My college students are starting the research paper phase of the writing course. I have built in many checkpoints for the first few classes. They are to show me their thesis that they could select from a page and a half listing or make up their own. I helped about 25% complete or modify their thesis. Many selected the questions such as “Should the government provide child day care centers for working parents?” but they did not put in their position such as “The government should provide child day care centers for working parents”.
Next I asked them to complete a graphic organizer of what they think the possible supporting topics are and to show it to me. About 20% have put down topics that do not support the thesis but are a variation on the topic. In fact, they modify their thesis after re-examining their topics. One student has “Gays should be admitted into the military” but for his topics he has “distinguished military record”, “daily duties”, “friendships”, and “advancement”. He modifies his thesis to “Gays deserve equal treatment in the military”
The more times we build in checkpoints, the more we can diagnose and give formative feedback to our students.
How many checkpoints do you have in the unit you are presently teaching?