Our students are best served in the long run when we move from global to local in our evaluation of their writing. This means that the majority of our commenting time and energy is best spent addressing not mechanics, but larger goals for studentsâ€™ growth as writers. To identify the major writing skills to emphasize in our comments, it helps to read each paper at least twice. After the first read, we are less distracted by isolated errors and can better identify both a studentâ€™s intent and the issues that are most significantly compromising that intent.
Consider some of the most common global issues student writers need to address. While this list is by no means comprehensive, the examples included illustrate an appropriate scope for our comments:
The ability to make a claim and to maintain focus on that claim
The ability to develop a claim logically and thoroughly
The use of evidence to support disputable statements
The ability to communicate a distinction between their own ideas and the summary of othersâ€™ ideas