Assessing Student Writing The Self-Revised Essay

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It is 6 am on a hot day in July and I’ve already showered and eaten breakfast.

I know that my classmates are all sleeping in and enjoying their summer break, but I don’t envy them; I’m excited to start my day interning with a local newspaper doing investigative journalism.

Funny enough, this is the same dichotomy that I face as a writing teacher: how do I stay accountable for helping my students improve, without “holding their hands” too much?

And how do I provide a learning environment that encourages student autonomy, equipping kids with the skills of self-monitoring and goal setting that are required for success in college and life in general?

They are intentional, logical steps towards helping students become more independent evaluators of their own skills, leading towards autonomy and confidence in their writing.

Assessing Student Writing The Self-Revised Essay

Now is a great time to introduce self-assessment to your students because there were previously few tools that helped facilitate or teach this skill. I consider reflection to be the qualitative, softer complement to self-assessment.You might use some prompts that are along these lines, adapted to the level and specifics of your class: It’s unrealistic when adults tell students that they will be “on their own” in the real world.Adults get help with everything from their taxes, to their parenting skills to their grocery shopping.This issue comes to bear when we discuss self-assessment.This can be a scary thing for the teacher who craves control, but it can also be the easy way out for the teacher who is looking to lower their workload.Today I’d like to share a few of the ways that teachers can get started with self-assessment.No, these don’t involve simply handing over the gradebook to students and kicking your feet up.I pretend that I’ve written the essay, speak using “I,” and explain the process of reviewing expectations, reviewing my work, coming to a conclusion, and planning next steps.Quantify and limit the scope of the self-assessment task.Ask students to grade themselves after you’ve already graded their essays and haven’t shown them the grades. If they’re not, you know you’ll have to provide some more direct instruction before jumping into the process.This leads to…Model reflection and self-assessment. Because teachers are constantly reflecting on the quality of our lessons and the understanding of our students, we can forget that this mental process is not always second nature for our students as it is for us.


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