Public Writing: In this chapter I expect to learn what public writing is and strategies to teach it.
Writing for Tests and Assessments: In this chapter I expect to learn some ways to effectively use writing in formal assessments.
These two chapters helped me to see ways to use writing and assess writing more effectively.
I particularly liked the chapter on assessments. This is an area where I still feel the need for more instruction and strategies. Rubrics were not used when I was in school or even at my undergraduate college. Now, I am seeing them used in the schools where I have done field experience and in my content area courses and my teacher training courses. It is a new way of working and being assessed and at first I didn’t like it. However, the more I get used to them the more I like them.
As a student, rubrics really push me to work at all the elements the teacher is looking for. In addition, the rubrics help me to know what is expected. The feedback is also more useful. I think teachers that use rubrics grade more fairly and also have a clearer idea of their own expectations. They also usually feel responsible to justify or explain the marks–especially the lower ones. So, the student gets more concrete responses to why the teacher graded the way she did. The feedback also provides information on how to improve. In my content area courses through BYU, students even have the option to rework and resubmit the assignments. I actually get lower marks when teachers use rubrics, but I think I learn more. When there is a chance to rework and resubmit, I not only learn more, but still get the grades I want. It is more work, but the teacher is assessing both strengths and weaknesses. When the teacher gives really direct feedback on weaknesses and suggestions to improve and the opportunity to rework the paper, I can think and work through those weaknesses and learn from the experience.
These courses at BYU are also working on the writing process on longer essays. I have had one professor make having someone review the paper and provide feedback part of the assignment with its own evaluation. We need to turn in a marked copy of our rough darft where someone else had read it and made comments. Again, it’s more work, but I learned more and worked through a little fear of people reading my work.
I think that these new styles of teaching and learning will really help all students to improve. I often would get high scores on writing, but not really know why and not really feel challenged by an assignments. I would feel stressed having a paper to do not really knowing what the teacher wanted then relieved the score was good and that was it. Now with rubrics and drafts and revisions. I feel challenged I know what the professor wants and try to do it. When it falls short I know why. When I have a chance to rubric and resubmit a better copy I do it. Further challenging myself and getting the experience of day it right. I learn more and it’s more satisfying. I also feel like the teachers are really helping me more because the feedback means something to me now. It is a way i can improve this time not next time.