The Self-Revised Papers

July 24, 2017

The self-revised essay is an essay that students write, reflect on, and revise over the course of a semester in class and without direct feedback. Students write the first draft in the first or second week of the semester and then revisit it three more times as the semester progresses. Each time they revisit it, they read their prior draft and write a short reflection, discussing the changes they wish to make; they then write a revision.

All of this work—both reflection and revision—takes place in the classroom.

At no time do students take their work home with them. Instead, the instructor collects their work and holds it until the next reflection/revision; he or she may or may not read these drafts, but in any case, does not comment on them.

In this way, sole authorship is ensured, and, across course sections, student work that is to be assessed is neither privileged nor disadvantaged by direct instructor feedback. It is important to note that while instructors do not provide direct feedback on the self-revised essay, direct feedback is provided to students on the other drafted essays they write over the course of the semester, allowing instruction to be targeted to student needs and providing students with concrete examples from which they might make generalizations about strengths and weaknesses in their writing.


Journal of Basic Writing, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2007 75, Janine Graziano-King.

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