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Informing Writing: The Benefits of Formative Assessment

Cover of the pdf downloadby Steve Graham, Karen Harris, and Michael Hebert

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Examines the effectiveness of formative writing assessment and identifies best practices in writing assessment. Recommendations include the following:

  1. Use Formative Writing Assessment To Enhance Students' Writing. Writing improves when teachers...
    • Provide feedback to improve student writing.
    • Teach students how to assess their own writing.
    • Monitor students' writing progress on an ongoing basis.
  2. Apply Best Practices For Assessing Writing In The Classroom
    • Allow students to use the mode of writing in which they are most proficient when completing a writing assessment —pencil/paper or word processing.
    • Minimize the extent to which handwriting legibility or computer printing bias judgments of writing quality.
    • Mask the writer's identify when scoring papers.
    • Randomly order students' papers before scoring them.
    • Collect multiple samples of students' writing.
    • Ensure that classroom writing assessments are reliably scored.

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