Table of Contents

Unit 3: Learning From Students’ Work and Teachers’ Lessons

Assessment Tools to Guide Revision Conferences: High School Example

Assessment Guide for Argumentation/Analytical Writing

High school and college teachers collaborated in developing a genre-specific guide for use with students as an assessment and discussion tool during a lesson sequence. The guide also serves as a tool for assessment and annotation at the conclusion of a writing lesson. This assessment tool blends aspects of trait rubrics and criteria charts.

What is the tool for? In what context is it used?

The assessment tool names the traits of writing students need to pay attention to, but it also gives the students descriptions of the traits using language that is aligned to features of the writing task — an analytical essay.

The language focuses on the salient features of the genre: responding to the topic or issue, drawing on appropriate sources of evidence and examples for a writing task, developing and analyzing well-chosen examples, organizing a line of reasoning that supports the writer’s response to the topic, using language that supports communication of the writer’s response.

Finally, because the tool is used in writing conferences with students, it focuses teachers and students on which traits and genre features are in evidence in the writing and what the quality and effectiveness are of the evidence.

How can teachers use the tool to gather and annotate information about students meeting the Common Core writing text types and purposes standards and also using genre-specific writing features and language?

The lesson and assessment example below works best for grades 6–12 analytical/argument writing.

Grade 12 Example

Time to Try

To view the 12th-grade lesson assessment guide, a student writing sample, and teacher annotations, download the Assessment Guide for Argumentation/Analytical Writing. You may also wish to use the blank assessment guide for annotating student writing in your own classroom.

Read the student writing and then the annotation chart, and note how the teacher draws on the following:

  • The CCSS writing argument text type and purpose standards for
    grades 11–12:

    Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    1. Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
    2. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
    3. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
    4. Establish and maintain a formal style.
    5. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented. 
  • The traits, the features of the genre, the argument standards, and the effectiveness of the writer’s rhetorical and language choices to develop a rich annotated description of the student’s writing.
  • The essay to use as a model for students — to increase genre and language knowledge.

Important Takeaway: All four of the lessons in this section illustrate the importance of assessing and annotating student writing to inform the teacher’s own learning and instructional decisions. But are there more direct benefits for students? This question is addressed in the next section.

Time to Extend

For additional information about writing analytical argument essays, including student samples for grades
9–12, download Uncovering Misperceptions Associated with Living in a Small Town: Writing Analytical Argument Essays.