My students always complain that writing assessment is so subjective. Honestly, I think that is just something they say as a justification when their writing doesn’t live up to their expectations, especially when they use it as an excuse to not truly commit themselves to their idea. Well, “writing is subjective. She scored me low because she didn’t like (insert common student cry about “me,” “my topic,” “my idea,” etc).”
However, it does say quite a bit about how insecure students are in their writing, which is entirely understandable. Writing is wholly independent, a by-product of one’s thinking. There aren’t right or wrong answers, like in Science. There is no set equation to the perfect product, like in Math. Writing is completely their own. While we might give them guidance and techniques, it boils down to being a reflection of them and their ability, which makes them vulnerable. It is natural for them to feel that writing is subjective.
Yet, it is our job to teach them that there are certain and specific standards for writing. There are techniques students can use to instantly lift their writing and signal compelling writing. These aren’t tricks; these are tried and true expectations of all scholarly writers, yet, are easily executed.
One of the clearest signals of a strong writer is how they incorporate and utilize quotations in their writing. We constantly remind our students that they need textual support in their writing, but are we doing enough to teach them how to use textual support in their writing? This week we will profile three techniques to help students add sophistication to their writing through the use of quotations. These techniques will amp up the style of their writing and increase the depth of their analysis of the quotations.
Photo from: Kathryn_0