What strategies can be used to identify errors for students to correct?

Students have strengths and weaknesses in their English writing ability, so a variety of methods to identify errors for correction can be employed. Any identification is most helpful at the point of error, but identifying every error is generally not the goal or the most useful feedback. Here are some effective strategies along with an explanation of when each should be used: 

  • Giving direct feedback through a question, an example, or a rule is most helpful when the student does not have the language skills to make the correction without instruction, but with instructor input can quickly understand and correct the error.
  • Identifying the error using either full words (e.g. "verb choice") or a label or code (VC) that has already been shared with students work well for a student who has the language skills to make the correction but needs to be reminded of the kind of error and self-correct. 
  • Underlining the error so the student knows there is a problem is best for students who already have strong language skills and can understand what the error is simply by looking at what has been underlined.

Strategy

Example of strategy in use:

Writing a comment and/or explanation
Ask a question or give the correct word or rule (see comment bank)

They are not success in their school because the district is poor.
(Did you mean ‘successful’ here? or I think you meant ‘successful’ here.)

Naming the error or using a code/label
Note the type of error (see label/terms bank) or use a label like “WF” (see label bank)

              word form/WF
They are not success in their school because the district is poor.

Underlining the error
Underline the word or words that need to be corrected.

They are not success in their school because the district is poor.