The Problem with Grading Writing

What defines a good writer from a bad writer?

Sure, we have all read some pieces, for example something written by a young child, that have stuck out to us as bad writing. But the fact of the matter is, writing is writing. I know that I myself am not an award winning writer. I don’t use advanced vocabulary when I write, I start sentences with ‘but’ when I know for a fact that this is a no-no in writing, and I make grammar mistakes all the time. However, when it comes to writing academically, I have found that something that is supposed to be so open and unique to whomever is the author, is actually fairly limited.

Throughout my 14 years of education thus far, i have learned that writing is less of what the author wants, and more of what the teacher wants. When a teacher assigns a paper, even when it is a relatively open paper, the grading of this paper is from from it. If a student wants to actually do well on their paper, they must write to please the teacher and the rubric, if there is one given. 

In the seventh grade, my English teacher flat out told my class that every reader has their own idea of what is good writing, and what is not. With this being said, a student may write a paper that has the potential to be something great, but given to the wrong teacher, it could be ripped apart into smithereens. For this reason, the student may never appreciate the paper that they have written and may become deeply discouraged in their writing abilities.

Personally, I have had a mix of teachers that like my writing style, and some that don’t. Since I have had more that do not like my writing, there were periods where I was convinced that I just straight forward couldn’t write. It wasn’t until I began my college career, where papers made a bi-weekly appearance in some classes, that I realized I have potential. Just because I like to write with a more sarcastic tone, that doesn’t mean I cannot write at all. It just means that I have to work that much harder to write academically then freely.

With this realization comes another realization; Many children may stop writing in general because something they wrote academically was torn to pieces. Just because they may not be talented with formal writing, that does not mean they will succeed in their post-academic career writing something more freely.

I’m not saying this is true for every situation, but it is something that I ponder a lot. I think it is hard for teachers to grade papers, and for this reason, I do give them major credit for what they do. With this being said, I hope I haven’t offended anyone, or confused anyone with my opinion. This post was a lot of scattered thoughts flowing through my brain for months on end that I finally was able to somewhat type up and get out there.

stay golden

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