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ERIC Number: ED414581
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Your Life is a C+: Assigning and Assessing the Personal Essay in First Year Composition.
Freeman, Kimberly
In the hope that students would develop authority in their writing, they were instructed to write a personal essay about themselves. Most of the essays, however, were mediocre and formulaic. While one student's experience of the painful loss of his mother to cancer was tragic, his essay was cliched. Supporters of the use of personal essay in first-year composition believe that autobiography helps students to situate themselves within a larger cultural context and thus be more aware of and able to critique that context. Critics, however, are most often concerned about students being revictimized by being forced to reveal painful experiences in English classes. Often students' prose is more lucid when writing autobiography, but that does not necessarily lead to their writing better analytical, academic prose. One of the biggest problems with the autobiographical assignment is the assessment of these essays. The easiest to assess is the preliminary autobiographical assignment which can be given an old-fashioned "check" or "check plus." Another option is to grade the essay as part of a portfolio so that it is seen as a part of a larger effort, or not to grade it at all. (Contains 14 references; a personal essay survey is appended.) (CR)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A