I have been trying to apply a formative assessment approach in my writing class. Based on the learning gaps that my students demonstrated on their diagnostic writing, I developed a checklist for proficient writing. We went over the list in class. Then I used that checklist to assess their next writing. Sixteen hours later I am still going over their papers with about five papers to go. I’m assessing about 64 papers. Most teachers do not have 16 hours+ to develop to assessing two sets of papers. I am not happy over all of the time I’m spending and I wonder how much students will actually improve based on the feedback.
My guess is that the students will be shocked at their 2 out of 4 (4= above proficiency) rating. Probably I gave them too much detailed feedback to be effectively; research shows that 2-3 salient points are best. If I use a more general writing rubric then the rubric will only serve a summative purpose and not a formative one since the rubric will not offer help to the reader on how to improve specifically.
Teachers are caught in a delicate balance between wanting to give formative assessment and yet not wanting to spend hours and hours on an assessment. I’m searching for a middle road where the students get formative assessment on their writing that helps them to improve and where I do not spend my life in giving them formative feedback.