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Student Assignment Revision Checklist For Essays

When revising and editing your assignment, ask yourself:

Have I answered the question or task as fully as possible?

  • What is my thesis/ central proposition/ main assertion?
  • Do I make a clear argument or take a position about the topic? Do I state that position in my introduction?
  • Does my introduction or opening paragraph prepare the reader for what follows?

Is my essay clearly structured?

Are my paragraphs clearly connected and coherent? 

  • Does each paragraph begin with a topic sentence?
  • Do the sentences flow smoothly and logically from point to point?
  • Does each sentence clearly follow on from the one before?
  • Does each paragraph state its case clearly and completely, or should there be more evidence/ detail?
  • Are there adequate transitions between sentences and paragraphs? Are transitions varied or are they all the same kind?
  • Are all examples and quotes relevant to and supportive of my answer?
  • Are facts and opinions supported with examples or explanations where necessary?

Is my written expression appropriate?

  • Have I used direct and clear language?
  • Have I explained my ideas clearly and explicitly?
  • Have I kept my audience in mind? Have I said all I need to say so that my reader can understand, or am I assuming they will 'know what I mean'?
  • Have I written complete, grammatically correct sentences?
  • In long sentences, have I separated related ideas with commas or semicolons for easier understanding?
  • Is my use of tenses correct?
  • Have I used non-discriminatory language?

Have I fully referenced my sources of information? 

  • Have I referenced all the words, ideas and information sources I have used in my assignment?
  • Have I used a consistent referencing style?
  • Is there a clear distinction between my thoughts and words and those of the author(s) I've read and cited?
  • Are quotations properly introduced?
  • Are they accurate?
  • Are they formatted correctly?
  • Do the quotations add evidence or provide an authoritative voice, or am I letting the author(s) speak for me? Would writing it in my own words be more effective?

Have I remained within or exceeded the set word limit?

I don't have enough words: 

  • Have I fully answered the question or task?
  • Do I need to read more? Should I include more information or discussion?
  • Have I provided enough evidence to support my argument/s?

I have too many words:

  • Have I included only relevant information?
  • Is there any unnecessary repetition in my assignment?
  • Is my written expression as clear and concise as possible, or is it too 'wordy'?

Have I proof read and revised my assignment for errors?

  • Have I checked my spelling? Have I read through my assignment and not just relied on a computer spell checker?
  • Is all my bibliographical information correct?
  • Have I used correct punctuation? Have I ended every sentence with a full stop?

Is my assignment well presented?

  • Does the presentation follow any guidelines set by my lecturer or school?
  • Have I included a cover sheet? (assignment cover sheets are available from your school office)
  • Have I made sure my assignment is legible? Is it typed or written neatly?
  • Have I used double-line spacing?
  • Have I numbered pages and used wide margins?
  • Have I kept an extra copy?

Further reading

Barnett, S. and Cain, A. 1997, A Short Guide to Writing About Literature, Harper Collins.

Cuba, l. 1988, A Short Guide to Writing About Social Science, Harper Collins.

Before you begin, be sure to model and discuss each step of the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing), preferably using a whole-class story or class newsletter article. Please note that the revising stage precedes editing. Student should have already worked through content revisions before reaching the editing step.

When they are ready for the editing stage of the writing process, students should edit their writing and then meet with a partner to engage in peer editing. Prior to having students use this tool independently, it is important to model its use. To do this, display sample text on an overhead projector, document camera, or SMART Board so that all students can view it. Model the use of the self-edit column with the displayed text, with you assuming the role of author. Then have a volunteer fill out the peer-edit column so that all students can hear and view the process. Finally, discuss what went well and what could be improved in the editing steps that were modeled.

This tool serves multiple purposes, including:

  • The self-edit step
  • encourages students to evaluate specific features of their writing, increasing self-awareness of writing conventions
  • keeps the pen in the writer’s hand for the initial editing phase
  • The peer-edit step
  • helps build a learning community in which peers work collaboratively
  • heightens the awareness of various print and grammatical conventions for the peer editor and the author
  • Use a fish-bowl technique to allow the class to view a self- and peer-edit session of two of their classmates. To do this, first choose one student to model the self-editing phase. It is helpful to select a student who has a good understanding of the criteria on the rubric, such as proper grammar and punctuation. That student works through the items in the self-edit column as the other students observe. It is helpful to put the editing checklist on an overhead projector or document camera so all students can see the process. After the self-edit is complete, discuss the process with the students. Next, choose another student to serve as the peer editor for the piece that was just self-edited.  Have the two students sit in the middle of the class so that all students can see and hear them as they work through the peer-editing phase. Afterward, include the entire class in a discussion about the process itself and ways in which the editing session will help the author and peer editor improve on their writing.
  • Have students work in groups of two or three to edit one piece of writing. The interaction between peers will help make the editing process more explicit. While the students are working in groups, move from group to group to check their understanding of the editing process and use of the checklist. Try to notice groups that lack comments in the “Comments and Suggestions” columns and encourage them to use this section to provide feedback to the writer, particularly for criteria that lack a check mark. To guide them, you could ask, “What do you think you could write in the ‘Comments’ section to help the writer fix this error?” Be sure to tell students that if they are unable to mark a check in the “After completing each step, place a check here” column, they must indicate the reason why they cannot check it in the “Comments and Suggestions” column.
  • Regularly review the editing process by using samples of students’ work or your own writing samples. Assess students’ progress of the editing process by creating a simple checklist. List all students’ names down the first column and a row for dates on which the editing checklist was used across the top. Then, as you observe students during the editing process, you can rate their level of effectiveness as an editor by using simple marks, such as:

    NO = Not Observed (use this for students you did not get to observe on that date)
    +  = exceeds expectations
    √  = meets expectations
    -   = below expectations

    Student NamesDate 1Date 2Date 3Date 4
    Student A
    Student B

    If you notice a student who receives a “below expectations” two times in a row, you can have him or her work with a peer who typically scores “above expectations” to model the process for him.

  • If your school uses a team approach for grouping students (a group of students who all share the same content area teachers), consider encouraging other team teachers to use this checklist in their respective content areas. Consistency in the editing process will help students understand that the editing process can apply to all written pieces, regardless of the content area.

Grades   5 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Digitally Telling the Story of Greek Figures

In this lesson students research Greek gods, heroes, and creatures and then share their findings through digital storytelling.