How do you mark student paragraphs, stories, or essays... without it taking forever or end up pulling out your hair? Where do you begin with the comments to help your students develop as writers? The answer is getting students to engage and reflect on their own writing, prior to turning it in, and have them request directed feedback.
Put the onus on students, rather than on yourself. Have students request specific and targeted feedback. This makes the feedback so much more meaningful for them! This product includes one lesson handout on how to get students to understand and request specific feedback by re-engaging with their own writing. I give out the handout (one page) after the students finish their first writing assignment of the semester but *before* they turn in their work. They must reread what they have written and request specific feedback. In subsequent assignments, I have students fill in one for accompanying five worksheets/questionnaires (six pages) that have student think about their writing and respond critically to their own writing process and product.
You can still mark holistically, but in using these sheets, students engage with their writing by requesting specific feedback, which makes the return of their assignments so much more meaningful to them. You will likely be surprised how much easier their writing is to mark (when you have a reason for reading), and how much more seriously the students take your comments when they get them back, as they are in response to their own questions.
By adding this simple step to any writing assignment, I have found the quality of student-engagement increase dramatically. Students want to take ownership of their own learning, but they often just need to be shown how to do it. This makes that process easier.
To make your marking easier, and their understanding and self-evaluating easier, included her is a common six-point scale writing rubric. Students can keep a copy in their Writing Portfolios to turn to and reflect upon when they receive back their marked writing. (Some years I use writing portfolios with my classes, some years I do not. Regardless, I use these Writing Feedback Requests to students so that they can take a more active role in requesting feedback and so that it becomes a more integral part of their learning and growth as writers.)
Also included is an organizing Table of Contents for students to keep track of their writing portfolio and feel pride of ownership about what they have worked hard at creating.