An important step in writing about belief is reading and reflecting on the beliefs of others. Most compositions involve some type of peer evaluation step in producing student essays. Students are often anxious when sharing any writing with readers, so some care should be given to framing peer feedback for an essay built on a personal belief. At this stage students are not being asked to weigh or evaluate the belief itself but to respond to its presentation.

Instructions. Consider these questions to help focus peer responses.

  1. Clarity
    • Point out any confusing sentences or passages. Were you able to follow the general direction of key ideas or stories easily?
  2. Persuasiveness
    • Are you persuaded to agree or at least to say, “OK, I can respect that”?
    • What types of evidence are included? Are there vivid details,
      memorable vignettes, or striking phrases?
    • Warn the writer of cliché thinking or of not grappling with key issues.
  3. 3. Strength of Introduction and Conclusion

    • Does the introduction create interest?
    • Does the conclusion punch home the main point?
  4. Editing
    • Don’t do a complete editing job, but point out the most distracting
      slips in usage and mechanics.
  5. Style
    • How will this sound when read aloud?
    • Long sentences are fine if they move well, but point out any parts that
      seem choppy or pretentious.
    • Point out any special successes with parallelism or climactic structure.
  6. Most Successful Passage
    • Summarize a passage of one to four sentences, and add a note to
      explain why it’s successful.
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