re sitting in is your setting. A story is generally fixed in a time and place. You, writing a paper, tenth grade. What does the room look like? Does your hand hurt from writing? Is it sunny? What color is the top of your desk? Really, you could write a whole novel about a single day, so the trick of the personal essay is distilling all of these details into a couple of pages. A couple of details could make the transition between tenth grade and freshman year of college really pop out to the audience. Still, I can tell you worked on this, and I’m glad you haven’t given up. The great thing about writing for business audiences is that they generally don’t want a lot of flowery details, so if your writing style is more direct and factual, you might really be on the right career path.
There are several instances where you don’t capitalize “I”. Make sure you catch and correct all of those. I made some comments directly in your Google Doc, so when you address them, just hit “Resolve” to make them go away. Thanks for the read!
Note: A different student's writing sample.Un/Reliable Sources Comparative Essay Sample
I really liked the narrative introduction to your paper which provided some clear, concise background information about the events. Your analysis of your stronger source is spot-on, particularly when it comes to providing details (or leaving them out) to sway an audience. One thing that could make the paper much stronger is putting a strong thesis statement somewhere in the second paragraph. You have a thesis in your conclusion, and the points support it. We just need to see it earlier in the paper. There are still some punctuation and grammar issues, particularly subject-verb agreement, but I think a round of peer review will help you out. Note, I wouldn’t use this one article to claim that the Miami Herald is a bad source of information: our data set is too small to make this claim. Instead, you might want to argue that this article from the Miami Herald is not reliable. You Works Cited looks great, and even before you revisions, I thought this was a strong paper. Nicely done.Academic Essay Sample #1
Excellent work. Your historical research is spot-on, and you almost seamlessly incorporated the cause-and-effect section with your argumentative section. One thing that could make it stronger would be working on shifting your tone to a more formal/academic sounding tone, but ultimately, your voice in no way detracted from the effectiveness of this paper. Tone/style are both something that you will continue to develop throughout your academic career. This is one of the best papers I’ve gotten this semester, and it definitely showcases your growth. You should be proud of this. I am.
Note: I'm especially proud of this student essay. This is the final essay from the student who wrote the first essay available on this page. This essay was much stronger than the first.Academic Essay Sample #2
Nicely done. You did a great job of both informing your audience what happened during and after the spill and integrating the cause and effect portion of your essay. One thing that could make this essay stronger is a clearer conclusion. It’s okay that you’ve included a narrative portion at the end of the essay along with your photo, but the essay needs another paragraph after that which sums up your argument as a whole, signals to your readers that your essay is coming to a close, and contains no new information. I’m really impressed with how you transition from one section to another without it seeming choppy. That isn’t always easy to do.