Alternatives to Grading Student Writing
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Evaluating a student's progress as a writer requires striking a delicate balance between the student's needs and the school's needs. This collection of essays offers several innovative options, concluding with ideas for formulating plans of action for introducing grading alternatives in classrooms, schools, and districts.
A collection of essays, assembled by the NCTE's Committee on Alternatives to Grading Student Writing.
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articulated clear goals; he set specific assignments with obvious criteria for evaluation; and if the students did the work, they got the reward. His grading scheme seemed a lot simpler and in some ways no more arbitrary and subjective than those devised by many of us more conventional elementary, secondary, and college writing O /I x Stephen Tchudi teachers. Now, I don't think I'll be having my students eat worms, though some might say that my assignments are just as unpleasant. But
JJ (20). Similarly, Robert Probst reminds us that transactional theory has helped teachers change their reading habits with regard to student texts. In classrooms where both teacher and students are engaged in the pursuit of meaning, response to student writing is just as impor tant as response to published literature. The teacher becomes the "manager of a small interpretive community" instead of the IIjudge and executioner" (70). Louise Wetherbee Phelps (1989) describes how teachers' re sponse
... " with Can Yau Be Black and Write and the story. This final paragraph tells the story about the family's encounter with the Jehovah's Witness and ends with an aphorism. The last sentence serves as commentary on the story about the Jehovah's Witness and on the writer's understanding of the Milton quote. If one follows typical composition text criteria, this paper would be generally graded somewhere between 3 and 1, especially because the writer's tone is informal, although the writing
faculty readers within a close residential community, it was reading, not writ ing, that was at the center of this student's experience abroad. In his book Writing and Sense of Self, Robert Brooke applies theo ries of identity formation and negotiation, borrowed from social psy chology, anthropology, and political theory, to his experiences in tradi tional writing courses and in writing workshop classes. He argues that learning to write depends on "the identification and exploration of
from their schooling. Though she pointed out that some of the common topics in these letters might be more the result of all the authors preparing to student teach soon, Jennifer also began to introduce concepts related to reading and writing communi ties, and she speculated with her class about the kinds of genre-shap ing talks the college writers might have had as a class before compos ing their letters. Overall, the middle schoolers were eager to write back to both their elementary and