How to Correct Student Essays
How to Correct Student Essays
Essays are known to be the most widely used assessment of learning before
multiple-choice tests were invented. Students are expected to exhibit learning
by detailing answers to questions in prose.
Even today, in the presence of exam
types that are easier to check and grade, teachers still consider essay as one
of the most reliable assessments of student learning.
Essay as a Significant Academic Measurement
Essays have long been utilized to test studentsí knowledge of a subject. This
is because essays require students to exert effort and dig for deeper
understanding to produce a sound answer to a prompt. In contrast with
multiple-choice exams, students must make use of adequate set information to
answer questions rather than just recalling or associating them with given
choices. As support and proof are needed to justify answers, it also makes use
of studentsí schema. In addition, essays help teachers assess studentsí ability
to think critically.
Student Suffering from Writer's Block
As essays leave room for expression of views, it is a good
method to recognize the complexity of thought processes. Lastly, with writing a
skill expected from almost all educated persons, essays challenge students to
express their views in a grammatically and beautifully intertwined use of
Correcting Essays: Tips for Teachers
Evaluating students' writing is one of the most challenging tasks a language
teacher may face. Essays are helpful in challenging students to express views on
a given subject and should not be graded based on any general system. Other than
just purely assigning numbers or letters for grades, essays are supposedly
assessed with greater understanding that students differ in their efforts and
The following are the tips on how to correct student essays
- Read essays at least twice. When correcting essays, do not start grading
the first time you read. It is best to scan first to understand the ideas the
student wanted to convey. Upon getting the gist of the studentís work, it is
easier to assess which parts of your performance expectations were met. The
second time you read is the stage when you can start identifying communication
failure in the composition. Often, what we feel was expressed by the student
isnít exactly what they mean to tell us. As a result, correcting studentsí
writing after the first time you read may result in mistakes in understanding
what was meant, leading to improperly grading them afterward.
- Cover studentís name. Often times, we tend to be quite
considerate when correcting or grading essays based on a studentís attitude
in our classes. We canít deny the fact that some students create good
impressions and some donít. When grading tests that do not require us to
follow a specific list of right or wrong answers, we may be bias in
correcting. To avoid this, it is best to fold the upper part of the essays
to conceal the identity of the writers. Sometimes, teachers can even assign
a number to a specific student in place of a name on the paper. With this,
we can correct essays objectively and thus grade them fairly.
Make use of rubrics. Recent development in education has paved
way to grading designs for more subjective tests. In correcting student
essays, it is best to grade and correct according to a specific standard.
Because it separates and defines different performance levels expected from
student output, rubrics aid teachers in giving precise ratings.
dealing with linguistically advanced students, a standardized rubric like
those of SAT or TOEFL can be
utilized. It is best, however, that a teacher designs rubrics for specific class
or tasks. Remember that if the purpose of the essay is to describe, the focus of
corrections will be on descriptions. Modify your rubrics to fit every kind of
composition requirement with different expectations.
Use editing marks. When assessing essays, do not attempt to write
all your corrections and color your student paper with red marks. Studies
say that students do not generally learn when they are bombarded with what
they have done wrong. Additionally, marking every part of the essay takes
too much of a teacherís time. Avoid the temptation of proofreading your
studentsí essays for all types of errors.
At the beginning of a term in your
composition classes, it is advised that editing marks be introduced to
students. This will make students discover for themselves the kind of
mistakes committed and how to possibly correct them. Consequently, this can
foster peer editing.
- Take note of studentsí mistakes. Grading the papers after you
have corrected them isnít the last thing to do. A more conscientious teacher
takes note of studentsí most common mistakes. This list of things that
challenges students can be taken up in class the next day. By starting with
the errors, students will understand further why such mistake is committed.
Alternately, the teacher must provide explanations on why some constructions
are considered errors and what can students do to remedy them.
particular student commits the most mistakes at all times, the teacher
should make the student consult, or have an assistant to help developing
acceptable compositions. Keeping track of studentís mistakes can help
teachers identify who among the class members needed extra attention and
- Include an end note. For a more traditional teacher, this might
mean comments on the over-all writing performance of the student. For a more
responsive one, this means formative comments. When correcting studentsí
essays, give honest and constructive comments by focusing on what was
successfully applied or how much effort was visible in the composition. When
end notes are non-offensive to students, they will serve as guides for
achieving expectations. This gives them clear ideas on why a certain part is
considered less acceptable and how they can do better. Be sure that end
notes should serve as instruction not as a grading justification. To
motivate your students, emphasize on what was accomplished rather than what
was missed, and offer suggestions on how to improve their work.
what the students did right.
- Return assignments promptly. Marking and commenting on essays is
crucial, but teachers have to return studentsí essays promptly. When
students still have the enthusiasm on the result of tasks, they are eager to
know how they performed. Return studentsí work and be sure to review the
points most of them failed to follow. Provide examples that contrast both
acceptable and less acceptable alternatives. When students have their essays
on hand, it is easier for them to clarify the markings and the possible
As you go along, students can identify their own mistakes and will
find it easier to relate to the review of points. Consequently, they can
take notes next to your markings and thus have lesser chances of committing
the same mistake when doing the next task.
It is perhaps challenging to correct and grade essays on any course or
discipline. Assignments have different goals and expectations. Generally, no
matter how divergent a studentís response is to the prompt, it is still worth
some points, unless it is proven to have been plagiarized. Remember that
studentsí efforts deserve merits.
Quite different from other types of tests, essays demand the teacherís full
attention to make sure that they are graded based on a standard set. It also
requires teachers extra time to read, re-read, assess, and correct. Because this
type of evaluation has long been considered subjective, many would think that
grading might be based on how good a studentís image is to the teacher.
Since it is quite tempting to look at the names of the writers while reading
a very interesting or frustrating composition, teachers are to practice being
unbiased by concealing identities until after grading the papers. It is expected
that compositions are to be graded based on a rubric which include style, ideas,
organization and so on.
Writing grades do not end the teacherís role in developing studentsí ability
to write essays as they are expected to provide end notes, review points or
monitor studentsí progress individually. As a complex skill, writing an essay
requires schema from many other subjects learned, and a responsive teacher can
direct students on how to make use of these knowledge by expressing them in a
logically accepted form.
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