There has been a lot of talk around assessing children’s writing for a long time now.
Anxiety has been caused as a result of what constitutes independent writing. People are talking about the merits and disadvantages of comparative judgement but I think we are missing the point here. My instinct is that, in all likelihood, we shouldn’t be marking individual writing at all. We should be assessing the development of the writer over time. I trialled this in my class last year.
To ensure children could produce writing topics independently, over the course of the year, I taught the children the following self-regulatory strategies:
- How to generate ideas for writing independently,
- How to plan independently,
- Once they had written a draft, how to revise their pieces independently (including looking for opportunities to insert certain linguistic features required by the writing framework – if they saw an appropriate opportunity to do so).
- How to proof-read and edit their work.
- How to publish their work, focusing on their handwriting.
By teaching these things, when children had finished working on their class-writing project for the day, they were given opportunity to undertake personal projects. This was writing undertaken largely independently (apart from pupil-conferences) using the self-regulating strategies taught above.
Continue reading “The Writing Framework: How It Is Possible To Assess Writers And Not Just The Writing.”
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Why Written Feedback Might Not Be As Effective As Verbal Conferencing
“Traditionally, the teaching of writing has been a thankless task. For the writing teacher, it has meant long, long hours of marking and commenting on student compositions, with little reason for confidence that this effort would have any positive effect.” – Bereiter & Scardmalia
As Frank Smith (1982, p.203) states: writing is not learned in steps. There is no ladder of separate and incremental skills that if written down for a child they will automatically apply and so ascend. Writing develops as an individual develops, in many directions, continually, usually inconspicuously, but occasionally in dramatic and unforeseeable spurts. And like individual human development, writing requires nourishment and encouragement rather than a rushed scribbled jointing on a pupil’s writing piece.
Research (Fisher et al, 2010, Jean, Tree, & Clark, 2013, Oxford University – Education Endowment Fund, 2016 ) seems to indicate that swathes of ‘after-the-event’ written feedback is neither efficient nor effective. As Dylan Wiliam says, feedback like this is often the equivalent of telling an unsuccessful comedian that they need to be funnier. So how are teachers meant to provide meaningful and accountable feedback to their pupils despite the pressures of ‘after-the-event’ written feedback?
Continue reading “Meeting Children Where They Are: Using Pupil Conferencing.”