However, the method of assessment also can have a direct impact on the quality of student learning.
One of the sections deals with writing intensive courses across disciplines and how TAs can facilitate and evaluate writing assignments.
The information, advice, and resources in the manual speak to an audience beyond graduate student teaching assistants. Even seasoned instructors may struggle with teaching writing skills and evaluating written assignments.
Two mistakes that teachers may make are assuming that students in their courses know how to write a scholarly paper and not providing appropriate directions for assignments. These assumptions are likely to guarantee that the resulting student writing will disappoint.
However, the results of an best practices for grading writing assignments longitudinal study suggest otherwise. Lunsford and Karen J.
Lunsford, Mistakes Are a Fact of Life: A National Comparative Study. But they are not making more mistakes than did their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Good writing comes as a result of practice and it is the role of the instructor to facilitate that practice.
Students may arrive at university knowing how to compose a decent five-paragraph essay, but no one has taught them how to write a scholarly paper.
They must learn to read critically, summarize what they have read, identify an issue, problem, flaw, or new development that challenges what they have read.
They must then construct an argument, back it with evidence and understand what constitutes acceptable evidenceidentify and address counter-arguments, and reach a conclusion. Along the way they should learn how to locate appropriate source materials, assemble a bibliography, and properly cite their sources.
As an instructor, you must show them the way. Students will benefit from having the task of writing a term paper broken into smaller components or assignments. Have students start with researching a topic and creating a bibliography. Librarians are often available to come to your class to instruct students in the art of finding sources and citing them correctly.
Have them outline their argument. Ask for a draft. Considering using peer review for some of these steps to distribute the burden of commenting and grading. Their writing skills will not develop in a vacuum.
Your guidance is critical to their success. This starts with clear directions for each assignment. For an essay you will be writing a prompt that should specify the topic choices, genre, length, formal requirements whether outside sources should be used, your expectations on thesis and argument, etc.
Directions for research papers, fiction pieces, technical reports, and other writing assignments should include the elements that you expect to find in student submissions. Do not assume students know what to include or how to format their work.
As part of the direction you give, consider sharing with your students the rubric by which you will evaluate their work.
Not sure how to create a rubric? Tools for Creating Rubrics. Rubrics will save you time grading, ensure that your grading is equitable, and provide you with a tangible defense against students complaining about their grades.
Giving feedback on writing assignments can be time consuming so focus on what is most important. This means, for example, noting spelling and grammar errors but not fixing them. For a short assignment, writing a few comments in the margins and on the last page may be doable, but for a longer paper consider typing up your comments on a separate page.
Remember to start with something positive, then offer a constructive critique. As well, bring writing into your class in concrete ways.Student Writing Practice VocabularySpellingCity has two activities for students to practice writing using their word lists.
These activities help students simultaneously develop their vocabulary and writing .
Assignments need to be made worth grading. Grading should not be an afterthought; it should ^Effective grading practices begin when the teacher says to herself, By the end of the course, I want my students to be able to Concrete verbs such as define, argue, solve. Best Practices for Writing Multiple-Choice Questions OPAIR – verFallBest Practices - Writing Multiple-Choice Items Page 1 General: • Focus each question on important knowledge and/or skills (content and performance).
Best Practices for Assigning and Grading Writing. Here are the best practices for assigning and grading writing samples. Five Tips for Designing Writing Assignments that Work (for You & Your Students) Using Short, Informal Writing Assignments (OR Writing and Teaching Content). Teaching on the secondary level can be challenging with the number of students that we are required to teach each year.
Therefore, it is essential as a secondary teacher to develop strategies for more efficient grading practices and to rethink our roles as auditors rather than graders.
Best practices: Reporting. writing, speaking/listening, and language. In math, teachers consider strands associated with operations and algebraic thinking, number and operations, fractions, measurement and data, and geometry. Standards-based grading and reporting has much more to offer over the traditional scattershot approach.