Responding, Revising and Assessing Student Writings

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  • Responding to Student Writing
    • It’s interesting to consider the verbs we often use to describe what we teachers do with a batch of student papers. We have papers to “grade;” papers to “correct.” Seldom do we say that we have a batch of papers we need to “respond to.” And yet it’s through our responses that students can best learn and grow. That doesn’t always happen; if you’ve taught before, you’ve probably had the experience of giving back papers on which you’ve worked hard to provide responses and instructions, only to watch your students take the papers you’re returning and turn right to the grade, ignoring everything else you’ve written. In this module, we’ll identify strategies for responding to student writing so that students will first of all, read and understand your comments, and then be able to use those comments for learning and growth. We’ll look at different ways to respond to student writing, including through conferences and peer review, and we’ll even consider effective ways to respond to students’ use of grammar. At the end of this module, you’ll reflect on how you might apply your learning to your own teaching situation.
  • Teaching Revision
    • Verbs are interesting to consider when thinking of revision, too. In your classes, do (or will) you “require” revision? Will you “allow” revision? Will you “teach” revision? We might do all of these at some point, but the most challenging task – and the one that might be most valuable – is “teaching” revision. In this module, learners will identify what constitutes revision, particularly how revision differs from editing, and will examine strategies for teaching revision to their students. They will practice a variety of approaches to revision and reflect on how they might encourage revision in their classes.
  • Evaluating, Assessing and Grading Student Writing
    • A confession: I love to read what my students write; I love to try and help them make that writing better. I hate having to put a grade on their writing – and yet, I am required to do so. In this module, learners will identify strategies for evaluating and assessing student writing. They will examine the nature of rubrics, and how learning objectives connect to both assignments and assessments. They’ll identify the portfolio system of writing assessment and evaluate its benefits and challenges. They’ll reflect on their own feelings about grading student writing and identify a grading system they believe would be fair and workable in their classes.
  • Involving Students in Responding, Grading and Assessment
    • It’s been said that if you really want to know if you’ve learned something, teach it to someone else. In this module, learners will identify strategies for engaging students in practices most often reserved for only teachers, from having students engage in peer review to involving students in how an assignment might be assessed. They’ll identify ways that students, through reflection, can assess their own learning and identify areas of growth. They’ll reflect on their own learning throughout this course and create a plan for bringing aspects of that learning into their classrooms.

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