assessment

Minimal Marking

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Author: Richard H. Haswell

Summary: The author proposes a simple (and fast) system of marking editing errors on student work—checkmarks in the margin next to the line where an error has occurred. This system presupposes two important principles: 1) the teacher will spend time commenting on more important writing issues; and 2) the students will be given the opportunity to correct errors. The data in the article, although limited to the author’s own students, seems to demonstrate that students do successfully correct most errors and leads to mastery of “threshold errors,” or those for which the student is close to competence. For the teacher, this method allows relegating error marking to a minor role, while still providing effective teaching in editing. The article is useful in any context in which teaching of grammar and correctness is a block to moving onto other issues or in which fast, but effective, formative assessment is a need.
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What Student Writing Teaches Us

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Author: Mark Overmeyer

Summary: In this short video, Mark Overmeyer, co-director of the Denver Writing Project and author of the book What Student Writing Teaches Us poses the question, “If you read student writing closely enough, will the student’s writing teach you what the student needs to know?” A thoughtful overview of the value of watching and listening to young writers in the process of writing, this video could be useful in launching a conversation about the role of formative assessment in the development of student writing.
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Building LRNG Badges: Beyond Graphics

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Author: Paul Allison

Summary: This resource offers access to two in-depth discussions about LRNG playlists and corresponding online assignments/tasks leading to badges that youth receive for their career-based digital work. Teachers in the New York City Writing Project talk through the Badge Builder on LRNG in the first video. In the second, Paul Allison (NYCWP) and Chris Sloan (Wasatch Range WP) talk through the building of an entire set of guidelines and digital tasks based on two photography playlists. This rich task-oriented discussion considers students first and takes educators who want to build such a badging system through the process.
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Overview of the Common Core State Standards Initiatives for ELLs: A TESOL Issue Brief

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Summary: This issue brief, from the TESOL International Association, is an overview of the Common Core State Standards that also outlines some of the initiatives in place to address the needs of English learners (ELs) in relation to the Standards. Excerpts from this resource may be useful in study groups and professional development sessions focused on the needs of English learners, particularly within the contexts of assessment practices and content-area text complexity.
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Book Review: Rethinking Rubrics in Writing Assessment

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Author: Meg Petersen

Summary: This review describes the work of high school teacher and author Maja Wilson, whose book examines what assessment without rubrics looks like and where it may take us. The sample chapter, “My Troubles with Rubrics,” advises that instead of reviewing student papers based on prescribed categories, we should engage students as fellow thinkers in our respective fields and have them consider the different ways that others might respond to their work. For teachers who are rethinking rubric use or seeking differentiated or better practices for assessment, this would be a useful book for study.
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The Story of SCORE: The Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute Takes on a Statewide Reading Initiative

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Author: Lynette Herring-Harris and Cassandria Hansbrough

Summary: The SCORE monograph (Secondary Content Opening to Reading Excellence) from the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute offers an overview of programming for content area teachers as part of a statewide reading initiative. A useful resource for teacher leaders, the monograph includes a rich description of five days of workshops (p. 14-19) along with timelines (p. 24-25), and agendas (p.26-31) that structured and organized this work.
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Planning for Writing Instruction

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Author: Mark Overmeyer

Summary: In this brief tip from his book, When Writing Workshop Isn’t Working, Mark Overmeyer describes a process of collaborative backward planning that provides a scope and sequence for the year that meets district curriculum requirements, allows for the study of genres connected to various disciplines and units (e.g., research, narrative, memoir, and technical writing), and culminates in a student-generated magazine that draws from strategies learned throughout the year. This would be a useful resource for school-based planning teams as well as for professional development focused on writing workshop and cross-curricular planning and assessment.
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Democracy, Struggle, and the Praxis of Assessment

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Author: Tony Scott & Lil Brannon

Summary: Invited to assist in restructuring the assessment practices of a college first-year writing program, Tony Scott and Lil Brannon examine the structure and ideology of the existing assessment system, exploring how it serves to preserve the status quo by providing seemingly objective proof of the effectiveness of the prevailing formalist model of instruction. Their qualitative research examines the relationship between assessment, valuation, and the economics of first-year writing and considers how assessment practices can become reductive within set power structures and lead to normative practices that limit expectations for student writers. In the process, they expose how the existing assessment model obscures the wide variety of ways in which student writing is understood and valued by faculty and instructors.
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Teaching Writing in the Digital Age

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Author: Joel Malley

Summary: In this brief video showing myriad facets of digital writing, teacher Joel Malley documents the ways in which his classroom provides opportunities for students’ deep learning and significant growth as writers. He shares his students’ immersion in content, and their collaboration, response and publishing through social media, video production, and digital storytelling. Workshop leaders might use this as an introductory invitation to generate discussion or perhaps as a model for teachers to create similar videos to document how digital writing looks in their classrooms and why it matters.
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Reflecting on the Benefits of Badging: A Collection

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Author: Deanna Mascle

Summary: In this collection of blog posts, teacher Deanna Mascle shares her reflections on the benefits of three ways of using badges with her students: for assessment, for student-to-student peer response, and for recognition of their work. These blog posts capture her reflections and offer links, guiding documents, and additional resources for teachers interested in considering the possible uses of badges in their classrooms.
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