Sample Student Self-Critique (Cover Sheet) for a Paper

Professor Deborah Brandt, English Department, UW-Madison
To encourage students to think critically about their writing and to encourage students to develop as writers over the semester, some instructors find it very effective to ask students to write a cover sheet (or memo or letter) for each paper, responding to questions like these.  You can, of course, adapt the questions you ask to reinforce the key elements of a particular assignment or genre.  You can use students' self-critiques as a starting point for personalizing your feedback on their work.

Self-Evaluation Cover Sheet


The issues that an individual instructor asks students to consider in a cover letter can focus on general conventions of academic writing or can be tailored to specific courses.  In addition, these self-evaluation sheets encourage students to evaluate what they have accomplished so far, thus establishing the basis for revision.  Many instructors ask students to address similar questions in what they call a “cover letter.”


Deborah Brandt

Department of English


Cover sheet to be submitted with paper or draft.








What is your goal with this paper?  What does this piece attempt to do?




What's the point?




What's the strongest aspect of this paper?  What's working best?




What are you still unhappy with?  What would you have wanted to continue to work on?




What aspects of this paper do you especially want comments on?




Are you experimenting with anything in this paper?  Are you trying anything new as a writer?




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