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OPTIONS IN WRITING ASSESSMENT AN EXPLORATION Introduction I would like to start by raising a few questions 1st What direction should assessment of writing take 2nd Should it assess samples of daily work such as a journal entries or portfolio writing 3rd Or is the notion of general assessment completely out of synchronization with the mega-trends in education where assessment and response to writing have become revolutionary I will attempt to answer these questions as a recommended solution to teachers problems on how to assess evaluate and mark students work Based on my experience as a teacher trainer I should say that the teaching and subsequent assessment of writing leave much to be desired Not much change has been undertaken in terms of approaches and classroom procedures Might this be due to the fact that some of us teach the way we were taught That some of us still cling to the age-old beliefs and practices in evaluating grading and teaching assessing and responding to student writing Let me cite some of the practices that most of us language teachers find difficult to do away with 1 Teacher gives exercises and model paragraphs and essays for students to imitate If this is all that a teacher does then she hampers or impedes creativity on the part of the students 2 Teacher lists a number of topics on the chalkboard then asks students to choose one and write about it This is done without so much as a preliminary activity to the actual writing exercise 3 Teacher prescribes the exact number of words and the time limit with which to finish a piece of writing For example all papers have to be handed in at the end of a 40 or 60-minute period inclusive of preliminaries such as instructions number of words number of paragraphs etc 4 Assessment evaluation and grading are imprecise unsystematic Teachers usually
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