Writing a self-assessment for an English class may seem like a daunting task if you haven’t done it before. How do you even begin evaluating your own progress? Isn’t that what the professor does? Not necessarily. You can easily evaluate your performance by reviewing a checklist of thoughtful questions that target key learning areas. These areas depend on the kind of class you are taking and the professor’s goals. Doing a self-assessment every few weeks can help you improve your learning style and earn the grade you want.


Review the class syllabus and grading criteria to get a sense of how your professor will evaluate your work at the end of the semester. Knowing how your professor thinks will help you write your evaluation. English classes tend to assess writing skills such as grammar, syntax, writing thesis statements and making a coherent argument. More specific English classes, such as creative writing, tend to evaluate your ability to create a character and plot in short stories. Other English classes, such as Shakespeare, will measure your ability to present a critical analysis of the material. Tailor your self-evaluation to the specific goals of the class.

Write a list of five to 10 evaluation questions. They should reflect the course mission. For example, if your English professor wants you to understand how to write a research paper, write questions that address the different aspects of a research paper. You might write a question that addresses the clarity and sophistication of your thesis statement, another that addresses the organization of your body paragraphs and topic sentence, and another that assesses the quality of your conclusion. Write your responses or give yourself a grade of A, B, C, D or F. If you give yourself a letter grade, be sure to add a few lines of description. These lines of description will help trigger your memory when you go back and review the self-assessment.

Evaluate your attendance/promptness. Consider whether you come to class regularly or miss many classes, and whether you come to class on time or often arrive late. Give your self an A, B, C, D or F.

Evaluate your preparation for class. Class preparation can involve things such as bringing the course texts to class on days that you will be discussing them and preparing for class by doing reading ahead of time and completing homework assignments. Give your self an A, B, C, D or F.

Evaluate your participation in group work and draft workshops. Consider how effectively you contribute to group work, how well you help your group complete its tasks and how effectively you allow and encourage other group members to contribute. Also consider how you participate in draft workshops--reading your fellow students’ papers carefully, making thoughtful and constructive comments and so on. Give your self an A, B, C, D or F. In an English class, draft workshops often take place. It is important that your evaluation of group work and draft workshops is relevant to the material being discussed. For example, simply saying you think your peer's paper is "good" isn't constructive feedback. Effective group participation occurs when you can provide a variety of comments for your peers. Consider the positive aspects of your peer's paper and offer a few ideas for improvement. What you give to your peers in a workshop you'll get back from them.

Evaluate your participation in large class discussions. English classes often rely on spontaneous discussion of the text or draft of a student's paper. This aspect of participation can involve many things, including answering questions posed by the instructor or by other students, expressing your opinion and/or responding to the thoughts of others, making connections to readings and/or to important course concepts, facilitating discussion by making relevant comments, asking important questions, encouraging others to participate, allowing others to talk, and/or not carrying on private conversations when someone is trying to speak during class discussion. Give your self an A, B, C, D or F.

Evaluate your overall participation in your English class. What are you doing effectively to contribute to the class? What could you do to improve class participation--both your own and that of your classmates? What could the instructor do to help you maintain and/or improve your participation in the class? Write a few sentences to answer this question.

Share with your self-assessment with your professor or other students for feedback.


Be honest in your self-assessments. Your class grade will not be affected by how you evaluate yourself--and an honest evaluation can help you see areas for improvement.

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