Rough Draft Critique

When rough drafts are due, come to class prepared to work on your paper in critique groups. You will both give and receive feedback from your peers. Here are the guidelines for this process. One of the goals of this class is that you learn to give and receive critique. Doing so will help you better understand what is working in your writing, and what would benefit from further clarification or development.

TAKE NOTE! Your grade for your rough draft includes working with others. It is a "working" grade. You must show up with your paper prepared to work on it with other students, AND prepared to work on their papers, too. You are graded for being in class prepared and engaged. If you miss a Rough Draft work session, I will not accept your next paper, if you are not in class to work on the rough draft.

A Note on Working in Small Groups

When you work in small groups and pairs, it is essential that you cluster in close so you can work together. If you stay spread out, the physical shape of your gathering will impact the group dynamics. You will be more likely distracted by the conversations of other groups. Some of your group members will remain outside the process. One of the goals of group work is for everyone to become involved and participate.

The Critique Process

Working in Pairs: Author & Editor

  • Bring a copy of your paper to work on and edit. You will take it home to use as a reference when you rework your final draft. It must be turned in with your final draft.
  • The critique process is an oral process. You will work with a partner. Each paper will be addressed one at a time. The author will read the paper aloud to their partner and then discuss the paper and offer advice about how to make it a better paper. The advice will include editing that gets written onto the rough draft.
  • The questions below are meant to guide you through the process of working with each paper.
  • The critique process should take the whole class. You will not be allowed to leave early if you finish early. Plan on taking the time necessary to actually address your papers in depth, in a real way. This process is an essential aspect of your final grade. Students who seek to short circuit it, either by not coming prepared or not participating in the group will lose points on their final draft.
  • There is no way to write an A paper without participating in the Rough Draft Review process.

Peer Critique Guidelines:

  1. What is the paper about? What have you as a listener learned?
  2. What most holds your attention?
  3. What do you like best?
  4. Ask the writer what they intended, what they want to communicate.
  5. Are the writer’s intentions clear? Where might the writer be clearer?
  6. What might make the points the paper is attempting stronger?
  7. Is there anything that seems out of place or unfinished?
  8. How can the paper be further developed? Where do you want to know more?
  1. Make sure both of your names (the writer's and the editor's name) are on the paper.
  2. Correct all spelling and grammar errors you find.
  3. Circle things that are confusing or present problems and write a brief note in the margin about why you’ve made the marks.
  4. Mark the things you like best with an ! mark or a :) smiley face. Or write "good" or "great."

Additional Resources

An engaged peer review lab sounds like this:

On Making a Critique Group Work