Online essay editing service

Portfolio assessment allows students to use their ex- panding knowledge of writing to revise all of their writing throughout the semester. The student writer chooses selections from a revised body of work — the result of many writing confer- ences and much revision — to online essay editing service present for final evaluation and a course grade. Yes, ultimately, the writing must be evaluated, but the final grade rep- resents a body of work written over the course of a semester rather than online essay editing service a compilation of individual, terminal grades that each assignment earned, including those written early in the semester when the writer had little experience or knowledge. I have found, however, that once we begin the conferencing, reflective writing, and revision pattern, the ques- tion of grades rarely comes up. The course becomes about writ- ing and writers, and the notion of grades seems unnatural. So what happens when the day of reckoning comes and the course grade must become the subject of our conference? The student and I negotiate the grade for the course during an exit conference.

The reflective writing for this final portfolio consists of a cover letter and a self-evaluation sheet, which lists the criteria for the course. The student writer measures his work against the criteria for the course, which has been a continual source of discussion throughout the semester, and, in the cover letter, explains why, based on evidence in the portfolio, he has earned a particular 277 -251 - TEACHER RESPONSE AND ASSESSMENT grade.

Since the grade is based on hard evidence, portfolio grade disagreements are rare. I have encountered only two out of ninety-one basic writing students with whom I could not amica- bly reach a consensus. When that happens, I assign a grade that I feel reflects the standards of the course and the university. As each semester passes, I am more convinced by the positive atmosphere of my classroom and the success of my basic student writers that the writing conference is pedagogy at its best be- cause it is pedagogy at its least. Writing conferences are now the foundation of all my 100- and 200-level writing classes.

All writ- ers, regardless of experience, need to talk through their ideas and concerns to identify their purpose and direction. Talking about Writing: A Guide for Tutor and Teacher Conferences. Embracing Contraries: Explorations in Learning and Teaching. Urbana, online essay editing service IL: National Council of Teachers of English. Century is part of the state system and is the result of a state-mandated merger five years ago of Lakewood Community College and Northeast Metro Technical College. In my classes, I have had students from Brazil, Bosnia, France, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. Asian American students, especially Hmong, are a common sight in the halls, but they often exist in their own subgroup, not fully accepted into the white mainstream. Many of the students at Century are part-time students, and most work in addition to going to school. Our students range from working- to upper- middle-class in background, and several are first-generation col- lege students. From my perspective, the common feature of all these di- verse students is that they are in some way marginal in the col- lege world. Often the best-prepared students I see academically are the students who are still in high school and taking college classes at state expense through the Postsecondary Enrollment Options program. Although most of these students are from 280 - 254 - Building Relationships through Written Dialogue wealthy white suburbs and have strong educational backgrounds, they face at Century social demands for maturity and responsi- bility they may not be sure they can handle.

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Along with traditional-age high school graduates seeking technical education or affordable general education classes, we see working professionals seeking to improve their professional skills or pursuing a degree, single parents trying to improve their ability to take care of their children, and retirees looking for a new challenge or being pushed into school by their children. To reach this diverse group of students, I need to establish a conversation with each student and build on it throughout our time together. The specific practice I feel most confident about in my writing classes is the ongoing dialogue between me and each student, a dialogue that takes place in their cover letters for their drafts and my responses. My best teaching occurs in this dia- logue, and through it I build stronger relationships with my stu- dents. Jennifer agreed to help me with this project by writing about her experiences.

We traded questions and an- swers and even wrote a draft of this article entirely as a dialogue. These cover letters (which I used to call reflective memos, as many teach- ers still do) are informal notes to the reader explaining what the writer thinks about the draft.

When students compile their final port- folios, they are accompanied by cover letters in which the stu- dents evaluate their own work over the semester.

A frequent difficulty is getting the students to approach the cover letters seriously yet informally. I think it is pretty good, but I had some trouble with it. So I tell the students that cover letters are important and should be taken seriously. Although I seldom give firm length require- ments on papers, I sometimes do with cover letters to demon- strate that they must be thorough. So I strive to make clear, through my instructions and samples, that a good cover letter is thorough but informal. I encourage the students to be thoughtful, specific, and honest. Once students give me a draft, the cover letter is central to my reading and my response. I read the cover letter first and last, and online essay editing service my response is directed first to what the cover letter says. I try to answer all the questions raised by the cover letter along with any other concerns I might have. This approach is valuable for alleviating fears, but also for building a conversation and thus a relationship. With one hun- dred or more students a semester, I have limited ability even in conferences to make a strong personal connection with each stu- dent, especially when so many of these students are overworked and rarely on campus. In their cover letters, I get to hear about - 256 - Building Relationships through Written Dialogue the actual struggles of writing as they happen. In my responses, I can struggle alongside the student. I handle responses with one eye toward practicality and one eye toward building relationships that will help each student. My responses are typed for two reasons: I type 80 wpm and so am more efficient at the keyboard, and my students can actually read what I have to say. Typing also allows me to easily keep a copy of my comments so that I can quickly glance through a student s file with each new draft and be reminded of what we were working on in the past.

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