ERIC Number: ED229788
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Getting the Red Out: Grading without Degrading.
Heffernan, James A. W.
The tendency to read for errors is an occupational hazard for writing teachers, but there is something profoundly wrong in measuring progress by measuring the reduction of errors. To begin breaking this habit, teachers must first recognize the fundamental hypocrisy in making correction markings that are at odds with the intended message (i.e., letters or word fragments to signify a sentence fragment). Also, many errors defy classification and cannot be remedied by such simple coded instruction. Most important, however, is the fact that doggedly reading for errors keeps the reader from seeing anything else. Error markings in passages by notable authors trip the reader on the errors, while reading those same passages void of the correction marks evokes in the reader the images and emotions intended by the authors. This is not to say that teachers should stop noticing errors altogether. They have a duty to help students correct errors that leap out and disconcert the reader, but they should not read for errors to the exclusion of everything else. They have a duty to listen for the human voice in student papers as well, to believe that every student paper may contain at least one sentence that is remarkably good, however flawed by errors, and to show the student what he or she has done right. (HTH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (34th, Detroit, MI, March 17-19, 1983).