Evaluating a Student’s Lifeview Paper

Q: What about feedback on and grading of the Lifeview Paper? Isn’t it ultimately my lifeview?
A: As a well-educated individual, you should be able to distinguish between form and content in written communication. When your instructor assesses form, she will look at your paper’s use of grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. When your instructor assesses content, she will look at your paper’s depth of analysis, its connections to the content of the course (texts, in-class discussions, etc.), and use of evidence (i.e., backing up general statements with specific examples).

Remember the Senior Seminar objective that states: “Students will consider, discuss, and develop their own philosophy of life and write about it in a compelling, coherent, and disciplined manner.” Think of a compelling Lifeview Paper as one with excellent content, a coherent Lifeview Paper as one with outstanding form, and a disciplined Lifeview Paper as one that combines outstanding content and form.

I tell students that, when thinking about how much time to put into this assignment, how many times to revise it, and, frankly, how well-written you want it to be, consider these questions:

  • Would Hope College let you graduate if this were the only writing assignment you ever submitted?
  • Would a potential employer hire you if this were the only writing sample you could give them?
  • Does the gift of the opportunity to “consider, discuss, and develop your own philosophy of life” also carry the responsibility to “write about it in a compelling, coherent, and disciplined manner”?


Finally, a good Lifeview Paper is also the result of the particular context in which a student writes it. I tell students: You are taking this particular Senior Seminar at this particular moment with these particular peers and this particular instructor. Embrace the context of the content of your section of Senior Seminar, including the texts, conversations, discussions, and dialogue. Put another way, your compelling, coherent, and disciplined Lifeview Paper should also reflect the learning community in which you write it.