To assess students’ writing means to gather relevant information that are related to student learning. The writing assessment may be used with:
- formative purposes – to determine a student’s progress in learning by continuously providing feedback);
- summative purposes – to assess a student’s academic performance at the end of a course).
The writing assessment is not confined to just evaluating and scrutinizing a student’s final paper but also understanding and analyzing the depth of students’ knowledge of the elements in writing that are taught to them.
As Phil Race, an educational developer and writer, states in his article Using Feedback to Help Students to Learn that feedback is vital for the learning process but it has its pros and cons.
So, what are the best ways to use feedback in the writing assessment to improve students’ writing skills? Let us have a look at them.
1. Know What You Want Students to Be Able to Do and Why
Be open what expectations you set up for your students. The research Teacher–Student Relationship at University shows that regular communication between a teacher and students is an essential factor that positively influences the quality of learning and teaching in higher education. Make sure to spell out your goals for them as academic writers and why those goals are pertinent to their learning.
Students tend to become enthusiastic and put in their best efforts to write projects when they fully understand a project and its aims, practical knowledge they can gain through the process of completing it.
2. Let Students See their Progress in Learning
Whatever methods of assessment you choose, be sure to not keep them in the dark and enlighten them on precisely how they will be evaluated. An effective assessment starts with a proper description of learning goals for the task at hand.
The type of feedback you give to your students should depend on the learning goals you establish for them. Answer the questions:
- What do you want your students to accomplish while writing?
- Which methods will you use to evaluate a student’s written paper?
- How will these task accomplishments lead to the students’ development?
Feedback is supposed to show your students if the paper goals are achieved by them or not.
3. Ensure to Give Proper Feedback
Feedback is an integral part of the learning process because it allows students to better understand the subject. Besides, it allows them to boost their strengths and work on their weaknesses. The sooner you give them the correct direction of work at different stages, the better results they can achieve.
You should maintain a balance between positive and critical feedback to empower learners during the writing process. So, be careful with the words you use in feedback. Praise what is good and criticize exactly what is bad providing details as more as possible.
4. Do not Burden Your Students with Excess Feedback
As a teacher, you might find yourself instinctively making suggestions to your students. As hard as it might seem, you need to ignore those instincts. Excessive feedback can have a very negative impact on the student’s mentality. It often leaves students feeling abashed, intimidated and uncertain where to start in terms of revision.
So, instead of countless suggestions, try to focus on just a few major areas while looking at a draft. Offer students possibilities or various strategies for revisions.
5. Give Students a Free Reign
Play only the role of an advisor instead of an editor. Allow students to maintain a degree of control over their paper on their own. Simply offer suggestions or alternatives how a student can go through a revision path.
Additionally, students can also have various checklists for self-assessment by themselves. Some of these checklists include:
- MSDE Scoring Rule: Writing to Persuade
- MSDE Scoring Rubric: Writing for Personal Expression
- MSDE Scoring Rubric: Writing to Inform
Finally, if students are interested, they could consider seeking out term paper writing service that provide them with valuable and high-quality samples to meet the dissertation, thesis and other writing needs and requirements.