For most faculty, the biggest concern with asking students to write is finding the time to respond well when students do write. Fortunately, research in Writing Studies suggests a number of ways to make grading easier and more effective. Here are a few resources to get you started:
- David Gooblar, “So Many Papers, So Little Time”
- John Bean, “Hierarchy of Commenting”
- Colin Monaghan, Better Writing Feedback
- Brad Hughes, Questioning Assumptions: What Makes for Effective Feedback on Students’ Writing?
If you want to dig even deeper, these articles examine how students respond to faculty feedback:
- Lisa Schreibersdorf, “Literary Discipline in the Margins: How Students Read Comments on Literature Papers”
While this focuses on a particular field, it offers a useful summary of research on students’ responses to faculty comments on papers. See pp. 501-503, especially.
- David S. Ackerman and Barbara L. Gross, “Instructor Feedback: How Much Do Students Really Want?”
Again, the study here focuses on a particular field (in this case Marketing), but the authors review the research on students’ attitudes toward faculty feedback.
- Lesa Stern and Amanda Solomon, “Effective faculty feedback: The road less traveled”
This piece reports on a study of how faculty actually comment on student papers, finding – not surprisingly – that we write more about technical matters than about substance, which, the authors suggest, “may prevent students from improving the quality of the larger issues in writing and refocus them on the smaller, albeit important, technical issues of writing.”
For a demonstration of one professor’s approach to responding to a student’s Science magazine commentary, watch this screencast: