When I first started teaching middle grades in 2000, I was thrown into the world of standardized testing. As somebody who had just completed her certification and already taught composition at a university, I thought that continual feedback on student writing meant grading whatever students wrote.
Now I have my students hold on to their timed essays until they have written two or three pieces, which takes about a week or two during test prep. Although I confer with my students as needed while they are writing, I have them choose only their best piece to be graded. They do, however, submit the entire group of essays. Consequently, my students get to exercise their self-evaluative skills, exercise choice, and prevent their less-than-stellar written works from counting toward their grades.
Memorial Middle School
Cedar Grove, New Jersey
16 years of teaching
Alternatives to Grading Student Writing
Editor(s): Stephen Tchudi
This collection of essays offers several innovative options for introducing grading alternatives in classrooms, schools, and districts.
Creating Literacy-Rich Schools for Adolescents
Author(s): Gay Ivey, Douglas Fisher
Gay Ivey and Douglas Fisher urge teachers to incorporate rich literacy- based learning experiences into their classrooms, with the goal of helping students to learn and think across the curriculum.