“A much-needed panoramic picture of US college writing assessment, a picture that can guide
students, teachers, and administrators toward more meaningful and purposeful forms of response.”
—J. Michael Rifenburg, University of North Georgia
In Reconstructing Response to Student Writing Dan Melzer makes the argument that writing instructors should shift the construct so that peer response and student self-assessment are more central than teacher response.
Presenting the results of a national study of teacher and peer response and student self-assessment at institutions of higher education across the United States, Melzer analyzes teacher and peer response to over 1,000 pieces of student writing as well as 128 student portfolio reflection essays. He draws on his analysis and on a comprehensive review of the literature on response to introduce a constructivist heuristic for response aimed at both composition instructors and instructors across disciplines. Melzer argues that teachers and researchers should focus less on teacher response to individual pieces of student writing and more on engaging in dialogue with student self-assessment and peer response, focusing on growth and transfer rather than products and grades.
Reconstructing Response to Student Writing, especially when taken together with Melzer’s previous book Assignments across the Curriculum, provides a comprehensive and large-scale view of college writing and responding across the curriculum in the United States.