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We celebrate teachers who have created their own websites about teaching writing:

Always Write
(Grades K-12)

Start to Learn

(Primary Grades)

Making Mathematicians

(Grades K-12)

Learning is Messy

(Grades 4-6)

Write in the Middle

(Grades 6-8)

Writing Process: Evaluating Writing
involving students in the evaluation of writing to decrease a teacher's paper load

If you're a teacher, you understand the dilemna of assigning lots of writing to your students. The more writing they do, the better off they'll be as future writers and scholars; however, the more writing they do, the more time you will spend grading their papers. It's hard to be a great writing teacher because you sacrifice a lot of weekends evaluating writing. It shouldn't have to be this way. Writing teachers deserve weekends too.

For the past decade, the Northern Nevada Writing Project has sponsored projects and workshops for teachers interested in finding ways to make the act of evaluating writing a critical piece of the classroom experience. Our goal with all these projects is to help teachers find alternatives to having to grade every paper every time writing is assigned.

We celebrate a lot of well-written books at these workshops we sponsor. For example, Carol Jago's book Papers, Papers, Papers: An English Teacher's Survival Guide opened our eyes to alternatives to grading every student paper. Jago discusses rubrics as well as peer-grading and editing, commenting on papers (instead of grading them), and helping students improve skills as they move from one paper assignment to the next.

Another book that we use and share in Northern Nevada is the NCTE publication (edited by Jeffrey N. Golub) More Ways to Handle the Paper Load: On Paper And Online. Quoted from the NCTE website: "This sequel to NCTE’s bestselling How to Handle the Paper Load offers new ways to respond to student writing that take into account both the increased pressures teachers face in the digital age and recent findings on peer groups and portfolios. With a major new section on the electronic resources that have added an ever-growing dimension to students’ and teachers’ writing lives, teachers will learn to manage the increasing paper load while at the same time involving students in their own learning."

On this page at WritingFix, we share evaluation resources we utilize during our projects and workshops. As teachers share additional resources and ideas with us on this topic, we will be posting them here.

Want to participate in this developing WritingFix page? If you have a favorite original lesson or tool for teaching your students to evaluate their writing that you would be willing to let us post here, we will send you one of the NNWP Print Publications in exchange for us being allowed to feature it. Contact us at webmaster@writingfix.com for details or to summarize a evaluation idea/tool that you'd be willing to send us.

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6-Trait Evaluation Resources
used in Northern Nevada:

Evaluation Resources from the NNWP's
and Secondary Writing Guides

In Nevada, four of the six traits are used to evaluate students writing on their state writing assessment: idea development, organization, voice, and conventions. Students in fifth, eighth, and eleventh grade take Nevada's writing test.

In 2006, the Northern Nevada Writing Project (sponsors of this website) published a resource for teachers who wanted to make trait language the language of their writing instruction. The Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Guide is distributed to all teachers in Northern Nevada who take one of the NNWP's trait-based inservice classes or workshops. Outside Northern Nevada, any teacher can purchase a copy of this 196-page guide through the NNWP's webpage, and proceeds from those sales go to build new free-to-use resources at WritingFix.

Below, you will find our state writing test's most current rubrics, which inspired the creation of the Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Publication. Many Nevada teachers teach students to use these rubrics to self-evaluate their own drafts of writing.

  • Idea Development Rubric Fifth and eighth grade students are given a score from 1 to 5 on how well they develop an idea based on a writing prompt.
  • Organization Rubric Fifth and eighth grade students are given a score from 1 to 5 on how well they organize their thoughts.
  • Voice Rubric Fifth and eighth grade students are given a score from 1 to 5 for voice; notice the bullet that suggests word choice skills.
  • Conventions Rubric Fifth and eighth grade students are given a score from 1 to 5 for conventions; notice the bullet that suggests sentence fluency skills.
  • Holistic Writing Rubric Eleventh grade students' writing is assessed using this holistic rubric.

For more information about and resources for Nevada's Writing Test, be sure to check out our Nevada Writing Test homepage here at WritingFix.

In 1995 and 1998, Teacher Consultants from the Northern Nevada Writing Project worked together to create the NNWP's first two print guides for teachers: The Elementary Writing Guide and the Secondary Writing Guide. The Washoe County School District generously agreed to print thousands copies of these two resources to distribute among every elementary and scondary language arts teacher in Northern Nevada's largest county.

In 2000, the EWG underwent a revision, which aligned the guide's original content to Nevada's new academic standards. The same happened to the SWG in 2004.

In 2007, both guides were printed for the last time. The rising price of paper inspired the NNWP to began posting both guides' contents on-line here at WritingFix.

Throughout 2009, we will be posting all the evaluation resources from both guides here in this space. Check back with us soon.

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Please, share the resources you find on these pages freely with fellow educators, but please leave any page citations on handouts intact, and please give authorship credit to the cited teachers who created these wonderful lessons and resources. Thanks in advance for honoring other educators' intellectual property.

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