Many students tell us that they don't know what to check for once they have finished their essay. They usually know to check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling, but other details are often seen as less important because of the high emphasis placed on these problems in their early education. Writing experts generally agree, however, that while details such as grammar and punctuation are important, they are far less important than solid organization, fresh writing, and creative content. The following guidelines are designed to give students a checklist to use, whether they are revising individually or as part of a peer review team. Organization
IN 1986, UCOPE set the general standard for passing by approving the AWPE Scoring Guide. There also is a regular annual procedure for applying these general standards to each new examination. From the pretest essays, the Universitywide Analytical Writing Placement Examination Committee assembles a set of papers representing the weakest to the strongest performance. Members reach their own consensus about the scores these papers should receive. They then provide this set of papers to UCOPE. At its March meeting UCOPE reviews these essays and decides independently on the scores. (In almost all cases both committees assign the same scores to the papers.) These essays and their UCOPE scores set the standard by which the chief reader and the room leaders choose essays from the May administration to exemplify the standards for all the readers who score papers in June.
As you examine patterns you find in your own comprehensive observation list and look for an idea, theme, or metaphor to connect them, keep in mind the ways in which a focus moves from observations to a more developed discussion of the ideas you note. As you connect the dots of your pattern, you may begin to understand where your essay could “land,” which implications become most compelling to you, and which elements for discussion could make clear the complexity of reality and truth. When you identify some of these more powerful elements, take the time to write about any connections you see between those patterns or expand on any unfinished thoughts. From this list, you need to choose the idea/pattern that interests you most, that you think you can really write about, and that you can support with other observations from your notes. You have found your focus!