Posts Tagged: scholarship

Posts Tagged ‘scholarship’

Mar 09 2011

Scholarship about Feedback

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Anson, Chris. “In Our Own Voices: Using Recorded Commentary to Respond to Student Writing.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning 69 (Spring 1997): 105-13.

Bass, Randy. “The Scholarship of Teaching: What’s the Problem?” Inventio 1.1 (February 1999). Web. 7 March 2011. <>.

Brookfield, Stephen D. and Stephen Preskill. Discussion as a way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005.

Edgington, Anthony. “Focus on the Now: Making Time for Reflection-in-Action during Teacher Response.” TETYC (May 2009): 380-91.

Hodges, Elizabeth. “Negotiating the Margins: Some Principles for Responding to Our Students’ Writing, Some Strategies for Helping Students Read Our Comments.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning 69 (Spring 1997): 77-89.

Nicol, David and Debra Macfarland-Dick. “Formative Assessment and Self-Regulated Learning: A Model and Seven Principles of Good Feedback Practice” Studies in Higher Education, 31.2 (2006): 199-218.

Sommers, Nancy, Carol Rutz, and Howard Tinberg. “Re-Visions: Rethinking Nancy Sommers’s ‘Responding to Student Writing,’ 1982.” College Composition and Communication 58. 2 (Dec. 2006): 246-66.

Mar 10 2010

Assessing and Responding to Student Writing

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Principles of Effective Writing Assessment

The National Council of Teachers of English and the Council of Writing Program Administrators advocate that “effective, meaningful, and responsible writing assessment” should:

  • Place priority on the improvement of teaching and learning,
  • Demonstrate that students communicate effectively,
  • Provide the foundation for data-driven, or evidence-based, decision making,
  • Be informed by current scholarship and research in assessment,
  • Recognize diversity in language,
  • Positively impact pedagogy and curriculum,
  • Use multiple measures and engage multiple perspectives to make decisions that improve teaching and learning,
  • Include appropriate input from and information and feedback for students,
  • Be based on continuous conversations with as many stakeholders as possible,
  • Encourage and expect teachers to be trusted, knowledgeable, and communicative, and
  • Articulate and communicate clearly its values and expectations to all stakeholders.

Excerpted from NCTE-WPA White Paper on Writing Assessment in Colleges and Universities

These principles apply to both program and classroom contexts. Further, NCTE and CWPA emphasize that assessment should be appropriate, fair, and valid. In other words, the assessment should fit the context and the decisions that its results will guide. It should be fair to all assessed groups, and if assessments impact individuals (i.e., impact a grade, a graduation requirement, etc.), the expectations and purposes should be clearly articulated in advance. Finally, the assessment instrument should measure what it purports to measure.

Formative Assessments

Formative assessments, as part of the learning process, help both students and faculty determine what adjustments need to be made to facilitate student achievement of learning goals and course objectives. Formative assessments are most effective when they involve students. Students can participate in formative assessment through:

  • Goal setting
  • Self and peer assessment
  • Student record keeping
  • Reflection

“Responding to writing does not begin when you start to read student essays; it starts much earlier, at the point when the assignment is made.”
(Edward M. White, Assigning, Responding, Evaluating, p. 126)

What formative assessment strategies do you use in ENG 110? At what points in the writing process do you offer formative assessment?

Summative Assessment

Summative assessments gauge, at a particular point in time, students’ learning in relation to course objectives. Our project grades, course grades, and program assessment all can function as forms of summative assessment.

“Teachers’ comments can take students’ attention away from their own purposes in writing a particular text and focus that attention on the teachers’ purposes in commenting.”

Nancy Sommers, “Responding to Student Writing,” p. 148

How well do your summative assessments correspond with the course objectives? What strategies do you use to keep summative feedback focused on a project’s learning goals? On a student’s learning goals? When summative assessments also can function as formative assessments (as with project grades given early- to mid-semester), how do you draw students’ attention to the ways your feedback can inform their future writing?

Formative and Summative Assessment – Balancing both in ENG 110

Writing classes should balance both formative and summative assessments, and formative assessments should occur early enough to allow adjustments to the learning process.

What strategies do you use to manage the paper load associated with facilitating both formative and summative assessment?

Consistency Across Sections/Instructors

To enhance our program assessment, it’s valuable for faculty to routinely discuss how they would score sample papers. These conversations and exercises help us increase consistency in our assessment across sections and instructors. They also give us an opportunity to discuss the learning outcomes associated with our shared ENG 110 course objectives and the General Studies goals that our course supports. Furthermore, these discussions often prompt us to share how we support students’ development towards meeting the learning outcomes in our individual sections of ENG 110.

To facilitate today’s conversation, you received a copy of an ENG 110 assignment (that includes an information literacy component), a sample paper, copies of the program’s direct assessment rubrics, and a scoring rubric. Please take a few minutes to read and score the paper.

What characteristics of the student paper informed your scoring? Where your scores similar to those of others scoring the same paper? Through discussion, were you able to come to consensus?

Oct 14 2009

Why Include Direct Instruction in the Writing Process?

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  • “The writing process is a complex matter; it varies for each writer, on each writing occasion. The differences in individual learning styles make writing a very different task for each writer. So it’s hard to generalize about teaching techniques that ‘improve’ the writing process. Probably the best we can do is to help students develop a repertoire of strategies to use in writing and to help them learn when and where the strategies work best for them.”

Josephine Koster Tarvers & Cindy Moore, “Intervening in the Writing Process,”

Teaching in Progress: Theories, Practices, and Scenarios, 3rd Edition, p. 99

  • “Applying rigid rules, studying grammar or composition topics, or reading works of literature does not improve student writing. How wonderful if good writing could be reduced to a recipe. Students would just put the necessary ingredients together and have a readable paper. Instruction in the process-oriented classroom is different…. The process approach recognizes that writing is a very personal activity in numerous respects, which means not only that there are many behaviors that are not universal but also that there is variation within the universals.”

James D. Williams, Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice, 3rd Edition, p. 101

  • “We know that the act of composing through writing is a complex process…. We cannot say that there is one composing process invariably successful for all writers, for all purposes. Rather, we know that composing processes vary both as the same writer attempts different kinds of discourse and as different writers attempt the same kind of discourse, and that such variations may be necessary to success in composing…. Learning to write requires writing. Students cannot be expected to master such complex processes if they only practice them two or three times in a school term, or without a teacher’s guidance.”

Patricia Bizzell, “Composing Processes: An Overview,”

The Allyn and Bacon Sourcebook for College Writing Teachers, pp. 123-124

Oct 08 2008

Resources for Teaching and Writing with Technology

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  • The brief Thomson Handbook by David Blakesley & Jeffrey L. Hoogeveen
    • Each tab in the handbook discusses technologies as new contexts for writing. The tabs introduce blogs, Web 2.0, podcasts, social networks, and other technology-based contexts for writing.
    • Technology Toolboxes introduce strategies for writing with technology. Sample topics include project planning, freewriting on the computer, revising on a computer, using the comment function in Microsoft Word, tracking changes to a document, and more.
    • Part 7, “Writing in Digital Spaces,” covers internet-based networking, designing media-rich projects, and understanding rhetorical contexts for writing.
  • Articles about Using Wikipedia for Academic Purposes:
    • Roy Rosenzweig’s “Can History be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past” in The Journal of American History (June 2006) is one of the few scholarly articles that evaluates Wikipedia’s authority within an academic discipline (in this case, history). Along with providing a comprehensive discussion of Wikipedia, this article could be a model for students’ own analyses of the site.
    • In “Dissecting the Web through Wikipedia” (American Libraries, August 2008) librarian Adam Bennington presents a basic structure for using a Wikipedia to teach information literacy. Much of the chatter about Wikipedia and information is happening within the Library and Information Studies discipline; very little information currently exists in the Rhetoric and Composition literature.
  • Computers in the Composition Classroom: A Critical Sourcebook (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008) provides a valuable overview of the promise and peril of integrating technology and the teaching of writing. You can request a free copy from Bedford/St. Martin’s.