Before reading Tompkins (2012), I struggled with finding a balance when it came to assessing my students' work. For being a new teacher, I feel as though I am still learning the best ways to complete certain tasks as a teacher. One task I have been struggling with is what is the best way to assess my students' writing pieces. Throughout my student teaching places, I had two teachers who had completely different views on writing but they both had similar conventions that were used with their students. Both of my cooperating teachers taught their students to go through the writing process and steps, but the way they went about it was different from each other. One of my cooperating teachers thought it was best to model, use mini lessons and walk students through the process, while the other one just did mini lessons on different writing styles and genres and then had their students go through the writing process. I am not sure which one I believe was the best strategy. I would like to think that I use a little bit of both in my own classroom.
I do not feel as though I am struggling with how to teach my students how to write or how to guide them through the process of writing; what stumps me is how much to assess and how to assess a students writing. I am afraid of being too critical with my second graders writing abilities and stifling their writing passions. So I believe that I am still trying to find the balance of how to exactly assess my students work the correct way. I am still not sure there is a correct way to assess a writing piece. Do I correct all spelling and grammar mistakes? Do I work with them to revise their writing so they are learning their mistakes having to do with grammar and spelling? There are just so many questions that come to mind when thinking about assessing a student's writing. I know that certain writing pieces should be assess based upon a rubric to make sure they are meeting the standards and requirements for a particular writing style or assignment and that a teacher should not assess every piece of writing a student produces since students will be producing more writing than a teacher will have the time to look at. Also, I know that as a teacher, we should be constantly observing and performing informal assessments on our students to gage their understanding of a certain topic or concept which then helps to guide our instruction.
So after reading Tompkins (2012) about assessing writing, I have gained a little more clarity on the topic of assessing students' writing, but I still see to have a lot of questions. I believe that if I follow Tompkins (2012) suggestions on how to assess students' writing then I will be on the right track and better able to guide my students in learning how to become better writers. After reading Tompkins (2012) I think I am going to try to implement more time to have assessment conferences with my students. This way I can be constantly monitoring my students' progress on certain writing pieces and see what strategies they may be struggling with and need some reinforcing with. Through these assessment conferences that I am going to implement with my students, I also think I will get a better sense of what type of writer each one of my students is and better able to support them in their writing while getting to know them on a more personal level by reading their writing.