Writing Assessments

General Characteristics

  • Provides explicit criteria that learners should focus on in order to become proficient/better writers.
  • Helps students understand appropriate use of citations/references in order to avoid over-quoting or accidentally plagiarizing.
  • Teaches learners important skills of giving and receiving tactful feedback as well as provides an opportunity of learners to reflect on their own writing skills. 


Name Description
Peer Review/Scoring Have students use a rubric to score other students. This is a versatile assessment that can be applied to writing, presentations, projects, etc. Peer review and scoring is a good way to have students demonstrate their analytical skills. 
Writing Buddies Students work in groups to develop and critique arguments. 
External Resources Have students get to know on-campus resources. For example, the Writing Center, career services, Library Services, etc.; Anti-(accidental) plagiarism resources (e.g., http://www.writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/index.html).
Sub-assignments for Projects/Papers Break large projects or papers into smaller pieces. Have students turn in a topic and identify five resources; a summary of the resources (or annotated bibliography); main argument essays, and rough draft. With these sub assignments, it is very important to provide detailed, consistent, and prompt feedback to help shape student learning and performance. 
Mini Essays Instead of assigning one large paper, have students complete a series of mini essays on narrow topics. It is important to provide detailed, consistent, and prompt feedback to help guide student learning and performance. 
Reflections on Peer Learning After a peer learning exercise, have students reflect on the learning that took place. Did you gain any insight from your peer? Explain. Did your understanding change? Explain. Were you able to explain ideas to your peers? How did this exercise impact how well you thought you knew the topic? Did you struggle with this exercise in any way? Explain. 
Team Competitions Have students work in groups (teams) on a project, presentation, debate, student-led discussion, etc. Groups/teams can compete for an award (e.g., extra credit points, treats, etc.)