Responding to Content

  1. When you read student papers, read as a reader, not an error-hunter: tell writers what you liked, what you learned, what more you'd like to know, what you wonder about, where you need more information, what confused you.
  2. Point out quickly what the writer has done well and ask them to generalize to other issues the paper faces:  can the student's strengths in one area help solve a problem elsewhere?
  3. Grade the learning, not solely the writing.  Research on regression in learning suggests that as students learn new composing practices or try on unfamiliar ways of thinking and communicating, surface mistakes like grammar and formatting errors tend to (re)appear.