Holistic Scoring?

I have been teaching English for more than thirty years, so I’m no longer surprised that high school and college students do not know the eight parts of speech and their uses. Few English teachers at the secondary level teach grammar. Rather, they engage in literary discussion, and movie viewing. (Instruction in “the classics” from Greek plays to American authors appears to be declining as well. Ah, but that’s a topic for another day.)
Question: How can students learn to express themselves clearly and concisely without proper instruction?
Answer: They can’t.
On state assessments as well as national tests like the SAT’s and ACT’s student essays are graded holistically. That means that the reader spends only a few moments with each essay and gives a score, usually on a 1 to 6 scale. She doesn’t correct errors in mechanics, spelling, and punctuation. But students don’t see these essays again, so they don’t know what was right or wrong.
Most teachers use the same grading format for essays that they assign. It’s faster, to be sure, butHowever, the classroom teacher is supposed to provide instruction in order for students to improve. Thus, grading holistically is inadequate in these situations. Sometimes the instructors provide a “rubric” to let the students know what they’re evaluating. But seldom do they use the students’ essays as starting points for instruction. They lose these “teachable moments.” If students learn the terminology of writing, including the parts of speech and their functions, then they can practice and improve. The concept of diagramming sentences is foreign to most students, who do not understand the function of all of the parts of speech.
Perhaps the first step in improving writing instruction is to teach the teachers!

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