How To Assess Writing Effectively

Screenshot 2015-10-13 20.17.16

One question that always came to my mind when I was a student myself was “how do they assess our writing tasks fairly?” This question still remained in my mind when I began my teaching journey. As student teachers we are taught the importance of assessment. Not only for our students learning, but for our own as well, as it guides us towards different methods of teaching and learning. Assessment gives us the opportunity to follow and document our students progress effectively while gaining invaluable feedback from the children themselves at the same time.

Assessment of Learning.

When you are assessing a certain writing task you need to ask yourself two questions;

What was their learning objective in this particular area?

What do I want to see from all my students?

You should write or type your answers to these questions and work from there.

Last year I taught Second Class. One of our assessment pieces was a description writing task. The children were given a photo. It was the poster for Harry Potter. Something similar to the one below.

Screenshot 2015-10-13 19.35.44

Miss Lucy and I decided on the key points together, using the ncca planning tool as a guide. Overall, we came up with  30 key elements the children needed to apply to their writing task to gain full marks. From there an excel document was created, colour coded for clarity and programmed to give a mark out of 30 which was then calculated as a percentage, giving their final grade a mark out of 100%. A huge thanks to Mr. Matt for his amazing Excel skills.

Below is an example of the excel document. I have removed the children’s names for privacy.

Screenshot 2015-10-13 19.18.43

You will notice the colours Green, Orange and Red. Green indicates Yes, Orange indicates Partially and Red indicates No.

This excel allowed us to type the letters Y, P and N as we read through each child’s work. Once you type the letter in the appropriate box, the corresponding colour appears. This assessment excel is a must have in all schools. Not only is it easy to use, it also indicates very clearly certain areas that need to be revisited by the individual student and the class as a whole.

So what are you looking for?


The elements we decided on for this specific task were as follows:

word bank completed • varied sentence starters • third person used • writing suits task • adjective 1 • adjective 2 • adjective 3 • adjective 4 • adjective 5 • described colour • described features • described size • described feelings • layout suits task • neat handwriting • correct letter formation • capital letter 1 • capital letter 2 • capital letter 3 • capital letter 4 • capital letter 5 • consistent use of full stops • good phonetic knowledge • grammar mostly accurate • varied vocabulary • consistent use of English • neat presentation • spellings are accurate • correct tenses used • expected amount completed.

So, there you have it. My personal preference on how to assess a writing task 🙂

I hope you found this helpful. If you have any advice or ideas I would love to hear them. Leave a comment below.

Happy Assessing

 Múinteoir Amy


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s