Monday, March 22, 2010

Written feedback and Error Analysis

Naming written commentary as "a critical instructional opportunity for both teacher and student," Ferris offers convincing yet cautionary advice in her article, "Preparing Teachers to Respond to Student Writing". I intend to apply these three ideas to my teaching practice:

1. Consider how to use a "judicious mixture of teacher feedback (which can be oral, handwritten, or electronic) , peer review, and guided self-evaluation." (p. 167) While I have used all three practices, I'd like to be more intentional and explicit with students about the purposes of each.

2. Read the paper "from start to finish without marking anything." (p. 170) Yes, I may have to sit on my hands.

3. For English Language learners (as well as other struggling writers), identify, number and chart language errors (similar to a miscue analysis in evaluating reading), followed up with "error conferences" . (pp. 177, 191) Recently, I noticed that one of my ELL students omits the letter s from most plurals and verbs. I wonder what I could discover with more systematic analysis of student writing errors. Error analysis is routine in reading assessment. It makes sense to apply this practice to writing as well. I need to assess/diagnose student needs before addressing them.

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