As due dates for final papers and projects approach, how do we respond to students who ask us to review drafts before turning in the final product? We know that writing is a process, and that formative feedback is critical to student learning. Many of us build in intermediate due dates along the way—project proposals, annotated bibliographies, outlines, drafts, etc.—to help guide students to successful outcomes. The Good Teacher in me knows this, and is gratified when students embrace the iterative write-and-revise process. The Overworked Teacher in me sighs when yet another student email comes in asking, “Can you look this over before I turn it in?”
What’s the difference between helpful, directive feedback and feedback for a student looking for grade insurance or a copy-editing service? When does the extra review shift from productive to double-the-work exploitative, and how do we help students see the difference? Check out the recent entry on this topic from the advice forum in Vitae, the Chronicle of Higher Education’s career site. The range of answers is interesting, and offers some good practical tips for managing these requests. Not surprisingly, the major takeaways involve setting reasonable limits (I liked the “Rule of Three”) and making the role of (and process for receiving) feedback clear to students from the beginning of the course.
* Authored by Dr. Katherine McCarthy.