Time-Saving Strategies for Evaluating Student Writing
Praise students for what they have done well. Pointing out strengths is more effective than pointing out weaknesses. Hillocks notes the “great deal of evidence that teacher comments in and of themselves have no effect on student writing except when they are focused on how well the students have accomplished the main point of the assignment and provide further feedback on matters which have already been taught and reinforced.”
Paul Deiderich concluded from his own research on teacher commentary and student motivation that “noticing and praising whatever a student does well improves writing more than any kind or amount of correction of what he/she does badly, and that is especially important for the less able writers who need all the encouragement they can get.”
Some suggestions for commenting on student writing include:
- Focus comments on higher-order concerns—ideas, development, organization, focus.
- Limit comments on higher-order concerns to one, two, or three major changes you’d like to see.
- Avoid (or limit) marking grammatical and mechanical errors
- Engage in “minimal marking.”
- Identify patterns.
- Mark grammatical and mechanical errors in one paragraph only.
Adapted from: Jackson, R. (n.d.) Time-Saving Strategies for Evaluating Student Writing. Retrieved May 9, 2009, from Texas State University Resources for Teaching Web site: http://www.liberalarts.txstate.edu/faculty/resources-nominations/timesavingstrategies.html
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