Evaluation Resource Central: Self Evaluations
This information does not act as a substitute for a visit with one of our writing tutors. It is provided as a starting point for your work. We strongly recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our writing tutors for more tailored, one-on-one conversations about your evaluations.
A self evaluation is arguably the most important document you will ever write in your academic life. It serves as a crucial component in your transcript, providing your viewpoint as a student and your views on how you have evolved or succeeded within your program. It is best to approach self evaluations through a step-by-step process starting early in the quarter. The information below provides some ideas as for how this process might take place.
The key to thinking about your self evaluation is to view it as a series of stories that you write about your academic career. The first evaluation in your transcript serves both as an evaluation of your work in your first program at Evergreen and as your introduction to who you are as you begin your Evergreen life. Your final evaluation - which, ideally, will be a Summative Self Evaluation - is a means to wrap up your Evergreen education and to provide a context for your work: what have you done that is important to you? Why did you do the things you did? Where do you intend to go from here?
Every evaluation in between that first self evaluation and your Summative Self Evaluation must continue the story you started. Certainly, your goals as a student change constantly; an evaluation only needs to reflect these changes in thinking so that the audience for your transcript can follow your academic evolution.
Forms for typing up formal evaluations are available here.
Stage I: Brainstorming/Self-Reflection
At first, don't worry at all about what your final evaluation is going to look like. Chances are that, throughout the program, you've learned enough that it's hard to separate out the important parts from the parts that didn't affect your learning at all. To help sort that out, sit down and just write for a minimum of thirty minutes about the program, your experiences, what you learned, what you think could have gone better, or any other information about your academic progress during this program that you think may be useful later on.
While writing, do not concern yourself with mechanical issues -- this is stream of consciousness writing and is a draft only for your own use. Nobody else has to see this unless you want them to.
Our handout from Peter Elbow is an especially helpful guide during this stage of the writing process.
Stage II: Filtering
Now that you have a significant amount of self-reflection and brainstorming down on paper, you can filter through it to pick up key ideas, words, sentences, or concepts that you would like to use or highlight within your self evaluation. At this point, you are working with an eye towards generating a very rough first draft that will eventually transform into your final self evaluation for the program.
The types of words, sentences, or ideas that you want to pick out are those that uniquely describe or articulate a significant aspect of your own learning or evolution within the program. Remember: the purpose of a self evaluation is to convince the reader that your work within the program has been beneficial overall.
Stage III: Revision
Revising is a stage that can be as long or as short as it needs to be. It encompasses your second draft through your final evaluation and includes the next stage. Revising your self evaluation may take the form of bringing it into a writing tutor for review, reading it aloud to yourself to catch errors or ideas that need expansion, giving it to someone else so that they may make suggestions or comments, or strengthening key ideas and phrases within your evaluation. Faculty members are usually all too happy to review your self evaluation drafts and make comments.
Your aim with each successive draft should be to make incremental improvements towards a final document that expresses your achievements and strengths during the program.
Stage IV: Evaluation
In the final stage, you need to evaluate what you've written in order to ensure that it is a document that you would be proud to include in your transcript. Some things to think about include:
- What is the driving idea behind the evaluation?
- Does the evaluation cover or mention all that you feel that it should?
- Are there any unnecessary details?
- Does the introduction appropriately introduce and frame the rest of the evaluation?
- Is the paragraph structure clear and concise?
- Is the conclusion sufficient?
- How does the evaluation relate to the rest of the transcript? Does it build from other evaluations? Is the formatting consistent?
- Do you show and not tell? Is the evidence or description convincing and vivid? Do you detail the value of your learning?
- Is the evaluation interesting to read? Does the voice sound natural?
- What attitudes and qualities do you display within the evaluation? Are these consistent with what you wish to portray?
- Are there any places where sentence fluency and word choices could be improved?
- Is the evaluation appropriate for the potential audience, such as a graduate school or future employer?
The questions above are the same questions that our writing tutors use to assess an evaluation draft. In addition, our handout from Richard Alexander can help you think about the role that a self evaluation plays within your transcript.
Stage V: Final Check
As with any thesis-based paper, evaluations must meet certain standards. The checklist below will help you finalize your evaluation so that it shines.
- Final evaluations must be printed on the formal evaluation form provided by the College. No handwriting is allowed except for your signature. Registration and Records does not accept handwritten evaluations.
- Know the title of your program, course, or contract. The title on your evaluation must be complete and exact, so check the Academic Catalog or program syllabi if you’re unsure.
- Use the correct form and don't forget to sign it with blue or black ink only.
- Don't include course equivalencies in your self-evaluation. The document should describe your achievement, not the specific type of credit you received.
- Aim for length of one page per quarter. Save your dissertation for graduate school. If you’re having trouble with length, the Writing Center or Career Development can help you pare down your self evaluation.
- Don't repeat the text of the program description or contract. This information will be included in your transcript anyway; adding the text to your self evaluation will only be redundant.
- Check spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and all other technical aspects of your evaluation. Once Registration and Records has received your self-evaluation, it can no longer be revised.
Keep a copy of your self-evaluation for your own records, either on paper or on disk. Registration will not keep additional copies beyond your full transcript.
Two copies of your self evaluation may be submitted directly to Registration and Records.
Associated Self-Evaluation Workshops
Every quarter, typically during weeks 9 and 10, the Writing Center conducts workshops on how to successfully write a self evaluation.