Less Wasted Time—More Effective Writing Feedback (page 1)
John Brezinsky, Higher Ed Marketing Manager

When was the last time you said, "Woo-Hoo! I have 25 essays to correct, and most of them have the same grammar mistakes repeated 37 times!" Fatigue from endless surface-level errors is the single biggest complaint from writing instructors. A new solution to this problem could save time for teachers and improve student results.

Student Needs Are Clear

Students need to develop their abilities to organize ideas and craft arguments. This means that teacher feedback on student writing should focus on higher-level skills such as developing a thesis and ensuring cohesion within paragraphs. Researchers have long agreed. In their survey of the literature, Kluger and DeNisi (1996) found that student writing can improve dramatically when instructors provide feedback on the content and organization of each individual piece of writing. While writing instructors should certainly be concerned about students’ overall English proficiency (including grammar), student writing improves when students receive feedback on how to write.

The Problem is Clear

Instructors would love to spend more time on higher-order aspects of writing, but they feel obligated to correct all of the surface-level errors first. When students write, instructors often ask them to focus on the content of their essays. This often results in students making more accuracy-related mistakes in grammar, spelling, and mechanics. These errors jump out at instructors and beg to be corrected. In fact, many instructors report feeling guilty if they don’t correct every single spelling and grammar mistake.

The result? Instructors either don’t have enough time to provide effective feedback on the content and organization of student writing, or they just assign less.

A New Solution

If you don’t like spending all of your time on surface-level writing mistakes, our advice is to stop doing it. Instead, let Criterion® Publisher’s Version—a powerful new form of online feedback—take care of this for you.

Pearson Longman has partnered with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to deliver online, automatic feedback on student writing. In each relevant unit in the Longman Academic Writing Series levels 3 and 4, students complete the final writing activity as they normally would—up to the first draft. Then, students log onto Criterion and upload their assignment. Within seconds, Criterion provides students with task-specific feedback on grammar, usage, mechanics, style, and organization and development (for essays). Students also have access to a Writer's Handbook developed specifically for language learners.

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