Discovering Ideas

English Composition

Spring 2009 Palomar College

Essay Self-Evaluation

Your name (full name: last name first, the first name):   

Number of the essay: 

Goal and Thesis

1.  What are you trying to do in this essay?  What do you want your readers to think or do after they have read your essay?


2.  Does the thesis statement you have written after the essay express all of the main ideas you want to express in this essay?  (TS 3)  Does it answer the questions "Why?" and "How?" clearly?  (TS 4)  Is it in the active voice? (TS 6)  Would you revise the thesis statement now?  If so, please give the revision here.



1.  Do the paragraphs of your essay move in a logical direction? Does the reader have the experience of getting someplace, of answering questions and moving toward a point? Or does the essay jump around for no apparent reason? Evaluate the overall organization of your essay briefly, and then point out where you think the transition between paragraphs is strongest and where it is weakest?

2.  In the essay, do you answer the question "How do you know?" of every claim you make in such a way that a doubting reader would be satisfied? Evaluate the overall quality of the evidence you use in the essay, then comment on where you think your evidence is strongest and where you think it is weakest. (DIH 2.4)

3.  Does each sentence in each paragraph lead to or from the central point (the topic sentence)? (3a) Where do you think there are problems with paragraph coherence?

4.  Is every paragraph fully developed? (3c) Which are and which arenít? What is your best developed paragraph and what your worst?  Why?

Introduction and Conclusion

1.  Does your introduction catch the readers' attention and focus it on the subject of the essay?  How does it do this?

2.  Does the conclusion of your essay leave the reader with the message you want to convey in the essay?  Does it create the impression that the reader has gotten someplace, has reached a conclusion?  How?

Writing Process

1.  How long did you spend doing research for material you used in this essay?  If you had more time, would you do more research?  What would you look for?

2.  How much time did you spend revising the essay after you had a first draft?  If you had more time, how would you revise further?

Overall Assessment

1.  How interesting is this essay? To what kinds of readers would it be more interesting? To what kinds of readers less interesting? What parts are most and what least interesting? Are there parts where readers will be bored or confused?

2. How effective an essay do you believe this is. That is, how successful would this essay be a persuading the other members of the class to believe your thesis statement?  If you had more time, how could you make it more effective or persuasive?