English 101
Final Exam

Choose one of the following prompts below.  Write a complete in-class essay in response to your chosen prompt.

I. Portfolio Review

The purpose of this exercise is for you to thoroughly evaluate the writing you have done for this class this semester. Once you have evaluated your work, you can make plans as to how you might improve your writing next year.

1. Begin by reviewing your work.  Look at your essays as a whole.  If available, go back and look at your previous semester's work.   Does your new work seem better or worse?  Are there certain types of writing that you are better at than others?  Which writings do you like?

 2.  Now select two - three writings from this semester that show your strengths as a writer. 

One should show your creative abilities.  Is there an essay in which your "thought outside the box," in which you took a different approach to the assignment?  Or is there a creative piece (short story, poem, etc.) that you think is good?

One should show improvement in your writing, either in going from pre-write to final draft or through a series or rewrites/drafts.

One should be your best piece of writing.

3.  Now write an essay in which you analyze your writing.  You might look at focus (how well you stick to a topic), support (How well you prove and explain your topic), organization (How well your writing flows from idea to idea), and mechanics (spelling, punctuation, usage)as a way to evaluate your writing.  You might instead just discuss each paper in terms of its individual strengths and weaknesses.  You might examine your writing process, i.e., how you develop your thoughts and move them to paper and the strengths and weaknesses of your techniques.

The end result should be an essay that describes your strengths as a writer and gives clear indications of what you can do differently to improve your writing.



II. Student Reflection

Prompt:  Write a reflective essay about the work you have done in class this semester.

Discussion of prompt: Write a paragraph reflecting on the different units this semester.  Which units do you think you “got the most” out of?  Which units gave you difficulties?  For this paragraph, write solely on content, reading, lectures, classwork.  Think about content, what you learned, what skills you gained, etc.

Write a paragraph reflecting on the different major projects this semester.  Which assignments did you “get the most” out of in terms of becoming a better writer?  Think about the focus on being specific and concise with writing as well as emphasis on using and formatting quotes for support.  Also think about the push towards more in-class writing assignments.  Which assignments did you have the most difficulty with?  What can you and I do to increase your strengths in the areas you have difficulty with?

Write a final paragraph reflecting on your “studenting” behaviors.  What are your strengths as a student?  What do you do that helps you, as well as your classmates, succeed?  Think about the discursive, social climate in class.  What do you contribute to it?  Do you distract or harm the social climate in any way?  What are your weaknesses as a student?  What things do you do that distract from your, or others’, success?


III. Set of Writing Instructions

Prompt: Write a set of instructions to next semester’s 101 class that explains how to write a 500-word essay.  Use pieces of your own writing as a source of examples for these instructions.  These essays should include your best writing.

Discussion of prompt:  Begin with a paragraph that describes what most freshmen know or don't know about writing.  Think of what you have learned this semester compared to what you knew coming starting at the beginning of the semester. 

You should use the following questions as a way to organize your instructions.

1.  What could writers do as part of pre-writing?  How should they generate new ideas?  How should they find quotes and examples?

2.  How should they go about writing their first drafts?  How should they organize their writing?  What goes in an introduction?  What is a thesis and where does it go?  How should they write a paragraph?  What is support?  How much support does one need?  What about concluding sentences and concluding paragraphs?  Remember, you are writing to freshmen and they need your help.

3.  What should writers do after they have finished a draft?  How should they check their paper before handing it in?