Publications & Resources

Learning to Write in Urban Elementary and Middle Schools: An Investigation of Teachers’ Written Feedback on Student Compositions

Aug 2000

Lindsay Clare, Rosa Valdés, and G. Genevieve Patthey-Chavez

In writing instruction, feedback from teachers provides a critical opportunity for students to revise their work and improve as writers. Contexts in which students routinely receive feedback on their work include peer reviews and teacher-student conferences. For many teachers, however, written comments on student papers remain a significant method of response. Despite the importance of teacher responses to student work in facilitating the learning process, little research has examined the relationship between teacher feedback on early drafts of student work and the quality of students’ subsequent drafts. Even less research has examined the nature of teachers’ written feedback to students in K-12 settings. This study investigates the nature of written instructor responses to student writings and the relationship of these written responses to the quality of subsequent student work in urban elementary and middle schools. Most of the 22 instructors who provided the study’s corpus of student writings (N = 114) provided their students with some written feedback, and most of their students incorporated that feedback into their subsequent drafts. Instructors tended to focus most on standardizing their students’ written output, with measurable success. Student papers received little feedback about content or organization, and these qualities generally did not change over successive drafts.

Clare, L., Valdés, R., & Patthey-Chavez, G. G. (2000). Learning to write in urban elementary and middle schools: An investigation of teachers’ written feedback on student compositions (CSE Report 526). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).