Spring 2010 Writing Inventory J1

Spring 2010 Writing Inventory J1 - Taking a Writing...

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Taking a Writing Inventory One way to begin actively learning from your mistakes is to take a writing inventory. Taking inventory helps you think critically and analytically about how to improve your writing skills. To create a personal writing inventory, follow these steps: 1. Collect copies of two or three pieces of writing you have done, making sure to select pieces to which either your instructor or other students have responded. 2. Read through this writing, adding your own comments about its strengths and weaknesses. 3. Examine the instructor and peer comments very carefully, and compare them with your own comments. 4. Group all the comments into three categories—broad content issues, organization and presentation, and surface errors. Broad content issues include use of evidence, use of sources, achieving purpose, attention to audience, and overall impression. Organization and presentation include overall organization, sentence-level organization and style, paragraph structure, the mechanics of documenting sources, and formatting choices. Surface errors include problems with spelling, grammar, and punctuation and mechanics. ( See the top twenty problems in student writing. ) 5. Make an inventory of your own strengths in each category. 6. Study your errors. Mark every instructor and peer comment that suggests or calls for an improvement and put them all in a list. 7. Look for help in areas where you need it. You can consult the relevant parts of The Everyday Writer (check the index and tables of contents to find specific help) or speak to your instructor for clarification. 8. Make up a priority list of three or four particular writing problems you have identified, and write out a plan for improvement. 9. Note at least two strengths you want to build on in your writing. 10.Record your findings in a writing log (a notebook or computer file in which you record comments and observations about your writing), which you can add to as the class proceeds. Broad Content Issues As a writer, you are in some ways like the supervisor of a large construction job: you must assemble all the ideas, words, evidence, and so on into one coherent structure. Doing so calls on you to attend carefully to several big questions: What is the purpose of your writing? To whom is it addressed? What points does it make? Does it fully develop, support, or prove those
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points? Instructors and peer reviewers often comment on the following broad content issues in
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Spring 2010 Writing Inventory J1 - Taking a Writing...

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