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

Print-Friendly Page Print Page
Authors & Contributors


Myth #1 - "Grading" papers means marking all the grammatical errors. Although some students can sometimes learn to identify their own grammatical errors when teachers exhaustively mark those errors, most students don't learn to edit through teacher marking. Moreover, fixing grammatical errors is often the least important element of what students need to learn to become better writers. Marking errors can be exhausting, and given the payback, it just isn't worth the time. Instead of marking all errors, experts in responding to student writing suggest these guidelines:

"But, but, but..."

"Preparing clean papers is a key element in helping students," you say. "I'm failing my students and they'll fail in the future if I don't help them fix the flaws in their writing."

Experts agree with you. But if you mark the errors, students still don't necessarily learn to fix them. Instead, help students understand the importance of careful editing and then put the burden for that work squarely on the student.