This is the second "essay" in the student's portfolio. Unlike
the second Summary/Response, which the student will have time to discuss
with you and revise several times, this will be done in one week, primarily
on the student's own. In discussing the assignment, though, you should
focus on the fact that the student has plenty of practice getting a main
idea across to a specific audience using personal experience (narrative)
and examples from texts. The only thing that is different about this task
is it is a different kind of main idea (essentially, an argument). You
should also start from a discussion of who the audience is for this
essay, and what the student thinks that audience will expect.
The goals for this assignment are:
To have the student analyze his/her own progress during the semester,
To ask the student to write an essay about his/her progress that uses
narrative for another purpose (argument),
To have the student analyze his/her audience & understand why academic
conventions are important for this audience,
To allow the student to demonstrate what s/he has learned about rhetorical
conventions like focus, development, organization, etc.
More on setting up the assignment: In the tutorial session in
which you discuss this assignment (week 14), you should first talk about
audience. Give the student some time to analyze the audience (the
Writing Center Director) and talk about how that will affect his/her writing
(in terms of evidence, format, etc.). Then ask the student to make some
connections about things s/he has learned that will be useful in this assignment
(concrete detail, making sure textual evidence is relevant, etc.). You
might get the student started writing while s/he is still there, so you
can answer any questions that come up. You might also couch this as a "less
formal" assignment (a postscript is a one-on-one communication - it's
like a letter, only to a more "formal" recipient) to ease any
Be sure to encourage your tutee to use the strategies you've discussed
throughout the semester - you don't want the time constraints of this last
assignment to push your student back into a last-minute process. Suggest
prewriting exercises, outlines, or any other techniques you've discovered.
Also, remind the student that the Web forum is available for them to give
and receive feedback from other students. They should plan to post a draft
to the forum a few days early and read at least one other draft (both to
respond and to get ideas for their own draft).
Responding to the assignment: Remember that at this point you
are strictly a "coach." You should talk to the student about
choices s/he made and why. If the student has any specific concerns, you
could discuss them together. The writer should be encouraged to bring the
essay on disk, so any last-minute changes can be made during the final
tutorial session. Primarily, though, your role is just to pass the portfolio
on to the Writing Center Director for evaluation.
You're almost done! Your final task is to write a "postscript" to your portfolio, in which you talk about why, based on this final assignment and your progress this semester, you think you are (or are not) ready to register for CO150.
Purpose: To make an argument for why you feel you are (or are not) ready to register for CO150, using evidence from your experiences this semester and the papers you've written.
Audience: The Director of the Writing Center. Be sure to think about what this person's expectations are likely to be. Why might s/he want you to answer this particular question? What kinds of things will you need to show? What kind of development will this person expect?
You're also, though, answering this question for yourself. It might be a good idea to do some prewriting for this essay, like you did for Narrative 1. This may help you recognize all that you've learned in the tutorial & how your writing has changed, in addition to helping you gather your thoughts for the essay itself.
The goals are either to show the Writing Center Director that you're now ready to take CO150 (and be successful), or to make a case for why you feel you should be permitted to repeat the tutorial for one more semester. In either case, you'll want to provide a clear focus (thesis statement) and develop your thoughts with examples from your experience in the tutorial and the essays you've written. If it's appropriate, you might compare/contrast your writing at the beginning of the semester with your writing now.
If you're having trouble getting started, by all means use the resources in this packet, including the section on "Writing Under Time-Pressure." You might also discuss your ideas with a friend, roommate or relative. Try to write a draft early in the week, so you will have time to take a break and have someone else give you feedback before you hand it in.