How to Tell If Your Student Writer Needs Remediation
From first grade to twelfth grade, writing is a daily part of a student’s school life. That doesn’t mean, though, that all students are effectual writers. According to the 2011 results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 24% of eighth-graders are at, or above, the proficient level in writing, and only 3% write at an advanced level. While these results are disappointing, the effect on student achievement is even greater; writing problems often lead to problems in other subjects and affect overall academic success all the way through high school and beyond.
But, how do you know if your student needs writing intervention?
As a parent, it can be tough to identify whether your young writer is a candidate for additional help. There are 10 things, however, that you can be on the lookout for in your student’s writing efforts that may clue you in on how he or she is performing. As you review your child or teen’s next written assignment, watch for the following:
- Prewriting issues – Are they able to plan out what they want to write ahead of time either with an outline, a graphic organizer, or other form of writing plan.
- Summarization issues – Are they able to restate text clearly and in as few words as possible?
- Sentence issues – Can they avoid fragments and run-on sentences when writing, and do they have enough variety in their sentence types?
- Paragraph issues – Can they form a paragraph with a strong topic sentence and a defined purpose?
- Grammar issues – Do they have difficulty with common grammar pitfalls such as agreement problems, comma splices, dangling modifiers, possessives vs. plurals, pronouns, and punctuation?
- Proofreading/editing issues – Are they able to spot grammar errors, typos, or other mistakes in their own writing; then, are they able to revise their rough draft in a way that improves their original efforts?
- Evidence issues – When writing to convey an opinion or to prove a thesis, are they able to provide details that back up their argument?
- Attention issues – Are they able to hold the reader’s attention by starting with a grabber and using descriptive vocabulary?
- Voice issues – Does their writing contain too much text written in the passive rather than the active voice?
- Transition issues – Are they able make smooth connections between sentences, paragraphs, and ideas?
If you notice that your student has issues in any of the above areas, you may be wondering where to start to get help. The great news is that Time4Writing offers a free writing placement test for students that will help you determine exactly which course will best remediate the writing problems your specific child or teen is experiencing.
To start your free test, simply sign up for your complimentary Time4Writing account, and you’ll have access to the course placement assessment. This brief multiple choice test will help you and your student narrow down what writing skills they have mastered and which ones still need addressing. It will also give you a recommendation for the Time4Writing course which will best remediate your student’s writing issues so he or she can improve their skills right away. The Time4Writing writing proficiency test ensures that your student is on the path to writing success!