Need help in writing an essay

This draft has some solid and interesting O ERiC 296 A Comprehensive Plan to Respond to Student Writing ideas, but it could benefit from some revision and editing in or- der to prepare it for presentation. This draft probably needs some polishing and editing. They are designed to let you know how much more revising each paper needs. The point of writing this letter is to help me better understand how I should read your portfolio. How would the reader learn that from the port- folio?

ERIC TEACHER RESPONSE AND ASSESSMENT How can you go about writing this letter? The entire portfolio receives a grade, so this letter is as important as any of the other three pieces you include in the port- folio. Remember that even in this letter, showing is more powerful than telling. Urbana, IL: National Coun- cil of Teachers of English.

Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. Some readers could see the statement (in bold type in the source) as a liberating voice placing the assessment process in the hands of students.

This accountability index is used to determine - 274 - 300 Why Use Portfolios? One Teachers Response whether a school is to be rewarded or sanctioned. Consequently, schools are expected to reach certain quantifiable goals during every biennial assessment cycle, which consists of scores from both years. If a school fails to improve, it can receive sanctions from the state. This kind of high-stakes, large-scale assessment places a great deal of pressure on teachers, students, and parents to perform during those assessment need help in writing an essay years. As if this is not pres- sure enough, many schools, including mine, have enacted poli- cies that require portfolio completion for graduation. My depart- ment has enacted a policy of practice portfolios for students, but the stakes are not nearly as high, especially for the school, so the pressure is not as high. So, yes, I can provide a sound rationale for using portfolios: I have to do it.

But even if my department decided that portfolios at the twelfth grade were enough,! For me, the answer is a simple one: portfolios facilitate student growth in writing more than any other practice I have used over the last twenty-four years of teaching English. This growth is fostered through students learning to self-assess their writing, which requires that they learn the higher-level, metacognitive skill of reflection. This portfolio self-assessment entails what Kathleen Yancey (1992) has described as a three- stage process: collection, reflection, and selection. Some teachers may best custom essay writers ask why students cannot learn the same self-assessment through the traditional practice of a teacher assigning a single writing project, encouraging development through the writing process (hopefully), and then collecting the assignment in order to evaluate it. Perhaps some student reflection and self-assess- ment are necessary when using this method as well, but the time frame is much shorter, usually just a few weeks for each writing assignment, before the class moves on to the next one. The port- folio process, at least in my classes, requires a yearlong time frame, which allows for student writers to grow and their writings to -275 - TEACHER RESPONSE AND ASSESSMENT develop.

These writings begin for my students in writing projects that last anywhere from a few weeks to an entire year, in some cases. A portfolio in my ninth-grade classes has the opportunity to grow over the entire academic year, the writing on any indi- vidual selection never truly being finished until the final portfo- lio is handed in at the end of the year.

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Instead of assessing a single piece of writing, say a poem or an essay, a student compiling a portfolio of her or his writing has the opportunity to reflect over multiple writing pieces in various forms to different audiences and for various purposes. The portfolio also works very well for the particular students I teach, most of whom are working class, will be the first in their families to attend college, and have rarely been encouraged to make connections between education and an improved life. In 1975, North Bullitt High School opened its doors to about 1,000 need help in writing an essay white students who moved across the Jefferson and Bullitt County line so they would not have to attend schools in Jefferson County outside of their white neighborhoods and not have to go to school with increasing num- bers of African American children. This cycle is hard to break, and I have had more luck helping students work individually from their notebooks toward finished pieces of writing than from mass-assigned topics. This makes the teaching of writing a difficult -276 - Why Use Portfolios? I keep reminding myself to present writing as positively as possible so that students can see how it can improve the quality of their lives in ways that may or not be connected with getting a good job down the road. So although the portfolio is required by need help in writing an essay the state for se- niors and by my school for the other grades, my approach allows me to reach my students and help them see the value of writing. Please bear in mind, however, that neither Yancey nor I differential equations coursework see this model as a linear process but as a recursive one, not unlike the writing process.

Collecting the Writing During the first week of school, I pass out brand-new manila folders to all of my students and ask them to leave the inside of both covers blank. They are free to decorate the outside anyway they wish as long as it is appropriate for an academic community and has their name written legibly on the top. The inside covers are reserved for two things: writing criteria and possible topics to cover during the year. By the end of the first week of school, students have papers in these folders, usually prewriting lists, clusters, wordpools, or observational sketches. These fold- ers are kept in a filing cabinet from which students can pull them as needed. At the end of each grading period (six weeks in our situation), students pull these folders and use their contents to construct a portfolio. Each six weeks the requirements for the portfolio get a little more demanding since students should have more writing from which to select and since their writing skills should be improving with practice. Students are given a list of - 277 - TEACHER RESPONSE AND ASSESSMENT requirements based on what we have been writing, studying, and practicing during our writing workshop (see the appendix). This approach does several things: ( 1 ) it allows students more time to develop quality writing, (2) it allows them to apply the criteria we have been learning as we read and write in different genres, and (3) it allows students to see their own level of achievement, and it reinforces the writing process. By the end of the first se- mester, students typically have collected 60-100 pages of writ- ing. Some of this writing undergoes substantial revision as students continue to work on favorite writings throughout the semester and the year, by the end ofwhich they often have accumulated 120-200 pages of writing in the working folder.

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