Academic Writing: Self-Assessment


In this fourth-semester class (English language teacher trainers/Spanish L1), I facilitate a group discussion around common writing errors stemming from their first drafts (of a five-paragraph essay).  Trainers were asked to look through their own work and choose if the error type was something they needed to consider or if it was something they already did well.

Common Academic Writing Errors Discussed in Class

  1. Level I heading (APA)
  2. Thesis statement: transitional phrase
  3. Times New Roman, font size 12
  4. Spacing: Double space and equal spacing between headings and paragraphs
  5. Avoid
    1. To be
    2. It is important, it is necessary, it is vital, it is essential, etc.
    3. Passive voice with non-referential it
    4. Focus more on concepts than the authors
    5. Using modals
    6. Dictionaries and encyclopedia citations and references
  6. APA
    1. Last name and year for citations
    2. Direct quotes no more than 15%
    3. References: capitalization and italics
  7. Punctuation
    1. Serial comma
    2. At least three references and six citations
    3. Five to eight sentences in each paragraph
    4. Subject-verb agreement: check each (main, subordinating, and relative) clause.

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