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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Entry #6

The reading I did this week focused on assessing and responding to writing.  I was very glad to read about this topic, because assessing student writing is not one of my strong suits.  In my experiences student teaching, I have graded various writing assignments.  It is a process that I feel uneasy with, because unlike a test it is never right or wrong.  However there are some strategies that I have used to help me grade student papers.  I have utilized rubrics and found that they are very helpful when grading writing.  I want to make it clear though, that if you are going to grade writing with a rubric, you must give a copy to the student when you introduce their writing assignment.  It will help the students to see what is expected, and the meet those expectations.  I have also used the technique of holistic scoring in the past.  I found both to be helpful and help to make sure that my assessment is fair and valid.

Tompkins (2012) offers many more strategies in Chapter 4 of Teaching Writing: Balancing Process and Product.  Tompkins stresses that "the most effective assessment combines process and product measures to evaluate students' growth as writers and the quality of their compositions" (p.89).  I will remember her advice and use both process and product of writing assessments in my classroom.  Some of the strategies that I found helpful and will try out in the future were anecdotal notes, checklists, assessment conferences, and primary trait scoring.

I found Sommers (1982) article on responding to student writing both shocking and very true.  I thought of all the times I have received feedback on my papers, and most of the time I received the vary ambiguous comments they spoke about in the article.  This happened mainly in elementary and high school.  Now that I am in college, I have had experiences on both ends of the spectrum.  I have experienced times when my professors have given me specific and helpful feedback, and other times when I have received just a number on the top of the page.  I also thought of the times that I provided feedback on students papers and was ashamed to realize that I am one of the teachers who have used "comments [that] are not text-specific and could be interchanged, rubber-stamped, from text to text"(152).  Now that I have read this article, realized my faults, and learned strategies on how to effectively assess student writing I can go forward and improve my teaching.

References

Tompkins, G.E. (2012). Teaching writing: Balancing process and product (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

Sommers, N. (1982). Responding to student writing. College Composition and Communication, 33(2), 148-156.

1 comment:

  1. Lindsey, allow yourself some space to further explore and question yourself. For example, you say: I will remember her advice and use both process and product of writing assessments in my classroom. Some of the strategies that I found helpful and will try out in the future were anecdotal notes, checklists, assessment conferences, and primary trait scoring.

    Why are these important? Do you think you know all you need to know to be successful with each of these assessment devices/criteria? Think through in detail how you will use one or more of these to aid you and your students' writing workshop.

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