Myths and Realties

When Not to Respond

Designing Writing Assignments

Commenting: Margins and End

Commenting on Drafts


Helping Students Learn Editing

Helping Students Learn to Fix Errors

Overview of Rhetorical Context

Discipline Specific Resources

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Authors & Contributors

Teaching Guide: Teaching In The Margins - Commenting On Student Writing

One of the most common complaints from teachers across campus is that student writing is so weak that reading and responding to papers becomes an overwhelming task. This resource is designed to make responding to student writing more feasible. The resource includes not only suggestions distilled from the best published advice on responding to student writing but also suggestions from CSU faculty who assign and comment on writing in classes of all sizes and in all disciplines. Moreover, it's a resource that you can contribute to by sharing your writing assignments, commenting strategies, rubrics, and advice. Please contact Kate Kiefer ( with any suggestion for or addition to this resource.

"Myths and Realities" addresses common misunderstandings about responding to student writing, so it's a good starting point for everyone. The next several sections give more general advice, so readers can browse through these sections in any order. The final section of the resource lists source materials by discipline; although there are typically dozens of articles in every discipline that consider writing and ways to integrate writing into disciplinary courses, relatively few take up issues of commenting on student work. The citations in these sections include at least some material about evaluating student writing. Despite the disciplinary labels, many of the listed articles give advice pertinent for any teacher integrating writing into any course.