Feedback on Student Writing

Resource Title:
Feedback on Student Writing

These links describe ways to construct and react to assignments based on student written work, including creation of questions, strategies for grading, and ways to respond effectively to student writing.

Responding to Student Writing (Sweetland Writing Center, University of Michigan)
Practical advice for grading student written work effectively and efficiently.

Responding to Student Writing - A Sample Commenting Protocol
Guidelines for how to write instructive, targeted comments on student work: how to focus your feedback, craft headnotes, and write efficient marginal comments.

Rubrics for Grading and Providing Feedback (Sweetland Writing Center, University of Michigan)
Includes examples of analytic, trait, holistic, numeric and grid rubrics.  

Heuristic for the Writer of Writing Assignments (Adapted from White, Edward M. Assigning, Responding, Evaluating: A Writing Teacher's Guide. 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1999)
Set of questions to guide instructors in creating effective writing assignments. This resource includes questions prompting instructors to think about task definition and sequencing, writing processes, audience, class schedule, and evaluation.

Writing for Learning, Not Just Demonstrating Learning (Elbow, 1994)
This resource describes how low-stakes writing assignments can be used to enhance student learning in higher education. Included are explanations of different contexts for writing, degrees of instructor response, and thoughts about grading writing in general.

Pedagogical Theory and Practice: Responding to Student Writing (Frus, 1999)
This resource brings together some of the best advice available about responding to student writing—whether you are teaching a writing intensive course at the introductory or advanced level, or simply assigning an essay or two over the term. It offers a compilation of methods that facilitate success in responding to student writing—in individual conferences, class discussions, and written comments on papers.

Sweetland Writing Center - Writing Guides
A collection of writing resources and handouts that may be printed and distributed for personal or classroom use, as long as copyright information remains intact and distribution is not-for-profit.

A Short Guide to College Writing for Students (Williams & McInerney, 1995, University of Chicago)
This guide is intended to help first and second year undergraduates write effective papers in the humanities and social sciences.  This site is particularly helpful for guiding students through the transition from high school writing to college writing.

Diagnosing and Responding to Student Writing (Gocsik, 2004)
This resource from the Dartmouth Writing Program provides instructors with a description and example of each of the four types of response (facilitative, directive, corrective and evaluative). Also includes remarks about margin comments vs. summary comments.

Student Learning Portfolios and E-portfolios

IDEA Paper #44: The Learning Portfolio: A Powerful Idea for Significant Learning (John Zubizarreta, 2008, IDEA Center)
This resource explores the foundations and definition of learning portfolios (including but not limited to electronic portfolios), explains how to create a portfolio assignment for your course, and offers suggestions for documenting evidence of learning using portfolios.

E-Portfolio Rubric (Vandervelde, 2008)
Sample rubric for assessing and providing feedback on students’ electronic portfolios.

Electronic Portfolios
Site authored by Dr. Helen Barrett, an expert in the field of electronic portfolios and student learning. More in-depth information, ideas and links on electronic portfolio development in both K-12 and Higher Education at


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