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Student Writing: Questions in the Margins

Uploaded image from finnmillerHello Colleagues, One of the ways I have found to provide useful feedback to students on their writing is to have them write questions they have about the writing in the margins of the piece they are working on. This process allows me to focus my feedback on the specific issues the learners themselves are grappling with.

I’m uploading a sample paper from an English language learner here. Take a look at the student’s writing and my feedback and let me know what you think of this approach.

Has anyone else tried a similar approach? What works well for you in providing feedback on learners’ writing?

Cheers, Susan

Moderator Assessment COP






Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hello all, The LC questions in the margins of the paper above were generated by the student using the editing feature of Word. My responses and comments are highlighted in green.


kberenson's picture

I think this is a fantastic way to provide feedback to your students. I like the fact that the student can focus the feedback with questions.  The use of technology is great!  Did you have specific lessons to instruct how to use these features in Word?


Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hi Kristin, I have used this same process when students write their papers with pen and paper, too, so they would simply write questions to me in the margins of their paper. Not everyone has access to a computer, but we can still get that important student input about their writing.

Since it's important for students to learn to use technology that is in line with their goals, I want them to become confident with word processing. As part of this high intermediate/advanced ESL class, I demonstrated how to use the editing features in Word. I do the exact same demonstration with the teachers I work with who are in graduate school.

Might you have the opportunity to incorporate this type of learner input in your teaching -- with or without computers? What do you think might be the pros and cons?

Cheers, Susan

Assessment COP Moderator