Technology in the Classroom: How to Assess Writing

If you’re like most teachers, teaching the craft of writing is a task that goes across multiple educational platforms: A history teacher for instance, must instruct on how to write a five-paragraph essay, synonyms, plan-revise-edit-rewrite, persuasive essays, letter writing, and more.
With this in mind, today on, frequent contributing writer Jacqui Murray, who is a seasoned technology teacher based in Northern California, takes a look at how to use technology in the classroom to assess writing.
Jacqui begins by calling out what writing brings about, including:
  • Conduct research based on focused questions that demonstrate understanding of the subject.
  • Gather relevant information, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • Write routinely for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
She also notes what shouldn’t be assessed when grading writing, including:
  • Ability to catch typos: Even excellent typists make typos. Don\’t let keyboarding errors affect a writing grade. You may assess keyboarding as a separate skill, deducting from the final grade for each mistake, but don\’t blend that into the writing grade. 
  • Skill with technology: If a writing project requires a student to create a digital timeline, trifold, or poster, don\’t assess how well they blend colors, use tools, or mash up apps. That\’s a separate skill. You want to only assess how well they communicate ideas.
Jacqui sums up her article like this: “By mentally removing the detractors that obfuscate good writing and providing students with the tools they require to communicate in the manner best suited to them, writing assessment becomes more authentic, granular, dynamic, and personalized.”