Quick Tip: Targeted Feedback for Better Conclusions

Read how Matthew Davidson, English teacher at Sutherland High School, provides feedback to better improve student conclusions.

Matthew-Davidson

My "Conc." QuickMark. Description: A conclusion should leave your reader with a sense that your paper, while defending an initial premise, has been building toward an important idea.

That idea, expressed in the conclusion, should have a sense of discovery that logically follows all that you've written in the body of the paper. To simply summarize what you've already said or make a series of overly obvious statements is not only anti-climactic, it is counterproductive in getting your reader to understand your perspective. The reader should sense the importance and clarity of your argument after finishing the conclusion. There's no simple formula for an effective conclusion, but a thought-provoking question, a revelation that comes as the natural result of information and evidence you've provided, or a combination of the two can be very effective. Regardless of what you do, you must put genuine thought into it. Anything less is going to be obvious to the reader. If it's boring to write, it's even more boring to read.

Why is this QuickMark important?

My students struggle with closing their essays all the time. As a result, they often just waste their time and mine by summarizing what I just read or filling up the space with clichéd banalities. So many of my students have come to me to express their appreciation for this QuickMark. It's a long one, for sure, but packs a lot of punch.


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About the Educator

Matthew Davidson teaches in Pittsford, New York, which is a suburb of Rochester. He teaches in a two high school district; each high school with approximately 1,000 students. He is currently the Chair for the English Department at Sutherland High School in Pittsford, and currently teaches AP Language and Composition, English 10 Honors, and English 11. He's been teaching for over 20 years.