Give Students Checklists

October 26, 2020

Time required: Short

Grading: Minimal or not required

Disciplines: Any discipline with formal mid- to long-term writing assignments

Why:  Requiring completion of a checklist improves students’ writing processes and results without taking up class time with writing instruction

How: Consider the main problems that you see with student writing, then design a checklist to promote the behaviors that result in higher quality writing.  Include the checklist with the assignment instructions and require its submission along with the finished assignment. Checklists might include items such as:

  • I took notes on my sources by hand rather than copying & pasting
  • I accurately recorded the sources for all my notes
  • I used a spelling and grammar checker
  • I had at least one other person proof read my work
  • I started this assignment at least 5 days before it was due
  • I finished a draft of this assignment at least 3 days before it was due

In an online class, the checklist can be posted in the same submission folder as the actual assignment, or is its own submission folder for alternative assignments such as multimedia presentations.

Adapted from Effective Grading by Barbara E. Walvoord and Virginia Johnson Anderson, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 128–29