What are the Characteristics of Excellent Student Writing?

Excellent Work.002This is a question I have struggled with for a while, ever since I began teaching in public schools.  What are the elements that are consistent among writing we deem excellent by our students?  I think finding the answer to this question is essential for a group of teachers working as a team, as a school, or as a department.  It’s important to have a common language among the group as to what qualities students must strive for.

This week, I met with a group of teachers who will be teaching our Connections class next year.  Aside from brainstorming about the overall success and failure of the class, we also began the process of identifying what we think are the characteristics of excellent student writing. What I asked them to do over the summer is to work on getting more concrete definitions to the list they came up with .  What I ask of those that read this is to think about the characteristics we came up with and tell us if you think we are right on, or way off.  What makes work from students stand out above the rest?

Our list:

  • Risky:
  • Aimed at an Audience:
  • Follows directions/Addresses task at hand:
  • Has definite organization:
  • Evidence of revision/meta-cognition:
  • Connected to other, prior knowledge:
  • Has Original Voice:
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2 thoughts on “What are the Characteristics of Excellent Student Writing?

  1. I agree with your list and would add that excellent student writing goes beyond expectations to creatively and effectively use the tools of written language to express a logical argument.

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