A strategy to combat common writing errors ("gateway criteria")

If your students’ papers are filled with spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors, and you don’t wish to spend all of your marking time correcting these basic problems (particularly if you are not teaching English, and you have other content you wish to emphasize in your marking), here’s a strategy from Barbara Walvoord and Virginia Anderson’s Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment. They suggest setting “gateway criteria” for your class, clearly laid out standards that students must meet on each assignment before the paper is even graded. If they are not met, the student is given an F, and asked to revise and resubmit to be graded.

These criteria should be adjusted to the level of the students and made absolutely clear to them beforehand. Walvoord suggests that students can submit drafts a day or more before papers are due, to see if they meet the gateway criteria.  -DG


Source: Weimer, Maryellen, “A Strategy for Grading Student Writing Assignments.” Faculty Focus. Magna. 31 January 2012. Web. 24 July 2013. http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/a-strategy-for-grading-student-writing-assignments/. Bas ed on research by Walvoord, B.E. and Anderson, V.J. Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010.