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The importance of giving feedback to students is paramount. It is quite another to understand how this decision was arrived at.
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You’ll get access to our members-only library of free downloads, including 20 Ways to Cut Your Grading Time in Half the e-booklet that has helped thousands of teachers save time on grading. I want them to grow as writers, and most of them do throughout the year, but so many only seem to care about that number. Not only did I feel like I had wasted my time, I felt like they just didn’t care. This meant that I could return papers with comments but without grades.And then the snowball of thoughts would start: How will they survive if they don’t care about feedback? And from this a whole new system was born: Return papers to students with only feedback.But teachers everywhere know how disheartening that small act can be. ) There are the eye rolls and the whispering to each other of “What did you get? I don’t grade everything they write, but when it comes to the “big essays”—the graded, polished drafts—what grade they will receive becomes the sole motivator for their writing.” and “She gave me a ___.” Next thing you know, the paper you spent so long reading and marking has been shoved into the abyss of the backpack or tossed carelessly in the recycle bin. I honestly got to a point where I would just wait so long to give things back, the kids would kind of forget, and then so would I. This frustrates me, and, in my opinion, distracts them from what they should actually care about: writing.These meetings don’t have to be more than a couple of minutes per student. Revision I always offer students the opportunity to rewrite their essay.Above all else, my goal is to help students become better writers.If this means they have to do it a couple of times, then so be it.Depending on the assignment, these are the usual requirements: Stick around.They had to read their own writing—after a few weeks away from it—and digest my comments, which allowed them to better recognize what they did well or not so well. I’ve never read what a teacher writes on my essay before, and now I have to.” 1.The response from students was extremely positive; they understood the benefit of rereading their essays and paying attention to feedback. Grade the Papers After collecting student papers, grade them (hard copy or electronic) as you usually would with comments on the written piece, but keep the rubric separate. Plan Independent Work Plan accordingly by creating opportunities for students to do independent or group work for a few days when it’s time to return papers to students.