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FOR SALE: An Assessable Writing Process

By Pam DeMartino

In the real estate industry, housing is the sellable commodity. People want a house, or an apartment, or a building within which to operate a dream.  Realtors market these living quarters by highlighting the square footage, updated amenities, and location, location, location. Buyers will also be told when the structure was built, but curiously, not how the structure was built. Documentation of the building process remains buried amidst the title documents because it is the dwelling – the finished construct – that possesses the tradable worth.

As I listened to my colleague’s discourse during one of our department meetings, I realized that we, as secondary educators, are increasingly taking part in this type of real estate market with regard to student writing.  We devote time and attention only to the final pieces of student writing: the polished or publishable draft.  It is that typed and neatly stapled paper that carries the tradable worth in our departments; only the end of the building process garners our assessment. Rubrics and scoring guides separate organization, focus, details and other discrete aspects of the finished paper, failing in all respects to give recognition to the building of the literary publication. Read more