Introduction Getting Ready
Learning Circles Teachers' Guide
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Evaluating Student Work

In the Information Age one of the tools that students will need will clear and direct ways of evaluating information. What are the dimensions of good writing and how does one recognize it? The task of evaluating writing can help students generate their own rubrics or benchmarks of good writing. Often students come away with a much clearer sense of how to write after their involvement in editorial meetings. This process helps students evolve a vocabulary for evaluating writing. The standards they set for others become guidelines for their own future writing. This process is a very effective way to help students understand what defines good and poor writing.

Editorial Board Meetings

The Editorial board can meet as a whole class, but it is better to meet in groups of about 5-8 students. If you have a large number of articles, divide them so that each group is reviewing about 3-6 articles. If you have a smaller number, then have duplicate copies and have more then one group review each article.

Divide the class into small groups and give each group 3-6 articles to review. Students should have some time to look over the articles as a group. If there are small number of articles or if they are short, you might want to have one student read an article aloud. If they are longer articles, then have each student read one of the articles making sure that all have been read.

The person(s) who reads the articles either silently or to the whole group offers an evaluation of the article with a recommendation to accept or reject it. If the evaluation is negative, the student must describe how the article could be modified to make it acceptable. An immediate vote of the Editorial Board is taken. If the majority of the group agrees, the evaluation is accepted and the article is placed in the appropriate folder (accept, accept with revisions, or reject). If there is no agreement, students discuss the reasons for their evaluations. A second vote is taken. If there is still disagreement, the article is placed in a special folder and my be reconsidered if more articles are needed for the section. The authors' names should be withheld during this evaluation process.

Peer Review Feedback

If there is time in the Learning Circle, the students should give writers at other schools advice on how they can improve their articles after the review process. This takes some time as student need to learn how to express their comments in ways that will help distant writers.

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Copyright © 1997, 2002, Margaret Riel