The final portfolio assignment of English 102 consists of two parts: 1) a substantial revision of one of your essays from the course and 2) a Reflection Essay that examines what you have learned about your writing, critical thinking, and critical reading with evidence from your essays to support your claims.
Part 1: Revision Essay (15%) Choose one essay previously written for this class for substantial revision. “Substantial” revision means looking at what you have written with fresh eyes, taking the time to expand ideas, reorganize sections of the essay, provide additional evidence, analyze concepts more deeply, rewrite sections of the essay, etc. The revised essay should be noticeably different from the original final draft that you submitted. Revising differs from editing, which is merely correcting grammatical mistakes, spelling, punctuation, and typos. Therefore, your changes should go beyond merely responding to marginal notes.
The Revision Essay will be evaluated according to the original criteria for that particular assignment (including length requirements), plus evidence of substantial (not superficial) changes that demonstrate critical and thoughtful considerations of your writing. Just as superficial changes fail to show substantial revision; arbitrary, major changes also do not demonstrate that you have thought about the material in new analytical ways. Note: even if you made a “good” grade, you still need to make major changes to the essay.
At this point you may be asking yourself, “How do I choose which essay to revise?” • Many of you may choose to revise the essay that received the lower score, but that does not necessarily have to be the case. • Look over both essays carefully, reading my marginal notes and end comments. Also review rough drafts, peer review comments, and your notes for ideas. • Consider which essay has the most potential for developing new ideas, expressing your thoughts in clearer ways, or researching and finding stronger sources. • Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Which essay did you enjoy most or would you like to explore more fully? You’ll spend a great deal of time revising this essay, so choose one that will maintain your interest.
Part 2: Reflection Essay (10%) Reflective writing allows you to articulate your thoughts about your growth as a writer in order to 1) understand the progress you have made, and 2) establish goals you still want to achieve with future writing projects. Reflective writing can sometimes bring out tendencies to flatter your reader or tell someone what you think they want to hear. You might feel tempted to say things about your instructor, but this assignment should focus on your own work. This reflection must clearly explain what you have learned about your own writing and provide evidence from your revised essay and other writing in the course (short responses, reflection assignments, etc.) to support your discussion. The reflection essay is not an opportunity to discuss grades or campaign for a higher grade. Your reflection should focus on the content of your work, not the score it received.
Thesis: The thesis of this essay should demonstrate what you have learned about your writing through your work this semester. The body paragraphs should offer reasons to support the thesis and provide evidence to back up your claims.
Organization: The reflection essay should be organized as a narrative that tells the story of what you have learned from your writing and researching while also presenting evidence of what you have learned.
Required Responses: Your reflective essay must address the following three questions: 1. What have you learned about your writing, analysis, and critical reading through the process of substantially revising one essay for this final project and through working on your writing this semester? 2. What have you learned about the research process: defining and narrowing a topic, using keyword searches, navigating the library database, finding scholarly journal articles? 3. How will you challenge yourself to develop your writing skills in the future?
Optional Questions: You may also consider the following questions, though you will not be able to cover all of them in the essay. • What have you learned about analyzing texts and reading them critically? • What have you learned about the processes of writing–generating ideas, organizing your work, writing multiple drafts, revising your work? • What have you learned about the importance of receiving feedback on your work from peers and others?
Format: 4 full pages, typed and double-spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman font, 1″ margins
Evaluation Criteria for Reflective Essay: • Thesis statement that demonstrates what you’ve learned about writing this semester • Plenty of specific evidence from your essays and other written assignments • Clear organization as a narrative • Insightful, thoughtful reflections about how you’ve grown as a writer • Conclusion that describes goals for future written assignments • Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting
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