Writing for a Real Audience

I know that teachers can use computers and scanners to score tests and print reports, but there must be additional ways to assess student work using the technology available to us. What other ways are teachers using technology to assess student work?

Here's one creative strategy some middle and high school English teachers are using. Teachers at different schools are teaming up to trade and critique student essays. The students submit their work as word processing documents and then the teacher emails selected files to a 'buddy' teacher who reads and critiques the essays. Students then have an opportunity to edit and revise their work based upon the outside response. Some teachers have even enlisted the aid of professional writers.

Teachers are reporting several benefits. First, students have an audience for their work that goes beyond the classroom walls. Second, students whose work has been read by someone off campus seem to be more willing to accept suggestions about how to revise their writing, and actually make changes. Third, teachers have an opportunity to review the work of students from another campus and to see how other adults react to their students' work.

It is probably not practical to send out every essay written for every assignment, but over a period of time, teachers can ensure that each student has at least one opportunity to have his/her work read by an outside reviewer.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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