Oct 30 2013

Helton and Sommers – Reading Response

Published by under Reading Responses

Helton and Sommers have a strong method of providing feedback on drafts using E/M/L, but the issue that I see with this method is that it cannot easily be applied to courses and assignments where drafts are not the focus or revision isn’t required as part of the grade. For instance, in a humanities class where the paper is judged based on product (as opposed to process), using E/M/L wouldn’t be effective because students want to know what their grade are. However, I think that E/M/L as a method isn’t exclusive of A/B/C. In fact, the two could be used in conjunction with one another, as long as both are explained within the syllabus/beginning of class. Say for instance, an instructor is grading a final research paper. He awards the grade of a B-, but also notes “M”, meaning that he considers the paper a Middle stage draft. Student 1 would receive the paper and know from the instructor’s “M” and comments that similar drafts should be revised for clarity and depth of analysis (or whatever other values the instructor has attached to the E/M/L stages). If practiced consistently within a semester class, the E/M/L method could be used to help students understand their instructor’s expectations, and teach them how to pace revision in the future – both within the class and throughout their college experience.

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One Response to “Helton and Sommers – Reading Response”

  1.   Marguerite Rippyon 04 Nov 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Amanda,
    You’re right that there’s a tension between the formative assessment (E/M/L) and summative assessment (A/B/C) forms. Many classes focus only on summative assessment–ALL classes at MU have to have summative assessment at some point. I’m curious what you think is the impact on your writing of the formative assessment portfolio system in 301 in particular? It may not work well for some writers, or it may change certain parts of your process. How do you find yourself responding to the peer review and instructor draft comments on your work? Is it impacting the choices you’re making in your publishable pieces?

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