Summary and Resources
We want to think of our students as evolving writers as they go from draft to revision or from one assignment to the next. Your comments are crucial to this development.
Although undergraduate writing frequently exhibits problems in grammar, syntax, word choice, and punctuation, your job is to respond to the substance of their writing rather than to mark all their mistakes. While it may be hard to read without an editor’s pen, you’ll make the most impact on your students as writers if you respond to their primary conceptual or rhetorical difficulties. This way, they can apply what they learn from you to other writing situations they encounter, both on and off campus.
Resources and Handouts for Responding to Student Writing
- Covel Tutorials Composition Lab and the Covel Tutorials ESL Tutoring Lab
- Academic Advancement Program (AAP) Tutorial Services
- It can take time to develop your own arsenal of responses to student writing. If you’re a new TA, you may feel that you don’t have the vocabulary for responding to your students’ writing. For examples and categories of comments, check out “Diagnostic Statements” for student writing on UCWrite.org.
- Revision, Proofreading, and Editing
Handout 1 - Stages of Revision
Additional reading for Responding to Student Writing
- Nancy Sommers, “Responding to Student Writing,” College Composition and Communication 33.2 (May 1982): 148-56.
- Nancy Sommers, "Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers," College Composition and Communication 31.4 (Dec. 1980): 378-88.
- Barbara Walvoord, “Responding to Problems in Style” and “Responding to Problems in Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling,” Helping Students Write Well: A Guide For Teachers in All Disciplines, 2nd ed., (New York: Modern Language Association of America) 1986.