New Standards and Opportunities
Rethinking Good Writing in Schools
Keywords:assessment, prewriting, rubrics
New standards for writing provide the opportunity to rethink definitions of what writing is in schools. While traditional assessment methods align with many of the new standards and offer an important tool for gauging the success of some elements of writing, they often neglect other elements. In traditional assessment, the elements that are quantifiable become those that are valued. Teachers can promote consideration of other elements, those intangibles that change a text from an assignment to be completed into a powerful communicative act, by intervening in the prewriting or planning stage of the writing process. This article discusses one possible form of intervention in which the teacher has a conversation with a student that centers on the student’s investment of interest in her/his topic and helps the student plan a paper that will make a unique contribution and not just fulfill a task. By using a prewriting rubric to focus the conversation, the teacher is able to track student progress in understanding and enacting this important component of writing.
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