77: Writing Assessments





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These are examples of activities that assess student writing in order to improve it before it appears before a public audience.  To see the difference between public writing pieces and write-to-learn pieces, go here.  To see an overview of all the steps that go into creating a piece of public writing go here or here.


Individual goal setting:
  • students write down 3-4 things they can most improve in their writing
  • go over goals in conferences and add 1-2 more goals that relate to student goals and/or work
  • store goals in writing folders
Marking papers:
  • don’t need to mark all errors
  • notice a common type of error and mark up a couple instances and ask student to find similar instances and correct them
  • communicates clear expectations for writing
  • can be used as a tool to identify strengths and gaps in writing pieces
Long-range reflection:
  • students compare writing pieces, reflect and write out how their writing is improving
  • can brainstorm next steps in writing growth
Using models: go there.


Using critique lessons: go here.


One Thing At a Time!
  • start small
  • go after writing skills and stages 1 at a time
  • support goals with helpful related writing activities



Writing assessment activities can help students become aware of goals and strategies that can improve their writing.  Integrating goal setting conversations into writing conferences can help teachers individualize student goals and related support.  Using efficient strategies (see above) to mark papers can save time and give students opportunities to practice recognizing and fixing their own errors.  Long range reflections can help students appreciate how their writing is evolving and use knowledge of that growth to set incremental writing goals.


Preparation Steps
  • Create a complete list of writing skills / stages needed to master key writing genres in the course.
  • Develop a yearlong sequence that includes times to incrementally learn strategies related to key phases of genre-specific writing.
  • Research and develop learning activities that connect to upcoming writing learning targets.  See above and Writing articles for ideas.
Early Implementation Steps
  • Incrementally facilitate activities in each project that gradually build up proficiency of students’ skills to demonstrate features of course-specific genre(s).
  • Have students maintain writing folders that contain writing artifacts gathered over time.
  • Have students periodically use writing folder samples to reflect on how their writing is progressing and to set upcoming writing goals.
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Use student feedback and observations to identify writing activities that students like and find effective.  Incorporate these into a repertoire of writing routines that scaffold writing in multiple projects.



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