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Student Journal: Create a Final Checklist for Assignments

Last semester, I turned in a paper that was well written and thorough, but I lost points for errors that had little to do with content or material and everything to do with avoidable mistakes. I lost a few points because I forgot to italicize something in my references page and a few because I had forgotten to address one specific parameter that had been described in the directions. My professor still gave my assignment a great grade, but I felt disappointed that I hadn’t paid enough attention to the details.

As a result, I decided to make myself a final checklist to use for all my assignments. I included everything that I sometimes miss points for that are universal to most assignments. I think that even though those points don’t usually cost me the grade I want, I still want to make sure I’m training myself to catch the details that could be valuable.

I know that catching the small errors is important in my career and will also be expected in everything I do. I hope this checklist will help me pay better attention in my everyday life also.

To make my checklist, I chose a few elements to revisit before I turn in each assignment. It has been working for me so far, and I will probably add more as I remember or come across new requirements for each assignment.

The first item on my list is to review my formatting for the references page. I made specific notes about what to italicize and what needs to be included. I also have a bad habit of forgetting what the final references product should look like so I included an example so that I can see the formatting as a reminder.

I have also included a reminder to ensure I have removed all my notes from the final body of the paper, the cover page, and the references page. Often, if I don’t have complete information or need to go back through my sources to verify a fact or page number, I add a note right into the content reminding myself to do it. However, even after I finish verifying, I sometimes forget to remove the note, which looks so unprofessional. I really hope that this list helps me find a better system than adding notes into the body in the first place so I don’t have to worry about it at all.  

Sentence structure is also included on my checklist. Sometimes when I write my thoughts quickly, I find myself using a repetitive sentence structure which makes the assignment read poorly and could potentially cause me points in the future. When I edit papers now, I try to be cognizant of the structure and words that I use to keep variety and interest throughout the assignment.

The next note I added for myself was to reread the directions. In the past, I thought I knew the directions and applied all the specifics only to discover last minute that I forgot to address something. Then I had to frantically try to add that piece in and I’ve been down to the wire on turning in assignments because of it. By rereading the directions before I’m ready to turn in the assignment, I think I will stay ahead of any last-minute panic.

Along with rereading the directions, I also compare my final assignment to the rubric. I look at each grading requirement on the rubric and find the corresponding piece of my assignment. By doing that, I hope to ensure that I’m not missing anything important and that I am meeting the requirements to score optimum points.

Overall, some of these items may not make or break my grade on their own but together they can impact my assignment. I hope that by putting measures in place to make myself remember to go back and give a final check to elements I sometimes overlook, I can consistently improve the quality of my assignments and add that attention to detail into everything I take on.


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