By Stephen Tchudi
Comparing a student's development as a author calls for outstanding a fragile stability among the student's wishes and the school's wishes. This selection of essays bargains numerous leading edge innovations, concluding with rules for formulating plans of motion for introducing grading possible choices in study rooms, faculties, and districts.
A selection of essays, assembled via the NCTE's Committee on choices to Grading pupil Writing.
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When first asked to assess their efforts, most students act paralyzed. They must motivate themselves. They must also learn to trust others enough to take risks-to trust that revealing weaknesses (and claiming strengths) need not lead to pun ishment or censure from teachers or peers. Self-assessing means set ting one's own standards. It requires meeting the rising expectations one develops when exposed to the rapidly improving work of hard working peers. It also involves unlearning error-avoidance strategies and entails looking honestly at where one has not worked as hard as one might have.
Students know if they're stars or apples. Isn't that reward enough? Do we have 39 40 Lynn Holaday to publicly compare our students, make them heroes and failures in the most visible of ways? Grades promote destructive comparisons among students and do not motivate the vast majority of students to succeed. Students usually rated as A students have met a certain exter nally established standard or are perceived as being somehow "better" than B, C, and D students. I believe in standards. I think our standards are abysmally low.
Increasingly skillful at giving and getting effective response, writers trade folders with writing partners the rest of the time. From the start, writers guide my responses by including in their folders weekly notes describing the kinds of response they want from me, and by midterm, most are quite astute about what they need. I respond as requested and note every improvement I see. I comment on growing engagement and seriousness, congratulate the growing con trol of usage and mechanics that comes naturally when preventive/ corrective pressures subside, and compliment all whose participation has somehow improved.
Alternatives to Grading Student Writing by Stephen Tchudi