Evaluation Criteria

Two problems with evaluating writing (and arguably any form of communication)

1) Writing knowledge always begins as tacit knowledge
Research on writing instruction agrees that writing is a very tacit (via dictionary.com: understood without being openly expressed; implied) form of knowledge. One of the goals of this class is to make this implied form of knowledge more explicit. Actually, we evaluate our writing within the learning/working community we’re part of every time we ask ourselves some version of does this look/sound/seem right? We write, then reflect on how well our writing worked, and then go back to writing. Near the end of each project in this class, we’ll reflect on all we’ve done, and start shaping all we’ve done into some kind of product that can be evaluated as a ‘finished’ product. This reflection is key as it will assemble for us all the tacit knowledge we’ve used throughout the project in a more explicit form.

2) Writing knowledge is multiple
The other problem with writing instruction is that more and more classes are being taught in which new media, or the most emergent or recently developed modes and media, are taught, which means that students are expected to become proficient in (and teachers are expected to help them become proficient in) a dizzying array of writing media with a dizzying array of conventions.

The answer to these two problems I have come up with is that I will give you a flexible structure for discovering knowledge and learning writing media and then together, as a classroom-based learning community, we will articulate and shape the writing media we’re creating through both doing and reflection. This means that when I evaluate you, I will be evaluating you not only based on the my understanding of your work, but on our shared understanding of the goals of our collective work as a class, which you help shape as a student.

The other answer is that: you may challenge the way in which you are being evaluated in this class by suggesting new criteria. If, for example, you decide to work in a medium of writing that you feel is somehow not fairly covered by me looking at the process and product of your writing, then you can and should express that to myself and the rest of the class.

But, you may be asking yourself: by what actual criteria will I be graded? For that: we have to look at models of writing processes and products that I have developed from trends in research on writing instruction, which spell out the basic elements that seem to be present across most written media.

You will also be given more specific grading criteria for each project before it gets handed in.

NOTE: As this class is numerically graded (based on points), see the grading scale for the class for + and – designations. Awarding of points is always at the discretion of the instructor, but will always be justified via written feedback, and may be discussed with individual students at any time.

A
Process:

Writing demonstrates effective invention, arrangement, revision, and delivery strategies. Effective means that course materials, technologies, concepts, activities and any of these components used from outside the class are utilized in the most effective ways the writer is aware of. My access to this awareness is through self-reporting via cover letters as well as review of the various drafts/materials of your project (including the final draft).

Product:

Writing effectively utilizes available technologies, media, and modes, demonstrates awareness of both target and key secondary audience(s), demonstrates a clear purpose, meets all the requirements of the situation that gave rise to it, and demonstrates sustainability beyond the draft that is handed in. Effectively doing/demonstrating all these things means that course materials, technologies, concepts, activities and any of these components used from outside the class are utilized in the most effective ways the writer is aware of. My access to this awareness is through self-reporting via cover letters as well as review of the various drafts/materials of your project (including the final draft).

B
Process:

Writing mostly demonstrates effective invention, arrangement, revision, and delivery strategies.

Product:

Writing mostly effectively utilizes available technologies, media, and modes, demonstrates awareness of both target and key secondary audience(s), demonstrates a clear purpose, meets all the requirements of the situation that gave rise to it, and demonstrates sustainability beyond the draft that is handed in.

C
Process:

Writing sometimes demonstrates effective invention, arrangement, revision, and delivery strategies.

Product:

Writing sometimes effectively utilizes available technologies, media, and modes, demonstrates awareness of both target and key secondary audience(s), demonstrates a clear purpose, meets all the requirements of the situation that gave rise to it, and demonstrates sustainability beyond the draft that is handed in.

F

Process:

Writing doesn’t demonstrate effective invention, arrangement, revision, and delivery strategies.

Product:

Writing doesn’t effectively utilize available technologies, media, and modes, demonstrate awareness of both target and key secondary audience(s), demonstrate a clear purpose, meets all the requirements of the situation that gave rise to it, or demonstrates sustainability beyond the draft that is handed in.