Teachers for a New Era Faculty Writing Seminars From Assignment to Assessment: Prompting Students to Write Well Jane E. Evans, Languages and Linguistics Alberto Esquinca, Kerrie Kephart, Education September 20, 2007 University Suite, Union East 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Features of an Effective Assignment Prompt Task and Purpose –explain what you want students to do in the paper, and why. Writer’s role –to inform? persuade? critique? incite? Audience – who should be addressed? Process– what procedures should be followed? when are the due dates? Format –specify page length, margins, spacing, etc. Criteria–provide a rubric with your grading criteria. See: http://www.unm.edu/~wac/CurriculumResources/GradingRubric.pdf.
Discussion • For advanced courses, #1 might be appropriate. Short, to the point. • #1 not enough guidance; #2 may be overly prescriptive (for grad students) • #2 is more structured; easier to hold students accountable; it models what should be included • More information is better than less; #1 gives the impression that instructor is not engaged. • #2 provides a good checklist for students who haven’t written in a while.
Depends also on when the prompt appears in the sequence of assignments – later on, maybe less info necessary • #1 could be better if it at least referred to some things already covered in class • #1 could cause confusion • #2 also has some terms that students might need to have defined – e.g., “transition sentences” • Depends on the discipline – presumably students have some background that helps them interpret #2 • Depends on how the prompt is delivered – is it discussed in class?
Evaluation Rubrics: What are they? Why use them? • A scoring tool • Tied to course goals or objectives • Linked to assignment purpose • Make grading more transparent and fair • Make scoring more reliable and faster • Make evaluation criteria explicit and available to students before paper is due
Features of a rubric • Uses a range to rate performance • Contains performance characteristics arranged in levels where each level indicates the degree to which a standard has been met • Includes a narrative description of the criteria
Rubric types Depending the purpose of assignment: Analytic versus holistic • Can the evaluation criteria be separated into independent factors? • Is there a pedagogically sound reason to separate each factor? General versus task specific • Is the assignment one of several similar ones to be completed throughout the semester? • Does each assignment assess different knowledge & skills?
Analytic vs. Holistic Rubrics • Analytic: focus on clarity of writing, spelling, grammar, formatting • Holistic: focus on persuasiveness, for example.
General vs. Task-Specific Rubrics • General: Same rubric is used for all oral presentations during the semester – the purpose is for students to develop oral language proficiency. • Specific: Task-specific rubrics assess different knowledge and skills
Create Your Own Rubric • Identify the type and purpose of the Rubric. • 2. Identify distinct criteria to be evaluated • 3. Determine your levels of assessment • 4. Describe each level for each of the criteria, clearly differentiating between them • 5. Involve learners in development and use of the rubric • 6. Pre-test and retest your rubric See: http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php
Supporting Students Throughout the Writing Process • Read the assignment prompt in class and allow students to ask questions to clarify • Break complex assignments into smaller parts, with sequenced due dates, e.g.: • Topic Area Statement • Library Assignment • Paper Prospectus • First Version of Paper (for Peer Review*) • Second Version of Paper (for Peer Review*) • Instructor-Student Conferences* • Paper Outlines • Final Version of Paper *Topics for a future seminar
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