Assessment in Writing Instruction


This is the first time I’m completely tapped out for things to write about, so my example might be a little lame. The learner I am thinking about reads well above grade level but struggles mightily with writing. The writing produced by the student reads like a movie script and is poorly punctuated. The student is excellent at reproducing writing in the genre he knows well–the dramatic movie or documentary script.

All!!! the student’s writing!!!! contains a lot of exclamation marks!! with no capitalization or punctuation and sometimes run-on sentences that go for entire paragraphs.

For creative writing, the student may benefit from working through ideas verbally with a partner taking notes (typed notes). For expository writing, the student would benefit greatly from help with planning and strategy development (learning guide 6.2), perhaps from graphic organizers to structure the thesis and supporting paragraphs. The student could also organize ideas on post-it-notes, so they can be moved around without needed to rewrite. This may facilitate information management (learning guide 6.2). Punctuation can be considered construct-irrelevant at this point. The writing is not about grammar mechanics, it is about either creative expression or organizing ideas. The learner would greatly benefit from examples of completed work. He is adept at mimicry, but struggles to convert verbal instruction into actual action.

I think the student could self-assess by asking him to read aloud his work after he writes it. I think hearing the story or report aloud might help him understand where the deficits are. As the student develops, he may benefit from peer review; however, peer review at the student’s current skill level would likely be more intimidating and frustrating that helpful. Participating in peer review should be a future goal (learning guide 9.1, 9.2, and 9.3).

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3 Responses to Assessment in Writing Instruction

  1. Joan Kester says:

    Great ideas! How might you also infuse assessment to inform the process?

  2. drfrannie says:

    Nice Julie and I assume your notes about “learning guides” is meant to be UDL guidelines? πŸ˜‰ I was most drawn to this comment in your reflection, “The writing is not about grammar mechanics, it is about either creative expression or organizing ideas.” You are so correct when you reflect on this statement as the primary goal and how so many of your suggestions would indeed apply to help scaffold this learner to success and understanding into their own process of improvement.

  3. Julie,
    I appreciate that you mentioned how emphasizing punctuation may be construct-irrelevant given the learning goal. This idea was something that really resonated with me when delving deeper into the UDL articles throughout these past few weeks. It is often too easy to get wrapped up in the minute details that are often unnecessary impediments to student achievement. I know this is definitely something I have become more aware of, and it looks like you have as well! Keeping the focus on the learning goal is what will foster true UDL values, as we can give any number of options for representation, action, and engagement, but if we lose sight of the goal then we veer from the UDL path. I also want to applaud you for your multiple examples of facilitating the writing process to better suit his needs. I am currently partial to post-it notes for organizing my thoughts as they are basically keeping me sane through my literature review writing process, so I particularly enjoyed this example πŸ™‚

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