Scroll down for portfolio
guidelines, principles to revise, and sample "process
The final exercise, in place of an exam, is a portfolio. The portfolio
is due by 5 PM Monday, December 10 in my box outside Bryan 219.
1. Choose three essays to revise.
2. Choose three of the principles below to revise. (This means
three principles per paper. That is, you may choose to revise the
three principles in each essays, but not one principle per essay.)
3. Choose principles that actually need substantial revision in
the essay. (That is, don't say, "I looked at my paper for evidence,
and my evidence is all really good.")
4. Address global principles first. If you had trouble establishing
your claim or need better consequences, you must address those
issues before moving onto local/style principles.
5. Write a process letter to accompany each essay. This letter
should address each aspect of the paper you've revised, with a
(what the principle is, why it is important to clear, well-written
academic writing) and why you've changed it.
6. Revise the entire essay for the principles you address (don't
just find one or two examples).
7. Check for spelling, typos, and grammar. This does not count
as one of the three principles, but these problems will affect
8. Turn in all three versions of the papers you revise, along with
9. Put all of the portfolio materials in some sort of soft folder.
10. Submit revisions and process letters to the class web site.
Please Note: Your portfolio grades are based on how well you've
selected, revised, and explained the principles you choose&emdash;not
on the original grade for the essay. Thus, it is possible for an
that originally received an A- to receive a C in the portfolio,
and vice versa.
Principles to Revise
These are listed more or less in order from most global to most
* Claim (surprising, debatable, supportable with reasons and evidence)
* Reasons (clearly supports claim, different from one another,
supportable with evidence)
* Evidence (clearly supports reason, verifiable, specific)
* Problem statement (status quo/destabilizing condition/consequences/resolution)
* Acknowledgment and response
* Conclusion (claim/consequences/guide to the next step)
* Transitions between paragraphs
* Issue/discussion within paragraph
* Topic strings within paragraph
* Characters and actions within sentences
* Nominalization within sentences
* Short stuff before the verb within sentences
* Works cited page, proper citation
Letter Sample Paragraphs
The process letter can be informal (no introduction, no conclusion,
The first way that I revised this essay was to add more evidence.
Evidence is a way of proving that your reason is true by drawing
on facts that most people agree on, or could look up if they had
to. In the first version of this essay, I did not have much evidence,
and my paper was not very persuasive as a result. In this version,
I used more statistics from the articles we read, and included
quotations from the movie about Broadway revivals. Some examples
of this are
in paragraph 4, where I included the information from a New York
Times article, "Broadway Bound," and the editorial in
Variety, and in paragraph 5, where I added a quotation from the
scene in the
movie in which Vincent Canby offers his opinions.
Finally, I examined each paragraph to make sure that there was
short stuff before the verb. Short stuff before the verb means
should not be too many words before the verb in any sentence, because
readers have an easier time understanding short bundles of information.
For example, in paragraph 3, the sentence originally read, "Quaker-led
movements for prison reform in the nineteenth century occasionally
met with criticism." I rewrote it as, "In the nineteenth
century, Quakers led a movement to reform prisons. Some people criticized
their efforts." In paragraph 4, I changed "Preventing multiple
returns to serious crime by criminals was one goal of prison reform" to "Reformers
sought to prevent criminals from repeating their crimes." I
changed most paragraphs this way; however, I left some complicated
sentences in paragraph 2, since the ideas in it are fairly straightforward,
and using short stuff before the verb might make it feel too simplistic.