This tool is a writing / assessment rubric, a hands-on guide that channels and directs each student’s writing efforts on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. From planning sheet to conclusion, it provides a meaningful and pragmatic checklist for students as they attempt to formulate and record appropriate and logical responses to the individual prompts. The guide lists essential items that a complete, well-written paragraph must contain. If this guide is followed during that initial writing process, its role and value during subsequent use in the assessment process is all the more pragmatic. Students can actually and objectively predetermine their own scores. The only items remaining in question will be the subjective quality and innate substance of the content, not its structure or presence.
The use of the guide / assessment rubric makes the peer editing strategy infinitely viable as an assessment methodology, serving three essential functions. As iron sharpens iron, students will be able to aid in fine-tuning the relative skills one of another.
The second essential function is seen in the satisfying of the requisite for immediate and accurate feedback to the students. This feedback becomes realistic and predictable. The offering of timely feedback is essential to the learning process itself.
The third essential function is this: the extraordinary burden of a single teacher having to painstakingly scrutinize and evaluate each student’s production will be alleviated, if not eliminated altogether. This tool affords the teacher the opportunity to utilize the hands and eyes of the resident class, without relying on their judgment or current level of personal skill. Being able to accurately assess at a glance leaves the teacher relatively unencumbered.