Ask for an Abstract Instead of a Draft

Time required: Varies

Grading: Minimal

Disciplines: All

Why:  Having students submit something before a longer assignment is due ensures that students are on task and helps you identify those who may need help.  Abstracts are easier and faster for you to grade than rough drafts, and require students to clarify their thinking and organization.

How:  Ask students to submit 100- to 200-word abstracts of their completed rough drafts, instead of the actual drafts.  Consider providing models of good and poor abstracts so students understand what you’re looking for.  Be sure to leave enough time to give feedback that students can incorporate into their final drafts. 

  • Need help teaching your students how to write an abstract?  Here’s some resources for you: Writing An Abstract

From Engaging Ideas by John C. Bean, p. 295