ERIC Number: ED346475
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Is There a Text in This Grade?
Evaluative criteria implicit in written comments on student writing can embody a definition of text which leads students to see text as superficial and formal instead of deep and meaningful. Students develop their perceptions of professors' values from the cues they receive via comments. A major problem, especially among faculty from different disciplines who find themselves teaching writing, is an emphasis on surface changes over meaning changes. This assumption was tested by asking 17 faculty from 14 disciplines to mark a paper considered to be at a low level of performance. Responses included grades from F to B but mostly in the D range, and comments falling into three categories: rules of grammar and usage, problems with organization and style, and content. There was no indication to the student that changes in the macrostructure were most needed. Most of the comments offered advice on editing, implying that all that was needed was to correct mistakes and delete repetition. The comments lead to a definition of writing as product which must be manipulated through correction, deletion, etc.--a definition that is a perversion of a new critical stance toward criticism. Opposing such a stance are professors who interact with students through comments which lead to revision, a stance rooted in reader response criticism. Instructors must become more aware of the signals they are sending to students, especially the weaker students. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).