Teacher's Assessment of Writing in English Essay

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The most difficult aspect of being an English teacher, for me, is assessing my students’ writing. I can remember, so clearly, the day my cooperating teacher handed me a student’s writing and said, “Read this and give it a grade.” After reading it, I felt an overwhelming and uncomfortable power shadow over me. I didn’t know the rules of assessment. What was I supposed to be looking for anyway? I was able to realize immediately that there is a definite difference between knowing how to write an essay and knowing how to assess one.

When I was asked what I finally came up with as a grade, I told her the student earned a “B.” She agreed and I remember thinking to myself that maybe my task wasn’t as difficult as I had thought moments before.
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As teachers, we rely on our learned knowledge, our experience in the subject area and on rubrics to serve as our guides in this process. With the help of these guides, however, it is possible to assess writing fairly.

Some may ask, “Why do we have to assess writing at all? Since there is no correct or right answer, then what is the purpose of it?” These loaded questions are surrounded by much controversy among teachers. Our educational system has standards that exist for necessary reasons. The standards that are established for our students extend far beyond the classroom walls. Throughout our lives, they constantly guide us. For example, people have to live up to certain standards everyday in order to hold a career and be successful in that field. Furthermore, in sports, for instance, athletes are continually held to high standards in order to be the best at what they do. Assessment is everywhere.

There are standards in education, as well as in other aspects of life, that have a purpose for existing. We live in a competitive world all around. It is the students with the highest grades who are accepted into top-notch universities. Is this wrong or unfair? Likewise, it is the strongest and most consistent athletes that will move on to the professional arena. Although some may find this an unfair practice, we can not deny our students the fact that this is the process that makes our world go round.

Should the

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