Resources for responding to student writing

ICaP mentoring, Bradley Dilger, Purdue University

These materials support a talk I've given at Purdue in a few times. Feel free to use them as needed. Just cite it!

Remember responding to writing is not the same as grading writing. We often do both at the same time for students, but seldom grade in other contexts of read-and-response (giving someone feedback on a draft of a grant, writing a book review, etc). And assessment often includes a programmatic dimension (working with texts which represent an entire program, or are compared to program-level outcomes).

Materials I shared during the talk:

Selected how-tos

The web is full of how-to guides ranging from one-page documents like Hesse’s to much longer, comprehensive resources. Here are two from writing programs I trust:

Do a few Google searches and find some you like: try responding student writing, or feedback writing.

Maureen Daly Goggin’s excellent Guide to Teaching the Norton Field Guide to Writing has several relevant chapters. You can borrow a copy from the ICaP office:

Some scholarship:

Subscription access is required for some links below. Contact me for a PDF if you have trouble.

The journal Assessing Writing is very helpful, e.g. this special issue “Feedback in Writing: Issues and Challenges” (Volume 19, January 2014).

For many, Nancy Sommers wrote the book (or at least the article) on response. Try her “Responding to Student Writing” from CCC 33.2 (1982): 148–56, or “Re-Visions: Rethinking Nancy Sommers’s ‘Responding to Student Writing,’” from 2006, which includes a reflection from Sommers and short essays from several other scholars.

Another influential piece comes from Rich Haswell: “Minimal Marking,” College English 45 (1983): 600-4. In 2006, Haswell’s “The Complexities of Responding...” (in Across the Disciplines 3) offered a significant update.

Richard Straub is also well known for his work on response, especially his book Twelve Readers Reading: Responding to College Student Writing, a collaboration with Ronald Lunsford (Hampton, 1995). Straub wrote many other essays, including one about peer review directed to students, “Responding—Really Responding—to Other Students’ Writing,” which is anthologized in Downs & Wardle’s Writing about Writing.

For many more sources, try citation searches for these influential pieces, or see Rebecca Moore Howard’s bibliography (though note she combines grading and response).

Bradley Dilger's web stuff