Self-Assessment Homework I: Preparing to Write

The purpose of this homework is to help you consolidate your understanding of some of the data you have gathered, and also to help you practice assessing your own progress. This homework is a first step toward building the self-assessment skills you will use to complete your final self-assessment next Spring.

Write a short essay in the form of advice to your future self, addressing the following topics:

Your instructions should tell your future self what to do and why. When you can, do point to evidence in your lab notebook—extensive references would be unnecessary and distracting, but a few well-chosen references will make your advice more specific and more credible. Such references will also leave a trail that you can follow in the future.

By “short” I am thinking one or two pages. It may be possible to provide good advice in just half a page; it will depend on your observations and your needs. If you find yourself writing more then two pages, please consult with me before continuing.


In this essay I am looking for self-assessment based on contemporaneous observation. My primary evaluation of this essay will be formative: I will read what you have written and let you know where I think you are and what you will need to do to get better.

I will also provide a summative assessment for a grade:

A+ I’m really impressed
A Clear advice showing an understanding of your needs as a writer
C Evidence of effort and observation, but I do not see clear advice and evidence of understanding
F I do not see evidence of effort and observation.

If you wish to receive a preliminary evaluation, I am happy to review and discuss any draft that you bring to my office. I will not review drafts sent by email.