- November 27, 2017 at 9:31 PM #41307
In a recent discussion with my co-teachers the question was raised on how to grade creative writing. Do you assign a subjective letter grade on how well you feel the student did? Do you assign a subjective letter grade on how much effort the student put into it? Do you count every mis-spelling and incorrect punctuation? What are some good guidelines?
I suggested using a rubric to guide students (and teachers) with the grading. I would be interested in seeing some rubrics for writing across the grades. What do you look for when you look over a student’s writings?
- December 2, 2017 at 8:20 PM #41392
We use the IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) program. With this curriculum, for each article, students first write a Key Word Outline followed by a rough draft (with specific requirements) and then comes the final draft. The result is fewer articles, but typically they are of a higher quality. With this approach misspellings are not much of an issue since they have been corrected in the rough draft. Note that I said not much of an issue because there are students who are less attentive to those details. 🙂 The requirements on the check list or rubric include things like one well-used -ly word (such as the squirrel merrily scampered), one high quality adjective (avoiding common adjectives like good food and using instead words like tasty or spicy or scrumptious food), one who-which (this enlarges the sentences to include more information), one “because” (this also amplifies the sentence), and one strong verb (not ran, but dashed or raced). Each of these requirements are per paragraph. As the year progresses more requirements are added. I’m not sure this quite addresses your question, but it is what I have to offer at the moment.
- December 5, 2017 at 12:30 PM #41444
Rubrics and checklists provide an effective writing guide for students and a grading tool for the teacher. Most times the students should be provided with a copy of the rubric or checklist before they complete the writing assignment. The rubric or checklist will support students in following the expectations and the grading criteria for the writing assignment. While we want students to use correct punctuation and spelling all the time, there are some writing assignments where the goal is to have the students concentrate on freely writing in to provide a specific amount of content. It is good to consider the goal of the writing assignment and create a rubric that reflects the goal.
The book Solving the Assessment Puzzle by Carolyn Coil and Dodie Merritt provides many examples of rubrics along with good guidelines to creating and and using rubrics.
- December 5, 2017 at 8:13 PM #41448
Thanks for these suggestions. I will have to check them out.
- December 6, 2017 at 12:06 PM #41452
In general, the major part of a creative writing score should be based on how well the student achieved the goal of the lesson. For example,
–did he write an engaging dialogue that reveals character?
–does his journal entry reveal the mind of the writer pondering over issues of life?
–does her writing from another’s point of view actually show the point a believable point of view of the chosen character?
A standard part of the score can be based upon mechanics–spelling, punctuation, standard word use. But if the grading is based on a first draft, most of it should be based upon the former.
I’ll include two fictional samples of students writing about a dream someone had. I wonder which of the two deserves a better score on a first draft? Imagine that these students are in grades 5-8.
Jonny had a dreem one nighte he dremed that he was fying. He landed in a tree a berd cam and sed kenyou fly with me jonny said show me how.
The birb said watch he soared and divd and landed on the water. So jonne did the same he lanched off uv the tree by jumpin and lo he cud fly! He spred his wings and he cud sor! The air crunts held him up with no iffort on his part. Nexed he tried the water he wusn’t shure how it’d work but he went down here goes! Sure enough when he landed he floated.
But he cunt take off from the water his skin soaked up and he stated to sink. Before he downed he woke up in a wet swet.
Jonny hopes he can fy again the end
Jack went to sleep one night. During the night he had a dream. It was a nightmare.
In Jack’s nightmare, he dreamed that he could fly (he just dreamed it; he couldn’t really fly). He imagined that he held out his arms and floated through the air. He flew really high. He flew so high that he flew beside an airplane! The pilot looked out the window of the plane and saw Jack! Then the pilot flew away and Jack flew lower in the sky.
Jack wondered how it was that he could fly. He could not figure it out. He hoped that he could still fly after he woke up.
Jack flew around some trees and over the roofs of some houses. He saw some horses and cows below him. He also saw some birds and tried to fly after them, but he couldn’t fly that fast.
Jack woke up and realized he had just had a dream that was a nightmare.
- December 9, 2017 at 7:47 PM #41603
I like what Jonas said about the goal of the lesson. I don’t teach creative writing, but I often assign essays in my social studies classes. I typically use a simple rubric based on the student’s understanding of the material as demonstrated by the essay. Here’s one such assignment I gave recently:
“Write an essay showing how the dynastic cycle, the role of nomads, and the Chinese sense of superiority have been demonstrated is several periods of Chinese history.”
This assignment had three major topics—the dynastic cycle, the role of nomads, and the Chinese sense of superiority. I rate the student’s treatment of each topic on a scale of 1–5 or 1–10. The sum of the three ratings is divided by 15 or 30 (the maximum possible rating) to determine the student’s grade. I’ll sometimes add a rating for mechanics and/or proper essay form.
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