Sunday, May 19, 2013


Writing essay after essay seems to me to be counter-productive. When I compare student’s essays number one and number five, I see differences. But when I compare student’s essay number five and number ten, there doesn’t seem to be much improvement.  In fact sometimes there is less effort in essay ten than essay five. I have found that most students who do lots of essays will not put out maximum effort on each essay so you will not get an accurate assessment of their writing skills. It creates unnecessary worry that the student is getting worse. And how much time do you spend reading these sometimes painful essays?  How much angst do you have when you feel you are not getting anywhere with them when in fact they may just be tired or bored with writing?  This is not to say that you do not write a whole lot in class, writing makes better writers, simple as that, but it does mean that the writing will be in manageable pieces and therefore much easier to assess. Writing can be peer-reviewed in class so that students get immediate feedback on good writing (and who doesn’t want kudos from their classmates?) Good writing skills lead to good essays. Writing lots of essays is not necessary to get better scores. It has been my experience that excessive essay writing makes kids dislike writing and not give their best efforts so you end up reading the essays that are not reflective of a student’s writing skills.

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