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Student Writing Problems-- Faculty Challenges & Solutions
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Student Writing Problems-- Faculty Challenges & Solutions



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  • 1. Student Writing Problems--Faculty Challenges & Solutions
  • 2. Student Problem (1)• Students perform poorly on writing assignments Symptoms in Writing:• No development or depth of ideas• Lack clarity and continuity• Poor basic writing mechanics
  • 3. Assignment Challenge Checklist (1)• Do students understand the assignment, including the essay format (an analysis, proposal, comparison essay)? Have I explained what that format requires?• Do students understand disciplinary terms that I use in instructions (literature review, executive summary, case analysis)?• Have I indicated the subtopics or degree of specificity that I would like students to address?
  • 4. Assignment Challenge Checklist (1)• Have I explained the intended audience?• Have I stressed the importance of proofreading and spell check?• Have I provided resources and references for basic writing problems?• Can the students handle the readings I assigned to them?
  • 5. Solutions (1)• Make assignment • Create a discussion instructions explicit and board conversation clear, including the addressing and subtopics, degree of answering student specificity, and intended questions about larger audience assignment• Explain all disciplinary • Consider using drafts to terms and provide encourage revision examples
  • 6. Solutions (1)• Have students post their • Suggest or require E- thesis statements on the tutoring for students who discussion board and ask know they need writing for peer review with a help focus on argument and • Point students to online possibility of arguing it resources and style well under time/ length manuals, for example: constraints Purdue Owl• Record and post your instructions on an audio file so students can hear you explaining it
  • 7. Student Problem (2)• Students unresponsive to assignment Symptoms in Writing:• Don’t follow directions• Address only a portion of assignment• Off-topic or tangential responses• Seem disengaged or lacking interest
  • 8. Assignment Challenge (2)• Are my instructions clear and how do I know?• When appropriate, is there more than one choice offered?• When appropriate, do I allow students to use media?• Do I create a space online or face-to-face for students to ask questions or share ideas?• Do my instructions suggest a predetermined answer when I didn’t intend it?
  • 9. Solutions (2)• Align assignments with • Provide a choice of readings, activities and assignments, including learning outcomes for creative assignments, course such as interviews• Scaffold the assignment • Include options that use• Have a forum on media, such as posting blackboard to allow writing assignments students to ask onto blogs, video questions or for narration, including a discussion photo gallery
  • 10. Student Problem (3)• Plagiarism• Poor Use of Quotations Symptoms in Writing:• Students are cutting and pasting from the Internet• Quotations are improperly introduced, cited, and explained (dropped quotations)• Citations are wrong or inconsistent to an acceptable style
  • 11. Assignment Challenge Checklist (3)• Do my students know how to cite and quote correctly?• Does my assignment stress the importance of citations?• Is my assignment at an appropriate level for students who may have never written a research paper before?• Are my students focused on matters of content, rather than attribution?• Have I explained to my students why plagiarism is wrong?
  • 12. Assignment Challenge Checklist (3)• Have I reduced the odds of plagiarism through efficient design of the assignment?
  • 13. Solutions (3)• Require students to • Scaffold to break complete Low Stakes assignment down into Assignments on how to steps, with explanations introduce/interpret or that help students along the “Sandwich” quotes way• Make sure your • Encourage students to assignments have proper develop their voice through instructions for quoting and private reading journals or citing blogs• Encourage your students to • Make it clear that you want use a specific citing style to hear students’ voices• Provide examples related to • Refer students to CUNY’s issue plagiarism website and explain it’s importance
  • 14. Solutions (3)• Make an assignment • Use drafts to monitor topic specific; if it is too students’ progress broad, you are inviting • Make it clear that you plagiarism want to hear students’• Require students to voices incorporate something discussed in class discussion
  • 15. Student Problem (4)• Feedback Issues: Students don’t seem to improve from assignment to assignment Symptoms in Writing:• Students repeat mistakes and cannot identify error patterns• Students have consistent problems with the same assignment for a course you teach in successive semesters
  • 16. Assignment Challenge Checklist (4)• Have I provided any positive feedback or words of encouragement?• Have I provided clear grading criteria or rubrics for the assignment?
  • 17. Solutions (4)• Clearly explain the • Scaffold successive comments you give drafts for a formal students. What can paper they specifically do to • Give students a write better? What is a reflective assignment consistent error they assessing their can fix? progression. Consider• Ask students to peer using blogs for this review each other’s purpose work using a rubric you supply
  • 18. Solutions (4)• Provide non-graded • Integrate E-portfolio into comments through your writing assignments assignments that are so students can a) see posted on Blackboard. their writing evolve over Digital feedback provides time (the semester and students with time for their academic careers) deeper reflection and b) put extra effort into their assignments as they will want to show their pages to classmates/family/friends /employers
  • 19. Solutions (4)• Give students • Have students write a encouragement before cover letter in which they you critique them. Be can give a ‘soft critique’ careful not to destroy on their own work, their confidence focusing on strengths and• Use familiarity when weaknesses making comments • Provide and refer to• Recognize students for comprehensive rubrics improving upon previous and grading criteria assignments. Encourage them not to start from scratch for each draft