Training Independent Learners: Student Self-Editing Checklist for Law School Papers, Notes and Comments
8 Pages Posted: 8 May 2008
Date Written: May 7, 2008
Too often, professors offer exemplar edits of student papers providing a single edit or identifying one or two instances of a problem. The expectation is that the students will respond to the general principle and use it themselves in editing the remainder of their own pieces. Independent learning theory suggests that students learn best if they learn the tools of self-assessment.
Editing checklists abound. Grammar dos and don'ts are not difficult to obtain; indeed, virtually every legal writing text has some variation. Students who take the time to review these lists find them quite helpful. Independent learners only need access to the information. Not all students, however, are independent learners. Many need more than a nudge to use information that is provided to them. Requiring self-editing certification enables the student to develop editing skills by focusing on discrete tasks rather than the often overwhelming instruction to proofread carefully. Although this same information is available in a myriad of sources, the certification directs the student to manageable tasks.
The following is a checklist for students to use in editing their own papers. It lists many of the most basic principles of good, clear writing and many of the most common flaws in students' papers. It requires the student to certify, by signing and noting the date and time, that the student has checked the paper for each of the points listed.
Keywords: Law school paper, Notes, Comments, Editing, Self-editing, Checklist, Legal writing, Scholarly writing, Student papers, Grammar, Plagiarism, Law students, Students
JEL Classification: D83, K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation