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Integrating Technology to Assist English 101

Students with Their Essays


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Outcome, Objective Measures, and Assessment Measurments

The following outcome, objective measure(s), and assessment measurements were


written to help English 101 students become effective writers.

OUTCOME OBJECTIVE MEASURES ASSESSMENT


MEASUREMENTS
Students compose a variety of Students applied graphic organizers based Graphic Organizers
essays, developed content, on an organizational pattern (descriptive,
employed specific organizational compare and contrast, cause and effect,
patterns, and selected language and argumentative) and captured and
appropriate for a particular organized ideas for their essays and
audience and purpose. developed working theses to further
organize generated ideas.

Students related notes written on graphic


organizers and identifed sources of
relevant information for specific audiences
and purposes.

Students planed rough drafts using a


specific graphic organizer.

Students provided peer review feedback Peer Review


using Google Docs.

Students evaluated peer review and used


feedback to edit and revise their rough
drafts.

Students applied the rubric and wrote and Rubric


published essays for specific audiences
with intended purpose that developed a
thesis with relevant material and that
followed a logical pattern of development.

Students used self-reflections to recall, Self-Reflection


explain, and defend their writing
experiences.

(The self-reflections will be discussed with


the instructor using Skype.)
Assessment Measurements

Descriptive Essay Graphic Organizer

A descriptive essay paints a mental picture of a person, place, or thing with the help of
concrete and specific details that appeal to the senses – sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

What person, place, or thing will your paper describe?

What will be the thesis or main idea of your paper? (Remember, your thesis should be arguable.)

What is the purpose of your paper?

What method will you use to help you generate ideas (brainstorming, freewriting, sketching,
mapping, etc)? You will need additional paper on which to record your ideas.

To what senses will you appeal – sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch?

What examples of imagery will you consider – simile, metaphor, and personification?

What sources of support will you consider?


Compare and Contrast Essay Graphic Organizer

A compare and contrast essay considers two or more objects and draws attention to their
similarities. The contrast aspect of the essay focuses only on differences.

What is the first item to be compared? What is the second item to be compared?

What are the similarities?

What are the differences?

What will be the thesis or main idea of your paper? (Remember, your thesis should be arguable.)

What is the purpose of your paper?

What method will you use to help you generate ideas (brainstorming, freewriting, sketching,
mapping, etc)? You will need additional paper on which to record your ideas.

What sources of support will you consider?


Cause and Effect Essay Graphic Organizer

A cause and effect essay is written to analyze the reasons for (causes) and/or the
consequences of (effects) an action, event, or decision.

Cause:

Effect:

Effect:

Effect:

What will be the thesis or main idea of your paper? (Remember, your thesis should be arguable.)

What is the purpose of your paper?

What method will you use to help you generate ideas (brainstorming, freewriting, sketching,
mapping, etc)? You will need additional paper on which to record your ideas.

What sources of support will you consider?


Argumentative Essay Graphic Organizer

An argumentative essay presents the PROS (support of argument) and the CONS
(opposing arguments) of an argumentative issue.

Introduction

a. How will you engage your readers?


b. Why should your readers be concerned with the issue?

Background

a. What background information will you provide about the issue?


b. What key terms or basic facts for which the readers should be familiar?

Thesis

a. What is your stance on the issue?


b. How will you imply your stance without using I?

Points and Support of Argument

a. What evidence will you use to support your points?


b. How will you organize your evidence?

Refutation

a. How will you summarize your opponents’ arguments?


b. What evidence will you use to refute the opposing arguments?

Conclusion

a. What will you say in your conclusion?


b. What will be your call to action?

(Slater, n.d.)
Peer Review Questions

Descriptive Essay Peer Review Questions

a. After reading your peer’s essay, do you have a clear understanding of what is being
described?
b. Are the introduction and conclusion effective?
c. Is there a thesis? How well does the author support the thesis?
d. What senses does the author appeal to particularly well? Are there senses that the author
could have used but did not?
e. How well does the author use imagery – similes, metaphors, and personification?
f. Did you become lost because information may have been omitted?
g. What are two specific strengths of your peer’s paper?
h. What is a suggestion that you would offer for improvement?

Compare Contrast Essay Peer Review Questions

a. After reading your peer’s essay, do you have a clear understanding of what subjects are
being compared and contrasted?
b. Are the introduction and conclusion effective?
c. Is there a thesis? How well does the author support the thesis?
d. Did the author use subject-by-subject or point-by-point organization? Does the method
work well with this essay?
e. Are the similarities discussed for each subject?
f. Was there sufficient evidence to help you understand why the subjects are being
compared and contrasted?
g. Did you become lost because information may have been omitted?
h. What are two specific strengths of your peer’s paper?
i. What is a suggestion that you would offer for improvement?

Cause and Effect Essay Peer Review Questions

a. When explaining causes:

1. How well does the author explain the causes? Are the causes logical?
2. What other causes might the author have taken into consideration?

b. When explaining effects:

1. Do the effects seem to be the results/consequences of the action, event, or situation?


2. What other causes might the author have taken into consideration?

c. Are the introduction and conclusion effective?


d. Is there a thesis? How well do the causes or effects support the thesis?
e. Are you thoroughly convinced by explanation of the causes or effects? Are there any
logical fallacies?
f. What are two specific strengths of your peer’s paper? What is a suggestion that you
would offer for improvement?

Argumentation Essay Peer Review Questions

a. Is the essay based on a controversial topic/issue?


b. Is there an attention grabbing introduction?
c. Do you understand the author’s background information about the issue? Are there any
misunderstandings? Do any concepts need to be explained?
d. What is the author’s stance on the issue? Does the author provide sufficient points and
support of argument? Are you persuaded by the author? Why or why not?
e. Does the author present opposing arguments? Does the author effectively use refutation?
f. Are you moved to take any action? If so, what action? If not, why?
g. What are two specific strengths of your peer’s paper? What is a suggestion that you
would offer for improvement?

Rubric (Kerr, n.d.)


Exceptional (4) Skillful (3) Competent (2) Weak (1) Incompetent (0)
Content This paper This paper This paper This paper Does not match
demonstrates a demonstrates a demonstrates demonstrates assignment criteria.
significant good average content. It below average
understanding of the understanding of is competent, but quality in content. Content is irrelevant,
subject and the subject and somewhat It fails to present a factually incorrect,
expresses this expresses this superficial. It central idea or to overly biased, and/or
understanding understanding meets the develop it unsuitable for an
through the through the requirements of adequately academic audience.
development of a competent the assignment, (including length)
sophisticated, development of a but is not very and/or may be
perceptive, and/or clear central idea. original. Writer flawed by
original central idea. Information is does not appear to unacceptable
Information is well presented. have critically reasoning or
presented Clearly meets examined the unconvincing
completely, assignment issue. evidence.
concisely, and requirements Minimally meets
clearly. requirements
Organization Shows exceptional Skillfully The paper has a The paper lacks Fails to demonstrate
construction and constructed and clearly stated organization and any sure
organization of organized at the central idea and is transitions and at understanding of
sentences and sentence and organized clearly times may be audience or purpose,
paragraphs paragraph level enough to convey incoherent. state a main idea, or
has a clearly stated its purpose to the Paragraphs do not provide supporting
thesis and is reader, although flow well, topic information.
logically and there is some sentences not Exhibits low-level
adequately disjointedness or apparent. word choice and
developed. lack of purpose in little or no concept
individual of basic
paragraphs. paragraphing.
Style Uses striking Paper uses clear The paper is The paper Language is
words and words and clear but lacks exhibits unsophisticated
phrases; phrases; vigor of thought difficulty in and unacceptable.
demonstrates a demonstrates a and expression. maintaining
sure sense of definite sense of Style is control of the Demonstrates a
purpose, role, and purpose, role, competent but language, definite lack of
audience. and audience. unremarkable. including errors understanding of
in word choice, stylistic qualities
awkward syntax, of an academic
slang and cliché paper.
constructions,
and
abbreviations.
Tone is too
informal.

GPM Paper is error free. The paper The paper Sentence This paper is
demonstrates avoids serious structure, usage, characterized by
clear errors in the use and mechanics serious and
expressions of of English; the interfere with frequent errors in
ideas, and is errors which do readability. Too sentence structure,
comparatively occur do not many errors usage, and
free of errors in impede slow reading. mechanics, giving
the use of meaning. Paper is the impression of
Standard improperly distinctly inferior
English. Paper is properly formatted. writing
formatted.
Overall This paper This paper The paper is of Overall, this This paper
impression exhibits demonstrates average quality paper is not up exhibits
outstanding skillful writing in content, to the standards unacceptable
quality in several ability and/or arrangement, of college-level quality in content,
areas including critical thinking. style, format, writing. organization,
content, Although there and/or style, format, and
arrangement, may be some mechanics. It is mechanics.
style, format, and inconsistencies, characterized by
mechanics. it has the careful
appearance of consideration,
solid college but lacks vigor
writing. of thought and
expression.
0= 50, 1=55, 2=57, 3=59, 4=61, 5=63, 6=67, 7=69, 8=71, 9=73, 10=75, 11=77, 12=79, 13=81, 14=83,
15=85, 16=87, 17=90, 18=92, 19=95, 20=100
Self-Reflection

For each individual entry:

a. What do I like best about this work….


b. What do I like least about this work….
c. If I were to complete this assignment again, I would….
d. The next time I write, I would like to try….

Overall:

a. What were your initial writing goals?


b. When reflecting on your four essays, what strengths and weaknesses do you see?
c. Compared with your current work, how would you categorize your earlier work?
d. What entry makes you most proud?
e. Did you achieve the goals you set at the onset of English 101? Why or why not?

Reflections

Graphic Organizers

Lee, C., Bopry, J., & Hedberg, J. (2007). Methodological issues in using sequential
representations in the teaching of writing. ALT-J Research in Learning Technology,
15(2), 131-141. doi:10.1080/09687760701482234

Per the requirements of College Department of English, students were required to write a
minimum of four essays, with each paper being two to three pages in length. Three of the essays
were written in the following expository forms: comparison/contrast, definition, and cause and
effect. The fourth essay, an argumentation essay, was a five to ten page documented research
paper on a current, controversial issue. Students used information taken from the first three
essays to assist with their research papers.

Struggling writers found it difficult to plan and write essays. Therefore, the students had
to be introduced to tools that would help them to comprehend the writing process and to respond
positively to the writing process. Moreover, some writers labored to find a connection between
new information and prior knowledge. The writing process of poor writers was aided with the
introduction to and use of graphic organizers. Graphic organizers are mental maps based
on organizational patterns such as comparing and contrasting, classifying, describing, narrating,
and process analysis. They can also take on numerous forms like Venn diagrams, mind maps,
spiders, and fishbones.

Cognitively, students should be able to define the steps of the writing process, explain the
writing process, and outline a topic for an essay. In the case of poor writers, these cognitive
objectives were difficult to achieve, and they needed graphic organizers to scaffold the writing
process. In the first stage of the writing process, prewriting, graphic organizers served as an
excellent way to help writers identify what information wass important for expository writing,
how the information wss relevant, and where to locate specific information. Lee, Bopry, and
Hedberg (2011) made the case for the use of graphic organizers when they wrote the following
about graphic organizers:

a. Writers are required to complete graphic organizers with ideas.


b. Ideas can be manipulated.
c. Students focus on key words.

Graphic organizers not only benefit students, who are trying to overcome the anxiety
associated with the writing process; they were also advantageous for the teacher. Graphic
organizers can be used in any subject area and make great assessment tools. For example,
English teachers could use graphic organizers in place of an essay question. Furthermore,
graphic organizers can be used with groups. In such a case, students would work together to
complete a graphic organizer and, then, each student would complete an individual assignment
based on the graphic organizer. Overall, graphic organizers benefitted the English 101 students
and the teacher.

Peer Review
Cathey, C. (2007). Power of peer review: An online collaborative learning assignment in social
psychology. Teaching of Psychology, 34(2), 97-99. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Cho, K., & MacArthur, C. (2011). Learning by reviewing. Journal of Educational Psychology,
103(1), 73-84. doi:10.1037/a0021950.
When the teacher conferenced with the English 101 students, the experience was used to
help students clarify their thinking; assist students in reflecting on their logic; respond to their
comments; and facilitate self-evaluation. The teacher increased her workload when she was
exclusively responsible for providing feedback to numerous students. An alternative to the
traditional form of feedback was the use of peer review. In the beginning, the English 101
teacher undervalued the results of peer review because it was assumed that only she was
qualified to provide feedback to students. According to Cho and MacArthur (2011), peer review
affords students two roles – writer and reviewer. In both roles, students learn what they will and
will not put into their own writing. Without peer review, students would not consider other
perspectives and would fail to address the needs of their audience. Moreover, peer review served
to remind the students of their purpose for writing.

In an effort to the test the effects of online peer review, Cathey (2007) had her social
psychology students anonymously post their essays to an online discussion board to receive
feedback from classmates. When she compared students’ writing on the first essays where she
provided feedback to the essays reviewed by student peers, there was not much difference in the
grades. On the other hand, Cathey (2007) concluded four crucial things about online peer review.
First, her workload was reduced as there was no need to collect papers, comment on them, and
return papers. Second, she withheld her comments until students posted their comments and
learned that students did an excellent job of accessing each other’s work. Third, students put
more effort into writing their second essay. Last, students learned from others.
Be it online discussion boards (ANGEL, WebCT, or Blackboard), wikis, blogs, or
Google Docs, online peer review encouraged collaboration, editing, and revising. Students
became reviewer and writer, and writing was enhanced as a result. Given the opportunities to
provide peer review, the English 101 students provided each other with higher-order
questions to assess other’s thoughts and feelings.

Rubrics

Reeves, S., & Stanford, B. (2009). Rubrics for the Classroom: Assessments for Students and
Teachers. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 76(1), 24-27. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

The essays required of English 101 students were considered extended performance tasks
because numerous instructional objectives were involved. There were several smaller tasks
involved in writing essays that required separate assessment, but they were all part of a much
larger task that encompassed critical thinking skills. The rubric used to score the essays served to
define and differentiate various levels of performance. In the case of the college essays,
checklists would not have been an accurate indicator of student performance because checklists
were only indicative of the presence of an attribute or an absence of an attribute.

Performance assessments necessitated the application of knowledge to a real-life


experience. For example, students were asked to define the elements of the writing process and
to explain the writing process, but, writing the essays with a purpose and audience demanded an
authentic performance – composed essays. According to Reeves and Stanford (2009), rubrics,
when designed well, evaluate students’ knowledge and measure teaching. Furthermore, rubrics
can be used to provide feedback on formative measures throughout the writing process and
summative measures for the final essay. However, rubric criteria must be discussed with students
prior to the start of an assignment, so that they will be adequately prepared to produce the
required essay.

When the English 101 students became familiar with the rubric, they understood how to
use them to assess their essays. The rubric validated how the teacher scored assignments. Correct
usage of rubrics should lead to better quality work. By demonstration of college-level
communication skills, the majority of the English 101 students increased their chances of having
the writing skills desired by potential employers.
References

Cathey, C. (2007). Power of peer review: An online collaborative learning assignment in social

psychology. Teaching of Psychology, 34(2), 97-99. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Cho, K., & MacArthur, C. (2011). Learning by reviewing. Journal of Educational Psychology,

103(1), 73-84. doi:10.1037/a0021950.

Lee, C., Bopry, J., & Hedberg, J. (2007). Methodological issues in using sequential

representations in the teaching of writing. ALT-J Research in Learning Technology,

15(2), 131-141. doi:10.1080/09687760701482234.

Reeves, S., & Stanford, B. (2009). Rubrics for the classroom: Assessments for students and

teachers. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 76(1), 24-27. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.